Veterans respond to Biden claiming he's been 'in and out of battles': 'Don't make it about you'

President Biden claimed Thursday he’s been  “in and out of battles” while addressing an audience of military service members and their families at Thursday’s White House Fourth of July Barbecue. 

“And by the way, I’ve been all over the world with you. I’ve been in and out of battles,” the president, who never served in the military, though as Commander-in-Chief, met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine in February 2023 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in October 2023.

It’s not the first time Biden has come under fire for remarks to military service members. In 2019, Biden came under fire for conflating and misrepresenting war stories after the Washington Post exposed a “moving but false war story” told on the campaign trail. Biden, then the former vice president and candidate for president, later defended what he said, saying the “central point” was accurate. 

Veterans 4 America First Institute, a non-profit veterans’ group, responded to Biden’s Fourth of July claims in an interview with Fox News Digital.

Peter O’Rourke is a former Acting Secretary for Veterans Affairs under President Trump and a veteran of both the Air Force and Navy. Darin Selnick, Former Veteran Affairs Advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Council, is also a former Air Force veteran. They both currently serve veterans in their roles with Veterans 4 America First.


Biden Fourth of July BBQ

President Biden made a gaffe at the White House Fourth of July barbecue Thursday, claiming to have been ‘in and out of battles’ to military service members and their families. (Getty Images)

“It’s always bad form when a politician tries to make it about themselves and somehow equate their service with the service of those men and women who serve,” Selnick said. “So the only one who has been in battle are the men and women who served, not President Joe Biden.”


“The men and women who serve have been all over the world in battle. So just keep it to that. Don’t try to equate what you’re doing with that, cozy up and and and that sort of thing. Just speak about the servicemen and women, think about the country; don’t make it about you. That’s the sad part, because every time Joe Biden speaks he always somehow tries to make it about him,” Selnick added.

“…every time Joe Biden speaks he always somehow tries to make it about him.” 

— Darin Selnick

Former Acting Secretary of the VA Peter O’Rourke also critiqued the president’s claim.

“I think the disappointment Darin and I both share is the continued disrespect, whether it’s examples of veterans that have been harmed in ways that don’t make a lot of sense, or just not really providing the efforts that we’d love to see our presidents give when it comes to articulating their concerns or their feelings toward veterans,” he said. 

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US President Joe Biden speaks during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. The President is hosting the Independence Day event for members of the military and their families.  (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

O’Rourke continued, saying, “we saw this example, trying to find every opportunity to politicize, trying to sneak in a jab at his political opponent on a day where really, we should just be celebrating our independence. He was there to recognize and honor both veterans and active duty members.”

Veterans 4 America First Institute supports former President Trump for his military policy in November’s presidential election. Selnick told Fox News Digital, “we’re in a very crucial time both for the military and for the veterans who have left the military. We need a commander in chief that’s going to move things forward and do what’s right, for the veterans, and for the American people.”

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US President Joe Biden, center, speaks during a barbecue with active-duty military service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, July 4, 2024. Biden’s reelection campaign limped into the US Independence Day holiday, exhausted by a week of the incumbent clawing to maintain his hold on his party’s nomination. (Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Selnick added, “and that’s why we need Donald J. Trump back as commander-in-chief, because under him, we had a thriving military.”

Veterans 4 America First Institute’s mission as listed on their website is “To preserve and expand our nation’s commitment to our Veterans, military, and their families through public education and advocacy.”


The White House has not responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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