Fact checker challenges Biden comment on Somali cab-driver friends

Vice President Joe Biden likely does not have any taxi cab driving friends from Somalia, despite a claim he made to the contrary, according to The Washington Post’s political fact checker.

Biden made headlines on Tuesday during opening remarks at the White House summit on violent extremism when he spoke about the need to include immigrants in American society in order to combat extremism.

Drawing from his own relationships with immigrants, Biden mentioned that he had made friends with Somali cab drivers in his hometown of Wilmington, Del.

“Somalis have made my city of Wilmington, Delaware, [their home] on a smaller scale. There is a large, very identifiable Somali community,” he said. "I might add if you ever come to the train station with me you’ll notice I have great relationships with them because there’s an awful lot driving cabs and are friends of mine. For real. I’m not being solicitous. I’m being serious.”

Somalis, a vast majority of whom are Muslim, are considered more susceptible to being drawn to extremist propaganda.

But The Washington Posts’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, vetted Biden’s claim and determined that Biden, in all likelihood, had actually made friends with West Africans cab drivers, not Somalis.

As Kessler points out, 75,000 Somali refugees have settled in the U.S. since 2004. But according to reports which track refugee flow, none of those Somali refugees have settled in Delaware.

A majority of the 269 refugees Delaware has accepted hail from West African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone.

According to a recent American Community Survey, only 8,000 people living in Delaware were born in Africa.

Only 4 percent of that number work in “transportation and warehousing, and utilities.” (RELATED: ‘There’s An Awful Lot Of Somalis’ Driving Cabs, Says Joe Biden)

While it is possible that some Somalis have settled in Wilmington from other U.S. cities, Kessler pointed to a CNN report in which Wilmington cab drivers disputed Biden’s claim.

“I don’t think I’ve seen any in Delaware,” Anthony Eber, the owner of Family Taxi and an immigrant from Sierra Leone, told CNN. “I see some Guinean [drivers], but no Somali drivers.”

Kessler rated Biden’s claim “Four Pinocchios.” On Kessler’s scale, that constitutes “a whopper.”

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