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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Slams Biden For Suggesting ‘Cannibals’ Ate His Uncle There In WWII

  Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape slammed President   Joe Biden   for suggesting recently that his uncle was killed by cannibal...

 Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape slammed President Joe Biden for suggesting recently that his uncle was killed by cannibals in the country during World War II.

Biden, who made the comments last week during visit to Scranton, Pennsylvania, was referring to his uncle Ambrose Finnegan, a second lieutenant who served in the Fifth Air Force during the war. Finnegan went missing on May 14, 1944, while on a flight from Los Negros Island to Nadzab Airfield in New Guinea.

“He got shot down in New Guinea and they never found the body because there used to be — there were a lot of cannibals, for real, in that part of New Guinea,” Biden said during his speech to steelworkers.

Biden, 81, told a similar story earlier in the day when visiting a World War II memorial in Scranton.

“He got shot down in an area where there were a lot of cannibals at the time,” the president said. “They never recovered his body, but the government went back when I went down there and they checked and found some parts of the plane.”

Marape noted this week that Biden’s statement “appeared to imply his uncle was eaten by cannibals” in his country.

“President Biden’s remarks may have been a slip of the tongue; however, my country does not deserve to be labeled as such,” Marape said in a statement. “World War II was not the doing of my people; however, they were needlessly dragged into a conflict that was not their doing.”

Biden’s comments about the disappearance of his uncle do not align with official government records about the crash, which suggest that the plane went down due to mechanical failure and that three of the men onboard drowned.

“For unknown reasons, this plane was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea,” a U.S. military report on the incident says. “Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard. Three men failed to emerge from the sinking wreck and were lost in the crash. One crew member survived and was rescued by a passing barge. An aerial search the next day found no trace of the missing aircraft or the lost crew members.”


New Guinea was a key battleground during World War II as the Japanese sought to control the island for access to Australia, prompting fierce fighting through the island’s remote jungles. The island also has a history of cannibalism, with Michael Rockefeller, the son of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, reportedly being eaten by a tribe of cannibals on the island in 1961.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed on Friday that Biden was speaking about how his uncle was brave.

“He takes this very seriously. His uncle, who served and protected this country, lost his life serving. And that should matter,” she said. “You have a president that lifts up our U.S. troops, our American veterans every day, who thinks about them, who actually thinks they’re all heroes.”

When she was pressed about where Biden’s claims came from that his uncle was potentially killed by cannibals, Jean-Pierre ignored the question.

“I think you’re missing the point,” she claimed. “The point is, you have a president that lifts up American veterans, who lifts up our U.S. service members, and that’s what matters. He understands how critical and how important it is to be commander-in-chief.”

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