Did Joe Biden Really Face Down Feared Northeast Wilmington Thug 'Corn Pop' and Win the Respect of a City

Former Vice President Joe Biden mimics shooting a gun as he speaks at the Chuck Hagel Forum in Global Leadership, on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Former Vice President Joe Biden mimics shooting a gun as he speaks at the Chuck Hagel Forum in Global Leadership, on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A video clip has resurfaced of Joe Biden in action. This isn’t something from a decade ago where he’s commenting on Indians owning 7-11s and Dunkin Donuts shops in Delaware

or asking crippled guys to arise and walk

This is from 2017 and the scene is him at the dedication of the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Aquatic Center in Wilmington, DE.

You owe it to yourself to watch this but this is the Cliff’s Notes.

In 1962, Biden was a lifeguard at the pool. In his story, he was the only white lifeguard in a pool with all black staff and a mostly black clientele. The villain is a local tough…put the coffee or other drink down NOW…called “Corn Pop” who leads an all black gang called, naturally, “the Romans.” According to Biden, Corn Pop would insult Biden’s mom so while Biden was crying or whatever gang members could sneak into the pool. The matter came to a head over Corn Pop using the 3-meter dive board.

“This was the diving board area, and I was one of the guards, and they weren’t allowed to — it was a 3-meter board. And if you fell off sideways, you landed on the damn, er, darn cement over there,” Biden said.

“And Corn Pop was a bad dude. And he ran a bunch of bad boys. And back in those days — to show how things have changed — one of the things you had to use, if you used Pomade in your hair, you had to wear a bathing cap. And so he was up on the board and wouldn’t listen to me. I said, ‘Hey, Esther, you! Off the board, or I’ll come up and drag you off.’ Well, he came off, and he said, ‘I’ll meet you outside.'”

Biden’s comments were a reference to competitive swimmer-turned actress Esther Williams, who died in 2013.

“My car was mostly, these were all public housing behind us,” Biden continued. “My car – there was a gate on here. I parked my car outside the gate. And he said, ‘I’ll be waiting for you. He was waiting for me with three guys with straight razors. Not a joke. There was a guy named Bill Wright the only white guy and he did all the pools. He was a mechanic. And I said, ‘What am I gonna do?’ And he said. ‘Come down here in the basement, where all the mechanics- – where all the pool builder is.’ You know the chain, there used to be a chain that went across the deep end. And he cut off a six-foot length of chain, and folded it up and he said, ‘You walk out with that chain, and you walk to the car and say, ‘you may cut me man, but I’m gonna wrap this chain around your head.'”

Biden continued: “I said, ‘You’re kidding me.'” He said, ‘No if you don’t, don’t come back.’ And he was right. So I walked out with the chain. And I walked up to my car. And in those days, you remember the straight razors, you had to bang ’em on the curb, gettin’ em rusty, puttin’ em in the rain barrel, gettin’ em rusty? And I looked at him, but I was smart, then. I said, ‘First of all,’ I said, ‘when I tell you to get off the board, you get off the board, and I’ll kick you out again, but I shouldn’t have called you Esther Williams, and I apologize for that. I apologize.’ But I didn’t know that apology was gonna work.”

“He said, ‘you apologize to me?'” Biden went on. “I said, ‘I apologize but not for throwing you out, but I apologize for what I said.’ He said, ‘OK,’ closed that straight razor, and my heart began to beat again.”

I have to admit, given Biden’s reputation for making things up, I was, even as an unambiguously white guy, pretty much in the same place as The Root writer, Michael Harriott

But, there appears to be some truth in the story. This guy, who, by the way has never encountered a liberal Democrat he will not fluff, comes up with evidence that there was actually a gang based in Northeast Wilmington public housing called “The Romans” and that there was a least one guy in Wilmington at the time who was at some point in his life called “Cornpop.” And some notable locals claim to know all about this event:

And here’s Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher adding to the story, for what that might be worth (not much, is my guess):

Here’s the thing. Just because various parts of this story are true doesn’t mean the story is true. The odds of significant political figures in Delaware blowing the whistle of Joe Biden approach zero. So we can really discount the third party claims to the story as unreliable. The fact that a gang named The Romans existed doesn’t mean they went to the pool where Joe Biden worked. There is nothing in the obit of William “Cornpop” Morris to indicate that a) he was affiliated with a street gang or b) that he was even a Wilmington native. He is of the same age as Biden and there is the nickname but none of that adds up to Biden’s story. And the fact that the usual rescue squad for Democrat politicians on fire is in operation doesn’t give one a great feeling of comfort:

The story may be true or it may not. Outside of Jiffy Pop or Lollipop showing up to give corroborating testimony, we’ll most likely never have conclusive proof that the story is real and not another Bidenesque adventure that has entertained us over the years. What we can say is that a) Biden has been telling it for a while and b) there are verifiable factoids in the story that indicate something like the story happened but my gut feeling is that the actual story is something very dissimilar to Biden’s rendition of the tale, just like the story of him awarding the Navy Cross to the tearful and reluctant Navy captain.

Like what you see? Then visit my story archive.

I’m on Facebook. Drop by and join the fun there.