WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged Thursday that President Biden’s maternal uncle, Ambrose Finnegan, actually died when his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean during World War II — and that he wasn’t eaten by cannibals, as Biden implied on two separate occasions Wednesday.

Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One that the 81-year-old president was merely expressing how “incredibly proud” he was of Finnegan when Biden suggested New Guinea natives had eaten him in 1944.

“You saw the president, he was incredibly proud of his uncle’s service in uniform. You saw him at the war memorial. It was incredibly emotional and important to him,” Jean-Pierre said en route to Philadelphia, where Biden was making his third consecutive day of campaign visits to the Keystone State.

“You saw him respond to all of you when asked about the moment yesterday and his uncle, who lost his life when the military aircraft he was on crashed in the Pacific after taking off near New Guinea.”

The press secretary cut short follow-up questions, citing the presidential plane’s approach to the Philadelphia airport.

Biden indicated that cannibals finished off Finnegan after visiting a Scranton, Pa., war memorial that bears his uncle’s name.

“He got shot down in an area where there were a lot of cannibals at the time. 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,” Biden told reporters in Scranton, where he was born and lived off and on until he was 10 years old.

Later Wednesday, Biden told steelworkers in Pittsburgh that Ambrose Finnegan “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.”

The official US military account of Finnegan’s death, referenced by Jean-Pierre, contradicts the president’s story.

“For unknown reasons, this plane was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea. Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard,”  the Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says.

“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.”

Biden has a long history of telling provably false personal anecdotes, or dubious tales for which there is no documentation, in an attempt to connect to his audiences — in this case, Pennsylvania voters who could determine the outcome of his bid for a second term against former President Donald Trump.

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