Biden Admits He Was Never Arrested in South Africa, Despite Claiming So On the Campaign Trail

Brittany M. Hughes | February 28, 2020
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Former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden is now countering his earlier story and admitting he was never arrested in South Africa back in the ‘70s, despite having made the claim multiple times on the campaign trail.

"I wasn't arrested, I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go," Biden told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" Friday, contradicting several claims he’d made in recent weeks in which he’d told supporters that he had, in fact, been arrested with the UN ambassador at the time while trying to visit Nelson Mandela. The former VP then went on to detail a time when he was separated from a black congressional delegation on a trip to South Africa and asked to pass through a "white's only" door, an account that had nothing to do with an arrest.

But that's not what he was telling supporters in recent weeks.

“This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid,” Biden said at an event in South Carolina earlier this month, repeating a story he's told at least three times on the campaign trail. “I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island.”

Questions as to the truthfulness of Biden’s story arose after reporters noted he’d never told the tale before, nor is there any record of such an arrest and no one else could verify the claims. On top of that, Andrew Young, who was the UN ambassador at the time, said he was never arrested, and, to his knowledge, neither was Biden.

“No, I was never arrested and I don’t think he was, either,” Young said in a phone interview with the New York Times. “Now, people were being arrested in Washington. I don’t think there was ever a situation where congressmen were arrested in South Africa.” 

(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)