Former Vice President Joe Biden has a documented history of making up stories to make him sound more interesting on the campaign trail, and he’s up to his old tricks again.
In the past two weeks, Biden has suddenly started claiming he was arrested in South Africa while on his way to visit Nelson Mandela. As The New York Times reported, Biden didn’t include this information in his 2007 memoir and had not spoken about it prominently while campaigning for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid,” Biden said in South Carolina last week. “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.”
Biden mentioned the arrest twice more in the next week, claiming he was arrested in between attempts to get his wife, Jill, to agree to marry him. That meant the arrest would have occurred in 1977.
“But if Mr. Biden, then a United States senator from Delaware, was in fact arrested while trying to visit Mr. Mandela, he did not mention it in his 2007 memoir when writing about a 1970s trip to South Africa, and he has not spoken of it prominently on the 2020 campaign trail. A check of available news accounts by The New York Times turned up no references to an arrest. South African arrest records are not readily available in the United States,” the Times reported.
Former congressman Andrew Young, the U.N. ambassador at the time of Biden’s arrest, said he had traveled to South Africa with Biden but was never arrested and was skeptical that members of the U.S. congress would have been at risk in the country.
“No, I was never arrested and I don’t think he was, either,” Young told the Times. “Now, people were being arrested in Washington. I don’t think there was ever a situation where congressmen were arrested in South Africa.”
The Times went on to report that it “could not account for all of the details of Mr. Biden’s overseas travel during the period that included the South Africa trip.” Further, Biden’s campaign didn’t respond to five efforts from the Times to comment and clarify Biden’s remarks.
Biden also ended his story by claiming Mandela himself thanked him for getting arrested while trying to visit.
“After he got free and became president, he came to Washington and came to my office,” Biden said in Las Vegas. “He threw his arms around me and said, ‘I want to say thank you.’ I said, ‘What are you thanking me for, Mr. President?’ He said, ‘You tried to see me. You got arrested trying to see me.’”
The Times speculated that Biden has started telling the story to woo Africa-American voters. Readers may recall that last August Biden was called out for claiming to have tried to pin a Silver Star on a Navy captain who claimed he didn’t deserve the medal. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Biden’s details about the story constantly changed and it appears he completely made up the story.