Critics of President Joe Biden have long accused him of telling false, self-aggrandizing stories. Yet in a moment of honesty, Biden admitted this week that a tale he told on the campaign trail never actually happened.
“I wasn’t arrested”
According to the New York Post, the president acknowledged during a meeting with South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa that he lied about getting arrested while trying to meet Nelson Mandela.
“One of the great moments of my career was when — the first time Nelson Mandela came to the United States [in 1990],” Biden recalled.
“And we were in — I was a senator at the time, and we met in the Senate Foreign Relations executive committee room,” he continued.
“And I said once — I said I got arrested. I wasn’t arrested, I got stopped, prevented from moving. But he was extremely gracious,” Biden admitted.
“I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador”
That was a reference to statements Biden made more than once while campaigning for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020. The New York Times covered one such incident at a stop in South Carolina.
In 2020, Biden bizarrely claimed he was arrested in South Africa in the 1970s while attempting to see Nelson Mandela.
There is absolutely no evidence — anywhere — to suggest this ever happened. pic.twitter.com/zFZ8iZyVvl
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 14, 2022
“This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid,” Biden was quoted as saying at the rally.
“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,” he declared.
The president then claimed Mandela later recognized his arrest and expressed gratitude for it on a visit to Washington, saying, “After he [Mandela] got free and became president, he came to Washington and came to my office.”
“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.'”
Biden eventually admitted that he had not been arrested by South African authorities but was instead briefly stopped while at an airport.