President Joe Biden delivered a speech in Georgia this week offering his support for a partisan election reform bill being pushed by congressional Democrats.
At one point, Biden claimed to have been arrested at a civil rights protest decades earlier — but the statement forced even some left-leaning news outlets to acknowledge its apparent inaccuracies.
“It seems like yesterday”
As Fox News reported, Biden addressed the American people from Morehouse College in Atlanta on Tuesday, stating that he “did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds” but “walked on other grounds.”
Going on to provide some context, he added: “You think I’m kidding. It seems like yesterday that first time I got arrested.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler expressed serious skepticism about the details in Biden’s reference.
He noted that the president’s remark seemed to hearken back to a similar story he told in 2008 about an incident from his teen years in which he supposedly stood up for a Black family facing backlash for moving into a white neighborhood.
“The primary source for this story is Biden — and we’ve learned over the years that he is not always a reliable source,” Kessler wrote.
“Civil rights credentials”
The president has claimed that his mother spoke of the incident, though Kessler wrote that he could find no reports or other records to back up that assertion.
Furthermore, Biden made no mention of the supposed act in his memoirs and has offered different versions of the story on multiple occasions.
As the fact-checker explained: “He appears to be citing his mother to enhance his civil rights credentials — which we have noted he has exaggerated before — but too many elements do not add up to give this ‘arrest’ more credibility than his previous claims of getting in trouble with the law.”
This claim earned a full “four Pinocchios” by the Post, but it is not the only questionable tale of an arrest to be told by the gaffe-prone president.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, he recalled being jailed in apartheid South Africa for attempting to visit Nelson Mandela. Similarly, the left-leaning fact-checking site Snopes determined that there was no evidence of any such arrest.