‘I Wasn’t Arrested’: Joe Biden Admits He Lied Numerous Times About South African Trip

(Screenshot CNN)

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Former Vice President Joe Biden admitted Friday morning on CNN that he lied numerous times about being arrested in South Africa for trying to meet with then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela.

Biden has claimed on the campaign trail in recent weeks that he was arrested in the 1970s while trying to visit Mandela, the former president of South Africa. His campaign clarified the false claim Feb. 25, saying that the former vice president was referring to being “separated from a congressional delegation.”

Biden confirmed that he lied Friday on “New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.”

“I wasn’t arrested, I was stopped,” Biden admitted. (RELATED: Joe Biden Stumbles Over His Words In Iowa Speech)


“When I said arrested, I was not able to — I was not able to move. Cops would not let me go with them [the Congressional Black Caucus],” Biden added.

Biden said that the incident happened while with a “black delegation” and that he was sent in the direction of a “white only” door, which he refused to go through. Biden said that he was kept until “it was clear” he would not be moving, at which point he was taken “through a baggage claim area up to a restaurant.”

“And one of the reasons — long after this, when Nelson Mandela was freed and came to the United States, he came in my office. He was one of the most incredible men I met. He thanked me for trying to — all the work I did on Apartheid. So that’s the context of it,” Biden said.

Previously, Biden had repeatedly claimed that he was “arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island.” Media outlets, including the New York Times, were unable to find any proof of this, and the arrest was never mentioned in Biden’s 2007 memoir. The U.N. ambassador at the time, Andrew Young, also said he was never detained by authorities with the former vice president.

“No, I was never arrested and I don’t think he was, either,” Young previously told the NYT. “Now, people were being arrested in Washington. I don’t think there was ever a situation where congressmen were arrested in South Africa.”