Biden admits he lied — Analysis

The US president still insists he was ‘Stop’ while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison

US President Joe Biden has acknowledged that he “wasn’t arrested” while trying to visit imprisoned South African anti-apartheid movement leader Nelson Mandela in prison. He made the confession during a visit with the country’s current leader at the White House on Friday. However, Biden continued to insist he was “stopped” while trying to visit Mandela.

Describing “One of the greatest moments in [his]Karriere” to visiting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the president explained that “Nelson Mandela was the first person to visit the United States.,” when Biden was still a senator in 1990, “He asked me if I could have him come to my office. This was because he had heard that I’d been unsuccessful in trying to reach him at prison..”

And I said once – I said I got arrested. I wasn’t arrested, I got stopped, prevented from moving,” Biden clarified. 

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The president’s insistence during the 2020 election that he had been arrested trying to visit Mandela – despite 760 miles lying between the supposed point of arrest in Johannesburg and Mandela’s cell on Robben Island – led to even the sympathetic Washington Post fact-checking his story as “Incredible.”

While his campaign later backtracked to claim he was merely “Separate” from other congressmen at an airport in 1976 because he refused to submit to the rules of apartheid and use a separate door from the Congressional Black Caucus members he was traveling with, another congressman on the trip debunked that version as well, countering that there were “no problem[s]Airports of any one of the country visited,” and that Biden “wasn’t the only white guy on the trip.”

Biden falsely claims that he was imprisoned for speaking out for civil rights during 1960s. But, his 1994 crime bill, support for three strikes laws, and support of mandatory minimum sentences have been cited by political opponents as evidence that Biden holds less progressive views. His defenders cite his advanced age – at 79, he is the US’ oldest-ever president – to excuse his sometimes fuzzy relationship with the truth, though a plagiarized speech and falsified credentials nearly ended his political career as a much younger man.

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