Joe Biden Admits He Was Never Arrested in South Africa

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a town hall meeting in Sumter, South

Appearing Friday on CNN’s New Day, former Vice President Joe Biden admitted he was never arrested in South Africa while on a Congressional delegation trip to meet anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela in the 1970s.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

JOHN BERMAN: One thing that you’ve said repeatedly on the trail, I think it’s three times now, you said during a visit to South Africa to visit Nelson Mandela, which I know was a very memorable visit for you, that you were arrested when you were there. Your campaign has since come out and said,” No, no, no,” you were separated from other people at the airport. But you didn’t say that, but you did say “arrest” three times. Why?

JOE BIDEN: What I meant to say was — look — I strongly, strongly, strongly, was opposed to apartheid. I was one of the leaders. If you doubt it, go on and look at the exchange between George Schultz and me on the foreign relations committee. And here’s the deal, I was with a black delegation the Congressional Black Caucus, they had me get off a plane, the Afrikaners got on in their short pants and their guns, lead me off first and lead me in a direction totally different. I turned around and the entire black delegation was going another way. I said “I’m going through that door that says ‘whites only,'” I’m going with them and they said, “You’re not. You can’t move, you can’t go with them.” They kept me there until finally it was clear that I wasn’t going to move and what they finally did was they said, “Okay, they’re not going to back the Congressional delegation go through the ‘black door,’ they’re going to make me go through the ‘white door.’ They took us out – if my memory serves me – through a baggage claim area up to a restaurant, and they cleared out a restaurant.


When I said arrested, I meant I was not able to, I was not able to move. Cops, Afrikaners, were not letting me go with them, made me stay where I was. I guess I wasn’t arrested, I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go.


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