Joe Biden has a long history of bragging about being handcuffed, later says they weren't technically 'arrests'

The former vice president once recounted some version of a story about how he was arrested with Nelson Mandela in South Africa


                            Joe Biden has a long history of bragging about being handcuffed, later says they weren't technically 'arrests'
(Getty Images)

Joe Biden means business—he has made that abundantly clear with his “No Malarkey” campaign shuttle.

But it seems the former vice president—who would become the oldest president to be elected into office if he wins in November—is bragging about arrests which seemingly never happened. 

A recent review of Biden's long political career found that he has boasted or spoken of being handcuffed at least three times in his life, only to later confess they were not technically "arrests."

It's true that Biden's family has a remarkable rap sheet that includes grand larceny, drunk driving, as well as assault charges over a span of decades. But the former veep, unlike his kinsfolk, exploits "the cop tales as cute anecdotes in stump speeches and elsewhere," as described by the New York Post's Jon Levine.

Vice-President Joe Biden and sons Hunter Biden (L) and Beau Biden walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Biden, on three separate occasions in February, recounted some version of a story about how he was arrested with Nelson Mandela in South Africa while visiting with the independence hero in the 1970s.

“This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid. 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 Robben Island,” Biden said during a campaign event in South Carolina on February 11. At the time, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was still a threat to his primary nomination.

There was one problem, however: The arrest didn't happen.

Liberal firebrand and TV host Mehdi Hasan pointed out the "lie"  in a March video and also acknowledged Biden's cognitive decline. "It's a lie. He didn’t misspeak. He didn’t misremember. It wasn’t a gaffe. It was a lie and a really bad one," Hassan declared.

In fact, the falsehood was so blatant that it was denounced by independent fact-checkers such as Politifact and the Washington Post, which awarded four Pinocchios to the "ridiculous claim." The backlash forced Biden to come clean during an appearance on CNN two weeks later.

“When I said arrested I meant I was not able to move, cops and Afrikaners would not let me go with them … I guess I wasn’t arrested I was stopped,” he explained.

In the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, which Barack Obama won in a landslide, Biden conjured yet another "arrest" while addressing students at the University of Ohio. The former Delaware senator, at the time, claimed he was busted for accidentally wandering into a women's dormitory when he was a student at the University of Delaware.

“Barack Obama’s running mate playfully admitting he was arrested more than 40 years ago. Biden joked about it in Ohio. He said he was attending a football game between his university and Ohio University and he mistakenly followed what he called … ‘a lovely group of women into an all-female dormitory.’ Biden said an officer quickly stopped him noting that men were not allowed inside,” CNN's Wolf Blitzer reported in 2008, somehow managing to keep a straight face.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden share a laugh as the US Senior Men's National Team and Brazil play during a pre-Olympic exhibition basketball game at the Verizon Center on July 16, 2012, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

 

The story never became a national scandal in the pre-MeToo era. In fact, an Associated Press report at the time said the anecdote was met with "laughter" from the audiences.

But then Biden backtracked on his claims while retelling the moment in 2012 during a speech in Athens, Ohio.

“The last time I was here, I want to make clear to the press, I didn’t get arrested, but I almost did. Because back in those days … men weren’t allowed anywhere near a women’s dorm,” he clarified.

However, the 47th VPOTUS couldn't help himself from claiming another "arrest" that seemingly took place in 1963. Biden said he was a 21-year-old student visiting Washington D.C. with his friends when he ventured out to the Senate building and nonchalantly walked in for a stroll while most of his pals were still hungover.

“I sat down on the presiding officer’s chair and a police officer grabbed me, arrested me, took me downstairs,” Biden claimed in a 2016 interview with C-SPAN.

But he didn't stop there. Biden went on to claim that he ran into the same officer eight years later, only this time he was returning to the chamber as a freshman Senator from Delaware.

“I walked in the same door and a cop grabbed me [on] the shoulder and he said, ‘You can’t go there, sir,’ and I turned around and he got a big grin in his face and said, ‘I hope you appreciate the humor, Senator, I arrested you 8 years ago, walking around the floor of the Senate,’” according to the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

 

Former U.S. Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a campaign kickoff rally, May 18, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

 

The story is also featured in Biden's 2007 memoir “Promises to Keep" — but fails to mention any arrest. And the lifelong Democrat reiterated the same episode during his farewell address to the Senate two years later, albeit he specifically insisted that he wasn't arrested.

“And the next thing I know, I feel this hand on my shoulder, and a guy picked me — a Capitol policeman picks me up and spins me around, and he said, “What are you doing?” Biden said. “And after a few moments, he realized I was just a dumb-struck kid and didn’t arrest me or anything.”

That said, the Biden campaign is yet to comment on these claims (and also clarify if "CornPop" was really a "bad dude").

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