Former Vice President Joe Biden conceded Friday that he was never arrested while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in South Africa, as he’d said on the campaign trail. “I guess I wasn’t arrested,” Biden told CNN’s New Day in a Friday interview. “I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go.” Earlier this month, Biden said during a campaign stop that he’d “had the great honor of meeting” the anti-apartheid leader. “I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him,” he claimed. But last week, Andrew Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the late 1970s, told The New York Times that he was never arrested and didn’t think Biden ever was, either.
On Friday, Biden finally admitted that the story was much different than he’d initially described, saying he told police while on a congressional delegation to South Africa that he was “not going to go in that door that says white only” and separate from his black colleagues. “They said, ‘You’re not, you can’t move, you can’t go with them,’ and... they kept me there until finally I decided that it was clear I wasn’t going to move. And so what they finally did, they said, ‘O.K., they’re not going to make the congressional delegation go through the black door, they’re not going to make me go through the white door,’” he told CNN.