President Joe Biden has this strange penchant of trying to endear himself to an audience by embellishing — or straight out lying about — his background.
On multiple occasions this has taken the form of making claims of his involvement in the civil rights movement in the U.S. and in opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
He was at it again on Sunday while speaking at Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, to commemorate what would have been the civil rights icon’s 94th birthday.
Biden told the congregants, “We’d organize to march to desegregate the city. My state was, like yours, segregated by law. We were a slave state, to our great shame. And we had a lot of leftovers of the bad things that come from that period of time.”
He added that he was inspired by King, whom he described, along with the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as his political heroes.
“I have two political heroes my entire life when I started off as a 22-year-old kid in the East Side as — in the Civil Rights Movement and got elected to the United States Senate when I was 29.”
While at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Joe Biden once again claims he was a civil rights activist: “When I started off as a 22-year-old kid on the east side in the civil rights movement.”
This is a debunked lie. pic.twitter.com/CY6x07IN2N
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 15, 2023
“And I had two heroes: Bobby Kennedy — I admired John Kennedy, but I could never picture him at my kitchen table, but I could Bobby — And, no malarkey, Dr. King,” he continued.
In October 2021, Biden also said he was “involved in the civil rights movement.”
This issue came up when he was running for president in 1987, and he was forced to backtrack, The Intercept reported.
At a news conference in September of that year, Biden said, “I was not an activist.”
“I was involved, but I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else,” he added.
Rather Biden said he was aware and concerned about civil rights.
21. Biden repeatedly claimed he was “involved” in the civil rights movement.
None of that is remotely true. Biden even admitted in 1987 he was “not an activist.”pic.twitter.com/ijty46nY83
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 10, 2023
In a second apparent lie on Sunday, Biden told the predominantly African American congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church, “I used to go to 7:30 mass every morning in high school and then in college before I went to the black church. Not a joke.”
“I got raised in the black church,” Biden actually asserted.
“We would go sit in Rev. Herring’s church, sit there before we’d go out, and try to change things when I was a kid in college and in high school.”
BIDEN: “I used to go to 7:30 mass every morning in high school and then in college, before I went to the Black church. Not a joke.”
Congregants say they can’t recall Biden ever attending. pic.twitter.com/4xcF6i0nFE
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 15, 2023
The church in question, Union Baptist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, was run by Rev. Otis Herring until his passing in 1996, the Beacon reported.
A number of long-time church members have no memory of the young Biden ever attending a Union Baptist Church service.
Shaun King, a prominent leader in the politically progressive Black Lives Matter movement, also claimed to have interviewed Union Baptist Church members who don’t remember Biden.
The third seeming lie Biden told on Sunday is that he and former congressman and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young “took on apartheid in South Africa and a whole lot else.”
Biden: “Andy and I took on apartheid in South Africa, and a whole lot else.” pic.twitter.com/DpvXbDDwu7
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 15, 2023
It’s open to interpretation what Biden meant by saying he took on apartheid, but in 2020, he said multiple times that he was arrested in South Africa while trying to meet with the then-imprisoned civil rights activist Nelson Mandala in the 1970s, The New York Times reported.
Biden recounted that he and Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the time, were both arrested.
The Times could find no news accounts of either man being arrested, and when they asked Young about it in 2020, he said, “No, I was never arrested, and I don’t think [Biden] was, either.”
Biden himself acknowledged to CNN he was not arrested. Rather, he meant that authorities briefly separated him at the airport from a group of Congressional Black Caucus members with whom he was traveling.
In a fourth big whopper of a lie, Biden has claimed in the past that he was arrested here in the U.S. for protesting during the civil rights movement.
In January 2022, Biden said the “first time I got arrested” was at a civil rights protest.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler pointed out that Biden has come back to this apparent lie several times.
But the journalist’s research could not substantiate the assertion, even after reaching out to the White House, so he gave Biden four Pinocchios, the Post’s worst rating.
Finally, in 1987 Biden claimed, “When I was 17 years old, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses of Wilmington, Delaware.”
Shaun King spoke with organizers and those who participated in the events.
Ironically, Biden bragged during the 2020 presidential campaign about working with segregationists as a young senator, as an example of his ability to “reach across the aisle.”
The phrase “reach across the aisle” is used when lawmakers of different parties find common ground, but in this case, he was talking about his fellow Democrats, Sens. Herman Talmadge of Georgia and James Eastland of Mississippi.
Biden in the 1970s, opposed student busing programs, which was a primary means used to desegregate public schools.
So Joe, enough tales of your civil rights past heroism.
Under just a little scrutiny, they just don’t hold up.
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