Sunday, 8 March 2020

Former Congressman Who Fact-Checked Joe Biden’s Arrested-In-Africa Story Endorses Him

Former congressman and civil rights leader Andrew Young, who served as the United Nations ambassador under the Carter administration, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president.
According to NPR, Young announced the endorsement on Thursday, and compared Biden to a former Mississippi mayor who once managed to bridge the race gap in his city by receiving 93% percent of the vote. 
While Young has a long record of public service, the former congressman recently entered the public eye after he cast doubt on Biden’s claim that they were both arrested in South Africa while visiting Nelson Mandela around the 1970s. 
According to The New York Times, Biden suddenly began telling the story in February, and the news agency reported that the former vice president made the remarks again while campaigning in South Carolina. 
“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,” said Biden, reports the news agency. “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 Robbens Island.”
The Washington Post fact-checkers, who gave Biden a rating of “four pinocchios” for the story, interviewed Young as part of an investigation to determine what truth, if any, there was to Biden’s recollection. 
“There is no chance I ever was arrested in South Africa, and I don’t think Joe was, either,” said Young, the person who Biden appeared to be saying he was arrested with while visiting the nation, reports the news agency. 
After the story’s veracity was put into doubt, a deputy with the Biden campaign issued a clarification to reporters. 
“He took a trip with a CODEL [congressional delegation] in the ’70s, he was separated from the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus] members that he was traveling with at the airport when he landed,” said the deputy. “When making that remark, he was talking about his long record of fighting apartheid.”
As The Washington Post previously reported, Biden was also caught last August telling a fabricated story about a war ceremony, and an investigation determined that within “the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch, and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.”
[A]lmost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.
Biden visited Konar province in 2008 as a U.S. senator, not as vice president. The service member who performed the celebrated rescue that Biden described was a 20-year-old Army specialist, not a much older Navy captain. And that soldier, Kyle J. White, never had a Silver Star, or any other medal, pinned on him by Biden. At a White House ceremony six years after Biden’s visit, White stood at attention as President Barack Obama placed a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, around his neck.
Amidst the controversy, Biden told The Post and Courier that, although he had not yet read The Washington Post’s fact-check, he had adequately delivered the “essence of the story.”
“The essence – that there’s anything I said about that that wasn’t the essence of the story. The story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save – and risked his life saving – died,” Biden said at the time. “That’s the beginning, middle, and end. The rest of you guys can take it and do what you want with it.”

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