2 truths and 31 lies Joe Biden has told about his work in the Civil Rights Movement

Since the early 1970s, Joe Biden has been a serial liar when it comes to his "work" in the Civil Rights Movement. It's the equivalent of stolen valor and is fundamentally disqualifying.

In 1987, when Joe Biden was running for President for the very first time, his campaign got swallowed up in a swarm of lies that Joe Biden told about himself all over the country. First, Biden was caught plagiarizing a famous speech from British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock - including parts of the speech that came straight from Kinnock’s personal life that simply were not true for Joe Biden. Then, he plagiarized yet another speech from the late Robert Kennedy and another from JFK and another from Hubert Humphrey. You have to understand - this was pre-Internet, pre-social media, and something in Joe Biden’s mind made him think he could get away with it. He didn’t. And it ultimately tanked his campaign.

Soon, it was discovered that Biden had not just plagiarized those four speeches, but had lied about academic awards, lied about scholarships, lied about his ranking at Syracuse Law School, where he had nearly been kicked out for plagiarizing five entire pages of an essay, and that he also frequently lied about something that he had made a central part not just of his 1988 presidential campaign bid, but of his entire public persona. Temporarily, Joe Biden paid a price for most of those lies, but was never fully held to account for the worst of them all. On the backs of people who actually paid an enormous price for being activists and organizers in the Civil Rights Movement, Joe Biden created a completely false narrative of his work and contributions to the movement that persists to this very day. Instead of plagiarized speeches, he was plagiarizing details about his actual life. He not only told these lies in previous generations, they have now fully returned to his current stump speeches in churches and venues around the country as if he never acknowledged and apologized for them in the past. It’s shameful. Below is a full accounting of every lie Joe Biden has told about his work in the Civil Rights Movement. First, though, we must begin with two truths.

On two very important occasions, Joe Biden actually told the entire truth about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Nearly everything else has been a lie. I’ve counted at least 31 different lies he has told about being an activist, organizer, sit-in demonstrator, boycott leader, voter registration volunteer, Black church trainee and more in the Civil Rights Movement, but every single time I dig, I actually find more interviews, more lies, more fabrications, more tales he told to voters, reporters, historians, and more. First, let’s start with the two truths.

In September of 1987, with his presidential campaign completely consumed by his lies, Biden, with his entire public life in shambles, fell on his sword and told the truth about his lack of work in the Civil Rights Movement. In repeated interviews, campaign events, and national keynote speeches at the Democratic Conventions of both Maine and California, Biden told wild tales of how he marched, sat-in, and boycotted during the Civil Rights Movement and even went so far as to suggest that he had traveled to Selma and Birmingham with such actions, but with his campaign in tatters, he finally said they were all lies.

Truth #1

“During the 1960s, I was in fact very concerned about the civil rights movement. I was not an activist. I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Delaware. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. But I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans.”

When pushed about false claims that he had also been against the Vietnam War, Biden also owned up to that lie and said:

“When I was at Syracuse, I was married, I was in law school, I wore sports coats. You're looking at a middle-class guy. I am who I am. I'm not big on flak jackets and tie-dyed shirts. You know, that's not me.”

Here’s the full C-Span video of these remarks.

Those honest, transparent words from Joe Biden are the single truest words he ever spoke about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. From 1987 until the release of his autobiography, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, 20 years later, as he entered yet another presidential race, Biden was actually very careful to never tell another lie about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, that leads us to:

Truth #2

Joe Biden’s autobiography is colorful. He’s a great story teller. When I purchased the book, which is 400 pages long, I was curious how he would frame his “involvement” in the Civil Rights Movement. I read the book from cover to cover. In light of what Joe Biden is now again saying in the 2020 presidential campaign about his work in the Civil Rights Movement, what I found in his autobiography shocked me. He reduces his entire involvement in the Civil Rights Movement to two sentences on page 43. It reads,

I worked there (a swimming pool) back in the early sixties, when freedom rides, sit-ins, and Bull Connor’s dogs and fire hoses were starting to get people’s attention. Like everybody in America in those years, I was getting dramatic lessons about segregation and civil rights from newspapers and television.

Newspapers and television. That’s it. That’s the whole section he wrote in his 400 page autobiography about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Newspapers and television. That’s where Joe Biden, like most people, in his own words, admitted that he learned about the Civil Rights Movement. Newspapers and television. Not during trainings in Black churches. Not during sit-ins at segregated restaurants and movie theaters. Not during the deeply organized marches and protests he claimed to be a part of along Route 40.

See, I just wrote a book that comes out this April. The editing and fact-checking process was fierce. It took months. The same was true of Biden’s autobiography. Unlike his campaign speeches and media interviews, Biden, or his aides, knew better than to tell lies about his days as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement in his autobiography - or for that matter in any of his future books. It’s never mentioned - not one single time. And that’s what we call a tell. In every fact-checked publication, speech, and video Joe Biden has ever produced, every mention of his “work” in the Civil Rights Movement is completely omitted. It doesn’t exist. Could you imagine being a 17 year old white boy in Delaware in 1960 who did sit-ins, boycotts, protests, marches, and voter registration drives, while getting trained in Black churches, and not having one single story or memory or recollection to tell about it? It’s fundamentally absurd. Those events would’ve had such a drastic impact on Joe, and on his whole family for that matter, that they would be told non-stop.

That’s why it is so incredibly disturbing, that after Joe Biden admitted in 1987 to telling such egregious lies about his role in the Civil Rights Movement that he has now, under the pressure of the 2020 presidential campaign, resorted to doing it again. If it was a lie in 1987 that he marched and did sit-ins and so much more, it’s a lie today.

Joe Biden’s Very Modern Lies About the Civil Rights Movement

After nearly losing his career because of lies, from 1987 until 2014 Joe Biden appeared to refrain from telling any at all about his role in the Civil Rights Movement. But suddenly, while giving a speech at a King Day Breakfast in January of 2014 for the National Action Network, he resorted back to the same old debunked lies and also added one brand new one that he had never told in his entire life saying that he was regularly trained for the Civil Rights Movement in 1960 on Sunday mornings in Black churches when he said,

“And so I got involved in deseg- (pause), I was no ‘big shakes’ Reverend, in the Civil Rights Movement. I got involved in desegregating movie theaters and helping, you may remember, Reverend Moyer in Delaware and Herman Holloway, organized voter registration drives - coming out of Black churches on Sunday - figuring how we were going to move.”

From 2014 until early 2019, Joe Biden would not again repeat the false claim that he was an activist and organizer in the Civil Rights Movement. But once he began running again, he could not resist himself. It’s as if he is not fully clear on how the Internet works.

In Waterloo, Iowa on this past December 5th, 2019 Biden began telling falsehoods again about being an activist and organizer, and then added new color to the lie from 2014 that he was being trained as an activist in Black churches on Sunday mornings, saying,

“I got involved, most of you don’t know me well, I got involved in public life, because when I was about the age of the guy standing over there (points to teenage boy), I got involved in the civil rights movement….

Well, I got my education, Reverend Doc... in the Black church. Not a joke -- because when we used to get organized on Sundays to go out and desegregate movie theaters and things like that, we'd do it through the Black church. I got to admit to you I'd go to my Catholic Mass at 7:30 first, and then I'd show up in the Black church."

Because Joe Biden did not actually do what he’s saying in this video, or in other videos - waking up early as a 17 year old high school senior to go to the 7:30AM Catholic mass so that he could then go to a local Black church for their 10AM church service to be trained for the Civil Rights Movement - he has absolutely no idea just how foolish this sounds. In 1960, during the Civil Rights Movement, even in the Deep South, even in churches pastored by Dr. King himself, Sunday morning was not at all like a Monday night planning meeting or strategy session. Sunday mornings were sacred religious moments of prayer, song, praise, offering, sermon, and invitation. Even during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Sunday morning services were almost exclusively religious in nature. They weren’t brainstorming sessions, as Biden describes, where Black folk and their white friend named Joe would decide where they’d go desegregate next.

Apparently itching for another scandal to end yet another presidential campaign, Biden continued his lies again - this time at a special service at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina on this past January 20th, 2020. Each time he tells these lies he appears to be abandoning his script and adding new layers of lies on top of the old ones.

“You know, when I was a teenager in Delaware, for real, I got involved in the Civil Rights Movement. We have the 8th largest Black population in America, most people don’t know that. And, uh, I’d go to 8 o’clock mass, then I’d go to Reverend Herring’s church, where we’d meet, in order to organize and figure where we were going to go, whether we were going to desegregate the Rialto movie theater or what we were going to do. I got my education. For real. In the Black Church. And that’s not hyperbole. It’s a fact.”

The Reverend Herring he speaks of there is the late legendary Reverend Otis Herring of Union Baptist Church in Wilmington. Other times this year when Biden tells this story he says he’d leave mass and go to the late Reverend Maurice Moyer’s church. I spoke to former members of their churches, as well as people close to both families. Neither stories are true. Joe Biden met both of these men much later in life and only learned about their great work in retrospect. Reverends Herring and Moyer were revered in Delaware and Joe Biden is abusing their names and deaths by falsely claiming they were his mentors in 1960. They were not. Four different people in Wilmington expressed to me that these claims of Biden are so outrageous and dishonest that it caused them to truly worry for his mental health.

This past week in Iowa Biden went so far as to say he “was raised in the Black church.” It’s about as absurd of a claim as a person running for President has ever made. Again, I must remind you that he has never mentioned any of this for his entire life.

All the Places Biden, Obama, and Staff Carefully Left Out His Lies about the Civil Rights Movement

In 2008 Barack Obama, the first Black man to ever get the Democratic nomination for President gave a rousing speech in Illinois to introduce Joe Biden as his choice for Vice President, he carefully left out any involvement Joe Biden claimed to have in the Civil Rights Movement. Here’s the transcript. Could you imagine how important and relevant such moments would’ve been to include? It’s unthinkable that Joe Biden, as he now says, was trained as a 17 year old white boy in Black churches, boycotted, marched, and put his body on the line all over Delaware, all for equality and freedom, but it never got mentioned one single time by Barack Obama not just in these speeches, but in his entire presidency - not one single time. Ever.

When Joe Biden came up after this speech, to accept the task ahead, he too, left out any mention of any work in the Civil Rights Movement. A few weeks later when Joe Biden was introduced and nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee at the DNC in 2008, one of the most historic times in our country, as we neared closer to electing our first Black president, again, Joe made no mention of his time in the Civil Rights Movement. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. What better time, what better moment would it ever be mentioned? Here’s the transcript.

When the DNC did this long biographical video of Joe at the 2012 convention, they made no mention of any work in the Civil Rights Movement. Even when President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Joe Biden, and recounted all of Joe’s accomplishments, not a single mention of the Civil Rights Movement was made - not by Obama, and not by Biden. Here’s the transcript. It is fundamentally preposterous to believe that a former freedom fighter in the Civil Rights Movement got a Presidential Medal of Freedom by the First Black President, but such actions were completely ignored not just in this speech, but for the entirety of eight years.

And here’s the thing - when Joe Biden actually has an experience, like the time where he really was the only white lifeguard at a segregated swimming pool for one single summer in Wilmington, Delaware his stories and details about those moments are endless. He has an entire chapter about that swimming pool in his autobiography. I’ve counted hundreds of very detailed stories he has told about his time there across the years. He won’t stop talking about it.

But from the early 1970s, until this very week, when Joe Biden mentions stories of his work in the Civil Rights Movement, something very un-Joe like happens - the details are scarce. He has no color or nuance on how he felt as an activist or organizer, who he was with, what it looked like, what it sounded like, or what the specific actions were.

Was he afraid? Was he arrested like everybody else? How come his name doesn’t appear in the arrest records? What did he tell his dear mother and father and siblings when he joined the Civil Rights Movement and participated in such bold actions? Who did he travel with to and from each action? What did his classmates and teachers and mentors think? How did the sit-ins end? What did the owners of the restaurants and movie theaters say to him? All of these details, and so many more, are left out, I have found, because they simply do not exist.

Where are the photos? Where are the images or newspaper clippings? Where are the details from Joe Biden in any of his books? Why was it so thoroughly omitted from the entire presidency of Barack Obama?

Below, I have carefully tracked and detailed the painful, disturbing lies Joe Biden has made for nearly 50 years about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

  • I have interviewed esteemed historians of the Civil Rights Movement as well as countless historians of Delaware history.

  • I have interviewed living legends and elders from the Civil Rights Movement in Delaware that were in Wilmington and all over the state when Joe Biden claimed to be doing courageous work in the movement.

  • I have carefully combed through archives of every single newspaper article ever written about the Civil Rights Movement in Delaware, over 1,000 total articles from the time Joe Biden moved to the state until he became a United States Senator.

  • I have found and carefully catalogued every single mention of Joe Biden’s work in the Civil Rights Movement in newspapers, books, and magazines from 1973 until this morning.

  • I have found and carefully catalogued every video mention by Joe Biden of his “work” in the Civil Rights Movement. And my findings are below.

It is amazing that Joe Biden has gotten a pass on this for so long. Current and former elected officials in Delaware told me that it is an open secret among them that Joe Biden is a serial pathological liar when it comes to his “work” in the Civil Rights Movement and that he has told such lies, for so long, so many times, that it is an unwritten rule in Delaware that one must hold their nose and go along with them or risk being ostracized in such a small, close-knit political community. He is a legend there - and crossing him is akin to political suicide. Below, I will begin to unpack and explain the lies.

Videos of the Old Debunked Lies Joe Biden Told About His Role in the Civil Rights Movement

On February 26th, 1987 Joe Biden began giving speeches in New Hampshire as he prepared to run for President. Here he made multiple false claims about marching in the Civil Rights Movement saying, “When I marched in the Civil Rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program, I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes, and we changed attitudes.”

Except Joe Biden never marched in the Civil Rights Movement. Not once. He didn’t march with or without a 12 point program. It was a complete fabrication. Seven months later Biden explicitly admitted as much when his campaign crashed and burned. What’s doubly disturbing about this is that multiple staffers on his campaign begged him to stop telling this lie. They knew he had never marched in the Civil Rights Movement, but he continued telling the lie anyway.

I spoke directly to Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times who really broke the video above about where he first unearthed the quotes from Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign staffers. “It’s all in a book that you’ve gotta get. It’s by Richard Ben Cramer. It’s massive. It’s called What It Takes: The Way to the White House and it’s all about the 1988 presidential race.” I bought it as soon as Matt and I hung up the phone. Cramer, who won the Pulitzer Prize, was a brilliant writer. He conducted over 1,000 interviews for the book, which is seen by many as the single best text ever written on modern presidential politics. It’s exhaustive. And there, plain as day, are Biden’s staffers talking about how desperately they wanted Biden to stop telling the lies about working in the Civil Rights Movement. He acknowledged that they were right, but kept on telling the lies anyway. Here’s Kramer, in Chapter 25, speaking to campaign staff:

“How he started in the civil rights movement, remember? The Marches? Remember how that felt? And they’re nodding in the crowd, and he’s got them, sure. Trouble is, Joe didn’t march. He was in high school playing football. The gurus would shake their heads. “That’s not marching.” And Joe would say, “I know, Okay.” But then a week later, another crowd, and Joe would do it again.

"Folks, when I started in public life, in the civil rights movement, we marched to change attitudes ... I remember what galvanized me ... Bull Connor and his dogs ... I'm serious. In Selma." Joe’s voice drops to an urgent whisper. “Absolutely. Made. My. Blood. Run. Cold. Remember?”

But Joe Biden had never seen such things with his own eyes. Turns out, Joe had been telling those lies for years.

In 1983 Joe Biden was a keynote speaker at the Democratic Conference in Maine and falsely claimed there to participate in sit-ins at movie theaters and restaurants to desegregate them when he was 17 years old in 1960.

Joe Biden did no such thing. In fact, nobody did.

Sit-ins at segregated restaurants did not begin in Delaware until 1961 and sit-ins never happened at the segregated movie theaters like the Rialto that Joe Biden sometimes falsely claims to have helped desegregate in 1960. Let me explain.

To get into those theaters you had to be white and purchase a ticket. So African Americans never “sat-in” and whites could only sit-in if they bought a ticket. So every time Joe Biden said he did sit-ins at those theaters he foolishly exposes the reality that he was never there. Protestors were there though. I spoke to them. Not a single protestor or organizer who demonstrated in Wilmington or anywhere in Delaware for that matter, has even one faint memory of seeing Joe Biden at any such event in 1960 when Biden said such actions took place (or 1961 or 1962 or 1963). Their efforts were chronicled almost daily in local papers and in the new book Historic Movie Theaters of Delaware by Michael Nazarewycz, who is seen as the leading expert on the subject. The form of protest that took place at those theaters was not even sit-ins, but relentless picket lines outside of the theater that started in November of 1962 and carried on all the way until 1963 when the theaters were finally desegregated - first by choice in May, then by law in December of 1963.

"When I was 17, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses. And my stomach turned upon hearing the voices of [Arkansas Democratic Governor Orval] Faubus and [Alabama Democratic Governor George] Wallace. My soul raged upon seeing Bull Connor and his dogs."

As you will notice there, Joe Biden, in 1983, also hinted again at actually being in the Deep South during the Civil Rights Movement. That never happened.

In February of 1987 Joe Biden served as a keynote speaker at the California Democratic Convention. In the video below, Joe rekindles the lie that he participated in sit-ins at restaurants and movie theaters saying, “When I was 17 years old, I participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses of Wilmington, Delaware."

Biden never once participated in a sit-in demonstration in his entire life. Not in Wilmington or elsewhere.

Speaking to a group of reporters in April of 1987, Biden again falsely claimed to have both marched and participated in sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement. Again, he did neither. Again, his campaign admitted this in September of 1987.

In the video below, from Iowa in May of 1987, Biden, in the crescendo of his speech, falsely claimed to march in the Civil Rights Movement and in the anti-war movement. He did neither.

Pay particular attention in the video below to the flippant vagueness of how Biden describes what he did in the Civil Rights Movement in 1960 when he was just 17 when he says, "I came out of the civil rights movement. I was one of those guys that sat in and marched and all that stuff."

This is not how one who actually did any such thing would EVER describe the courageous work of activism. And it’s not even how Joe Biden himself tells stories about his actual life. He is vague and irreverent because he did not actually do these things.

When pressed further on this, Joe Biden and his 1988 campaign team eventually admitted he never once marched in the Civil Rights Movement that he never once participated in any sit-ins in any restaurants in Wilmington or along Route 40 anywhere in Delaware. When his campaign was finally over, his spokesperson, Larry Rasky, said that Biden may have helped in some non-sit-in kind of way at just one movie theater and one restaurant, but Biden has named and claimed multiple movie theaters and restaurants all over Wilmington and up and down Route 40.

And the restaurant that Joe Biden most often told people for decades that he helped to desegregate as a 17 year old in 1960, the Charcoal Grill, has a dubious and deeply problematic story once it was actually fact-checked by reporters.

On December 26th, 1982 in a story about the history of the Charcoal Pit in the Sunday News Journal in Wilmington, Biden said, he loved the place and only had one negative memory there from his senior year in high school in 1960.

“I organized a civil rights boycott because they wouldn’t serve black kids. One of our football players was black and we went there and they said they wouldn’t serve him. And I said to the others, ‘Hey, we can’t go in there.’ So we all left. It was very brief and not nasty. My clear intent was to boycott.”

Except the lone Black student in the class, Dr. Francis Hutchins, said that wasn’t what happened at all. In September of 1987, as investigative reporters began digging into all of Biden’s lies, they found that even his lone story about desegregating the Charcoal Grill was a farce. Here’s their report:

“That student, who is now a Philadelphia physician, says that Biden’s group was not even aware of what was going on because his ejection from the restaurant happened out of their vision. It was only later, after the students had eaten and left the restaurant, that they found out from the Black student what happened.”

“They weren’t aware of what happened,” Dr. Francis Hutchins, Jr. said. “I was only 16 then. It was my problem and my battle for me to work out. They were oblivious to it until later on.”

It wasn’t just that Joe Biden made these things up, they’ve been written about him hundreds of times in newspapers and magazines going back as early as 1975.

In September of 1975, after Joe Biden was elected to the United States Senate, he soon began working with lifelong bigots and white supremacists to pass/block certain pieces of legislation. In the below Washington Post article from that month we see the first printed account claiming that Joe Biden had been active in the Civil Rights Movement.

It says of Joe that, “He has accumulated some very credible civil rights credentials since adolescence - participating in a high school restaurant boycott and in sit-ins along US 40.”

Both are outright fabrications that were painfully debunked not only by his lone Black high school classmate in the case of the restaurant boycott, but by historians, civil rights leaders, and by Joe Biden’s own timeline in the case of the sit-ins along US 40 Biden claimed to participate in. By the time Biden started running for President in 1987, he had promoted lies about his work in the Civil Rights Movement for the entire previous generation.

In The Morning News in Delaware, also in September of 1975, they repeated the same claim about Biden saying that, “As a young man, he took part in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants along U.S. 40 in Delaware.”

Except Joe Biden did no such thing.

First off, Joe Biden said the only year he participated in the Civil Rights Movement was in 1960 when he was 17 years old. When Joe Biden was caught in his lying scandal in 1987, again, Biden said none of this ever happened and his spokesperson reduced it to lone incident at the Charcoal Grill and something at a movie theatre. The sit-ins and protests along Route 40 in Delaware did not take place until 1961 and 1962. Secondly, they were organized primarily by CORE (The Congress for Racial Equality) with adults who drove and bussed in from states across the country. These were trained, experienced activists and organizers. In fact, in his autobiography, Biden says at great length that one of the primary reasons he decided to take a summer job away from college at a segregated pool in Wilmington was so that he could finally get to know Black people and Black life personally. Had Biden, as he now says, been mentored in Black churches, and protested and sat-in with Black people all over Wilmington in 1960, why would he take a summer job in 1962 to meet the people he says so frequently that he never knew until he took that position? That doesn’t add up.

I spoke directly with Dr. Raymond Arsenault, an expert in the Civil Rights Movement as well as a History Professor at the University of South Florida, who wrote one of the most important texts on the Civil Rights Movement entitled Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. It’s the single most sourced book ever written on the topic. He confirmed for me that out of hundreds of interviews and source documents he has never seen a shred of evidence that Biden ever participated in a single sit-in along Route 40 in Delaware. The primary activists and organizers of those actions, including Duane Nichols, who kept meticulous records of the Route 40 protests and Betsy Marston, who managed much of the work at the University of Delaware have also come forward to say that Biden was not a part of their circles and that no records suggest he ever was.

Without fail, when I asked elected officials or legendary activists who I should speak with in Wilmington, they each said that I should speak directly to the first Black Mayor of Wilmington, James Sills - who moved to the city in 1959 and called it home for the past 61 years. An activist and organizer himself, he participated in the actual pickets at the Rialto Theater in 1962-63 and confirmed that they were not sit-ins. He participated in, and was arrested in sit-ins at segregated restaurants. Like almost every other young activist in the area, he went to hear Dr. King in 1960 for the only time he came to Delaware. This, according to Biden, was his hey-day of activism, but he strangely did not go to hear King when he came to town. Mayor Sills, in fact said the first time he ever remembered meeting Joe Biden was closer to 1970 when Biden was running for office. Larry Morris, another veteran of the Civil Rights Movement in Wilmington, said he had no recollection of Biden ever being a part of the work.

And all of this leads me to a man named Mouse. In fact, his name is Richard “Mouse” Smith and he first met Joe Biden in that summer of 1962 when Biden was a lifeguard at the segregated swimming pool. Biden was 19 and Mouse was just 13 years old. Back in July of 2019, in the weeks after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had a public disagreement in one of the early Democratic debates over Biden’s record on bussing and school integration, the Biden campaign began floating Mouse out to news outlets as someone interesting they could interview that would vouch for Biden’s character. A few places, like Blavity and The Washington Post took the bait. Blavity published an op-ed written by Richard “Mouse” Smith. And the Washington Post wrote a long-form story on Mouse, his life, and how it all intersected with Joe Biden. It was brilliantly written.

But only one thing Mouse said is confusing - very confusing. I called the author of the Washington Post piece, Robert Samuels, and immediately asked for clarification because it seemed like a clear error of some kind. Here’s what it says,

One day, in 1965, Smith told Biden that some politicians and preachers were going to picket outside the Rialto, the last segregated movie theater downtown.

“I’ll be there,” Biden said.

That was Biden’s first known civil rights protest.

In the summer of 1965 Joe Biden was 22 years old and had just graduated from college. According to every statement he’s ever made about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, including every lie, every book, every speech, including the very speeches that Joe Biden gave just this week, and last week, and the week before that, Joe said that he was protesting as a 17 year old in 1960. Never, once, has Biden said he attended a protest in 1965 after his senior year of college.

In fact, I searched local, regional, and national archives and not a single protest was documented at the Rialto theater in 1965. It was formally and legally integrated in 1963. But here’s the strange thing - the author of the story, Robert Samuels, said he called the Biden campaign to confirm the dates and the facts of the story, and that they “confirmed” that what Mouse said was true - that it was Biden’s first protest and that it did happen in 1965.

Without saying it, the campaign basically confirmed that everything Biden is saying on the campaign trail right now is a lie.

Because Biden has said 5 times on the record in the past 2 months that he did loads of civil rights work, from protests to trainings in Black churches, all in 1960 when he was just 17.

Mouse said it was one fluke moment that happened 5 years later.

The campaign confirms it was 5 years later.

But records don’t even show anything like that happening at the Rialto 5 years later.

What a mess.