No, Joe Biden Did Not Refer to Satchel Paige as a ‘Negro’ During Veterans Day Speech


Conservative critics falsely claimed that President Joe Biden referred to legendary pitcher Satchel Paige as a “negro” during a Veterans Day speech — barely more than a week after pulling the same bit on Biden and Pope Francis.

Variations on the same claim spread like wildfire among verified conservative Twitter users Thursday: that the president had referred to the late Hall of Famer as “the great negro at the time,” some even including a clip that plainly reveals the falsehood of the attack:

What actually happened is that the president was wishing Amb. Donald Blinken a happy birthday during his Veterans Day speech, and injected one of his favorite stories: a roundabout way of saying that you’re only as old as you feel.

I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro, at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues, went on to become a great pitcher in the pros and Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson.

His name was Satchel Paige, and Satchel Paige, on his 47th birthday pitched a win against Chicago. And all the press went in and said, “Satch, it’s amazing. Forty-seven years old, no one’s ever, ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about being 47?”

He said “Boys, that’s not how I look at it.”

He says “How do you look at it, Satch?”, and he said “I look at it this way, how old would you be if you know how old you were?”

I’m 50 years old and the ambassador’s 47.

The president obviously began to say “Great Negro League pitcher,” but then paused and shifted to saying “at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues,” which was, in fact, the name of the league that Black players formed when they were shut out of Major League Baseball. That this needs to be explained is beyond absurd.

Biden’s age declined by ten years since a few weeks ago, when he concluded the same anecdote by telling Pope Francis “You’re 65 and I’m 60,” and at which time conservatives spread the similar false claim that Biden called the pope “the famous African-American baseball player in America.”

The president frequently tells the Paige story, including at the White House when the L.A. Dodgers visited in July.

Watch above via C-Span.

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