Here are a few of the president’s false and misleading claims, provided by www.factcheck.org.
Distorting Biden’s Positions
Biden’s health plan. Trump inaccurately suggested Biden supported a Medicare for All health plan. “The Biden plan would … destroy protections for preexisting conditions. You know that. They want to go socialized medicine,” Trump said. “Get rid of 180 million private plans that people love.” Biden’s health plan calls for keeping and building on the Affordable Care Act, creating “a public health insurance option like Medicare” that people could choose to buy, expanding the tax credits under the ACA and offering a premium-free plan for those in non-Medicaid-expansion states who otherwise would have qualified for the program under the ACA.
School choice/charter schools. Trump wrongly claimed that Biden “wants to ban school choice and ban charter schools.” Biden opposes federal funding going to “for-profit charter schools,” but schools managed by for-profit companies make up only a fraction of charter schools — about 10%, according to a researcher for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. And while Biden opposes vouchers for private school tuition, he does not oppose students choosing between public schools, magnet schools and high-performing charter schools.
Biden and guns. Trump has said, “Biden wants to confiscate your guns and indoctrinate your children with poisonous anti-American lies in schools, right?” It is not true that Biden favors confiscating weapons, and there is no evidence Biden wants to indoctrinate children with “poisonous anti-American lies.” Biden’s gun safety proposals include banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and a voluntary program to buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines from those who now possess them. Under Biden’s plan, assault weapons owners could either sell the weapons to the government or register them under the National Firearms Act.
Fracking. Trump claimed that “Joe Biden has vowed to ban fracking,” which Biden recently said emphatically he would not do. Biden’s plan allows for existing fracking permits to continue on federal lands and does nothing to prohibit fracking in non-federal areas — where most crude oil and natural gas is produced. Biden supports ending federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and transitioning, by 2050, to a clean energy economy with net-zero emissions.
Health care access. Trump falsely claimed, “Biden is pledging to give federal health care to illegal aliens, which is decimating Medicare.” Biden has made no such promise. Biden has said that, unlike current law, his plan would allow those individuals living in the U.S. illegally to “buy into the system,” referring to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges.
Refugees. Trump has criticised Biden for proposing to “increase refugee admission 700%.” That is close to correct — largely because Trump, in a break from past administrations, sharply lowered the cap on refugees to just 18,000 in fiscal year 2020. Biden says on his campaign website that he will “set the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000,” which is a 600% increase from 18,000. It is also 56% higher than President George W. Bush’s last fiscal year, and 14% higher than what President Barack Obama had authorized in his final fiscal year.
Election Ballot Claims
Ballots found in “river.” As part of his campaign against mail-in ballots, Trump misleadingly claimed “many ballots” were found “in a riverbed.” According to the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin, three trays of mail were found Sept. 21 along the side of a road and in a ditch next to a highway in Greenville. Officials said the batch of mail included “several” absentee ballots, though a Postal Service spokesman would not comment on whether those were completed ballots, or blank ones.
Double ballots. Trump has also said that there was “another case where a thousand ballots were sent, but not single — they were sent double, so you get to vote twice.” As NBC4 in Washington reported, election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, believe up to 1,000 people who requested mail-in ballots may have gotten two by mistake. But those people won’t be able to vote twice. Fairfax County Registrar Gary Scott said that when every ballot is returned, “we make an entry into their voter record that they have returned a ballot. So if something else shows up, the ballot has already been returned. We can’t count that ballot.”
Fatality rate decline. Repeating a line he’s now delivered more than a dozen times, Trump said, “We pioneered life saving therapies, reducing the fatality rate 85% since April.” The U.S.’s reported case fatality rate, or percentage of deaths from the coronavirus among diagnosed cases, has fallen dramatically since April. But Trump’s suggestion that that’s entirely due to treatment improvements — and advances Americans or the American government developed — is misleading.
Strategic National Stockpile “cupboards” were “bare.” Trump falsely claimed that the Obama administration left the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies “bare.” “We did a job, including ventilators that nobody had,” the president said during the Pennsylvania rally. “The cupboards were bare when we took over.” While some news reports note that some personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirator masks, were not replenished after 2009’s H1N1 influenza pandemic, the stockpile was not empty. In 2016, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said there were at least six warehouses of items worth approximately $7 billion. The president’s boast about ventilators also rings hollow. Trump actually inherited more ventilators in the stockpile — nearly 17,000 — than were distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saving lives. Trump has said of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, “We had to close it down. We saved millions of lives.” The lockdowns — which were imposed by many states, not by Trump — may have saved “millions” of lives. Also, Trump at times pressured states to open up before their governors wanted to.
Popular Talking Points
Not the “greatest economy.” Trump has falsely said that the United States had “the greatest economy in the history of the world” before the novel coronavirus hit. That was not the case. The real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product grew 2.2% in 2019 — down from 3% in 2018. Over the last 39 years — dating to Ronald Reagan’s presidency — the nation’s real economic growth has reached or exceeded Trump’s peak year of 3% a total of 17 times.
Trump also said, “We’ve added a historic 10.6 million jobs in the last four months.” He failed to mention that is fewer than half of the 22.2 million jobs the country had lost earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Auto plants. Trump has repeated false claims about auto plants in Michigan, saying, “What I’ve done for Michigan, in particular, also Pennsylvania, but what I’ve done for them with autos, forget it. They’re building 17, or expanding 17, different plants. They hadn’t built one in 42 years and we’re building a lot of them.” The last vehicle assembly plant built in Michigan before Trump took office was a General Motors plant in Lansing Delta Township, completed in 2006. As for the country at large, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz both announced new plants in 2015 in South Carolina.
Despite Trump’s boasts, the number of motor vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs in Michigan has gone down under Trump, even before the coronavirus pandemic caused economic shutdowns. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced in February 2019 it would convert two plants into a new assembly site in Michigan, and Honda and General Motors announced shortly after his inauguration a joint venture to produce hydrogen fuel cell systems in an existing GM facility. But there have been three plant closures announced in the state since Trump took office.
Oil and natural gas. Trump took credit for milestones reached long before his presidency when he claimed: “We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world.” The U.S. became the leader in production of petroleum in 2013 and natural gas in 2009.
Nobel Peace Prize. Trump has complained that the media ignored his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying, “I got nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes. … I got two in one week. … But the fake news never even put it on.” Trump hasn’t won a Nobel Peace Prize. Simply being nominated is not a huge deal: This year 211 individuals and 107 organizations have been nominated. And he wasn’t nominated for two: While he was nominated by two people, there is just one Nobel Peace Prize.
Border wall and open borders. Trump talks about the progress his administration has made on building a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. “And we are just finishing a beautiful wall,” he said. “That wall 340 miles, 340. … Now we’re up to 330 miles.” According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 341 miles of wall and fencing have been erected. But, most of that is replacement of existing fencing or wall; there has been little new construction. The San Antonio Express-News reported on Aug. 7 that only five miles of new wall have been built.
Quelling urban unrest. Trump falsely took credit for sending the National Guard into Minneapolis to put down violent protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “You saw what we did in Minneapolis,” he said. “She called us like a week and a half too late. We went in. How long did that take? About a half hour. It was over. We brought in the National Guard. We told Seattle we’re coming in and they left that night.”
Trump is wrong about the National Guard in both cases. In Minneapolis, after a second day of demonstrations got out of hand, Mayor Jacob Frey officially declared a local emergency and called for the state’s National Guard to be deployed. Minnesota’s governor Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the state’s National Guard the following day. Similarly, in Seattle, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee activated the guard at the request of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan after protests turned violent.
Low–income housing in the suburbs. Trump said that he had “knocked out” an Obama-era regulation regarding low-income housing in the suburbs. “I knocked out the regulation that allows low-income housing in the suburbs,” he said. “They’re changing the zoning so they can build. That’s what it is. They’re changing the zoning. It was a rule, a regulation that was a disaster.” It’s unclear whether the rule had any impact at all, as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson suspended its requirements in 2018. In its published rule, HUD said of the regulation: “This rule does not impose any land use decisions or zoning laws on any local government.”
Obama’s unfilled judicial vacancies. Trump again wrongly claimed that President Barack Obama left the Trump administration “over 100″ federal judicial court vacancies — it was precisely 112 — “because he probably thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win. And, you know, in which case it wouldn’t have mattered too much. I guess that’s what he assumed.”
The number of judicial vacancies left by Obama was historically high, but that wasn’t because Obama didn’t try to fill most of them. Rather, it was resistance to Obama’s judicial nominations from Senate Republicans who took over a majority during the last two years of Obama’s presidency. In early January 2017, just before Trump took office, there were 59 federal court nominees pending.
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