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CORRECT THE RECORD: FACT CHECKING BIDEN AT THE FINAL DEBATE
October 23, 2020
BIDEN: “[President Trump] did virtually nothing” to combat the coronavirus.
FACT: President Trump took action beginning in January to combat the coronavirus and his Administration has led an unprecedented response to protect American lives.
- According to Fauci, the Trump Administration “acted very, very early” to combat the spread of the virus and did not delay putting in place mitigation strategies.
- President Trump restricted travel from China on January 31, a decision that saved American lives.
- On February 11, top Biden coronavirus advisor Ron Klain admitted the Trump Administration was “far from doing nothing.”
- Even Democratic Governors such as Andrew Cuomo (NY) praised the Trump Administration’s response: “What the federal government did, working with states, was a phenomenal accomplishment.”
- President Trump completely overhauled the old and outdated testing system and replaced it with an innovative new testing strategy to meet the country’s needs.
- President Trump used the Defense Production Act dozens of times to expand coronavirus testing technologies and capacity.
- President Trump launched Operation Warp Speed to guarantee that the American people are first in line for a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine—at no cost—as soon as one is developed.
BIDEN: “And there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year.”
FACT: Both the CDC and Dr. Fauci have said a vaccine is possible before the end of 2020.
- In September, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he believes a “safe and effective” vaccine will be available by the end of the year.
- In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is possible “one or more COVID-19 vaccines” will be available “before the end of the year.”
- Multiple coronavirus vaccines are now in their final stages of development—an “impressive” accomplishment, according to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.
BIDEN: “I don’t understand why this President is unwilling to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.”
FACT: Top military and intelligence officials have strongly emphasized that the reporting of bounties is completely unproven.
- In July, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said “all the defense intel agencies have been unable to corroborate that report.”
- In September, General Frank McKenzie Commander of U.S Central Command said that when it comes to evidence about bounties being placed on the heads of American service members “I just haven’t seen it.”
- Regardless, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia that there would be “an enormous price to pay” if any such bounties existed.
BIDEN: “They’re interfering with American sovereignty and to the best of my knowledge I don’t think the president has said anything to Putin about it.”
FACT: The Obama-Biden Administration’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said no one has been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration.
- President Trump has stood up to Russia’s aggression by implementing strong sanctions and countering Russian interference and aggression.
- In July 2017, President Trump pressed Putin on election meddling at the G-20 summit meeting.
- In August 2017, President Trump applied new sanctions to Russia, in an effort to deter Russian subversion and destabilization actions.
- In September 2017, the Trump Administration banned the use of Kaspersky Labs software on U.S. Government computers due to Kaspersky ties to Russian intelligence.
- In March 2018, the Trump Administration imposed sanctions against 16 Russian entities and individuals for their roles in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- In March 2018, President Trump ordered the expulsion of 48 Russian intelligence officers from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
- In June 2019, President Trump told Putin directly: “don’t meddle in the US presidential election.”
BIDEN: “[President Trump] has a secret bank account with China.”
FACT: The bank account is neither secret nor President Trump’s.
- President Trump does not have a personal Chinese bank account.
- Long before Donald Trump ran for president, Trump International Hotels Management L.L.C. opened an account in order to pay local taxes in China and to explore potential hotel deals in Asia.
- No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized, and since 2015, the business office has remained inactive.
- The Trump Organization maintains bank accounts in other countries where it does business, as international businesses typically do.
- The Trump Organization’s account proves one thing: an international hotel business was an international hotel business. Meanwhile, Joe Biden still owes the American people answers about his foreign corruption and dangerous ties to China.
BIDEN: “When last time he said what he paid he said ‘I only paid that little because I’m smart, I know how to game the system.’”
FACT: President Trump has paid millions of dollars in federal taxes.
- A Trump Organization spokesman has directly said that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” in The New York Times’ reporting.
- The Times’ reporting ignores that the President paid $7.4 million in federal taxes in 2017, not $750.
- The Times’ article ignores millions of dollars the President has paid in payroll, property, and other taxes, along with state and local taxes he has paid.
BIDEN: “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about — what are you talking about – China.”
FACT: Hunter Biden attempted to negotiate multiple, lucrative business deals with Chinese partners, and currently has an ownership stake in a Chinese private equity firm.
- An May 2017 email shows Hunter attempting to cash in on an $850,000 annual “renumeration [sic] package” and ownership stake of 20 percent as part of a deal with Chinese energy company CEFC.
- This email also says that 10 percent equity should be held for “the big guy,” who Hunter Biden’s business associate, Tony Bobulinski, has confirmed was Joe Biden.
- An August 2017 email shows Hunter tried to negotiate a deal with Ye Jianming, CEFC’s Chairman, for a $10 million annual fee for “introductions alone.”
- The following month, Ye opened a line of credit with Hunter that he, James Biden, and Sara Biden all used for an extravagant $100,000 spending spree.
- At one point in 2015, Ye even gave Hunter a 2.8-carat diamond which his wife thought was worth $80,000.
- In September 2017, Hunter reached an agreement with one of Ye’s lieutenants – Chi Ping Patrick Ho – for a $1 million legal retainer on “matters related to US law and advice”; Ho has since been convicted of bribery in a U.S. court.
- Hunter Biden still has a 10 percent stake in the Chinese equity firm BHR Partners.
BIDEN: “What I’d make China do is play by the international rules.”
FACT: Biden has a history of being soft on China.
- Biden has spent his entire career in Washington as weak on China, bowing to their demands and enabling China’s rise.
- In 2000, Biden voted to give China most favored nation trade status, a decision that ultimately killed 2 million U.S. jobs.
- Biden has said “China is not our enemy,” a rising China is an “incredibly positive development” for the U.S. and the world, and said “it is in our self-interest that China continue to prosper.”
BIDEN: “When I met with Xi when I was still Vice President he said we are setting up air identification zones in the South China Sea, you can’t fly through them. I said we are going to fly through them. We just flew B-52 – B1 bombers through it.”
FACT: The Trump Administration, not the Obama-Biden Administration, flew B-1 bombers through China’s air defense identification zone.
- In March 2017, the United States flew a B-1 bomber through China’s self-declared air defense identification zone.
BIDEN: “[President Trump’s] never come up with a [health care] plan.”
FACT: President Trump has a health care plan.
- On September 24, President Trump unveiled his America First Health Care plan, outlining the key policies and reforms the President supports, including protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- In August, President Trump released his second term agenda, which includes health care as a central focus.
BIDEN: “There’s no way he can protect pre-existing conditions, none, zero.”
FACT: President Trump has fought and vowed to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- President Trump has repeatedly said he will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- This month, President Trump signed an executive order ensuring pre-existing conditions will be protected.
- President Trump has made protecting “all pre-existing conditions” a key point in his second term agenda.
- The Obamacare repeal and replace bills that Republicans in Congress supported, such as the American Health Care Act and Graham-Cassidy, included protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- If Obamacare is struck down, President Trump has promised to pass and support a replacement that includes pre-existing condition protections.
BIDEN: “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan.”
FACT: Biden’s government-run health plan would crowd out the private insurance that Americans rely on, and Biden broke the same promise when he was Vice President.
- Biden is campaigning on a healthcare agenda that would cancel health plans, raise taxes, skyrocket premiums, jeopardize rural hospitals, and bring America closer to a disastrous government-run healthcare system.
- The public option championed by Joe Biden will jeopardize the private insurance plans held by millions of Americans, a fact that President Obama himself acknowledged in 2009.
- Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber authored multiple studies confirming that a public option would crowd out private health insurance plans: “if the Democrats are right…it’ll wipe out the private choice,” Gruber once said.
- The Obama-Biden Administration previously earned the “Lie of the Year” for making the same promise when they passed Obamacare.
- Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, has openly said she supports eliminating private insurance.
BIDEN: “I guess we are going to get the pre-existing condition plan the same time we get the infrastructure plan that we’ve waited since ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20.”
FACT: President Trump released an infrastructure plan more than two years ago, and has repeatedly called on Congress to invest trillions in our infrastructure and included proposals in his budget to do just that.
- In February 2018, President Trump unveiled a plan to spur $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending.
- The President included his infrastructure plan in both his FY 2019 and his FY 2020 budgets.
- While President Trump is ready, willing, and able to act; Congress has failed to heed this call.
- In his most recent budget, President Trump again called for rebuilding our infrastructure, proposing $1 trillion in direct federal investment to rebuild and modernize American infrastructure.
- In March 2020, President Trump continued to push for infrastructure funding, calling for a $2 trillion infrastructure package as part of the phase four coronavirus response.
BIDEN: “Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan nor did they under Obamacare.”
FACT: 4 million Americans lost their health insurance in the first year of Obamacare’s rollout.
- In 2013, PolitiFact rated the claim that you can keep your healthcare plan under Obamacare as the “lie of the year.”
BIDEN: “[President Trump] hasn’t done a thing for anybody on health care. Not a thing.”
FACT: This is completely false. President Trump is fighting to ensure the American people have access to affordable, world-class healthcare.
- The Trump Administration has taken numerous actions to increase choice and competition in health care to bring down costs, saving Americans billions of dollars.
- The Trump Administration has expanded the use of short-term, limited-duration health insurance (STLD) plans, expanded access to Association Health Plans (AHPs), and expanded Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).
- President Trump has also repeatedly made it clear that he will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- President Trump recently signed an executive order making it the official policy of the federal government.
- President Trump has made “cover all pre-existing conditions” a key point in his second term agenda.
- President Trump is working to protect the most vulnerable in our healthcare system, including by signing historic Right to Try legislation, giving terminally ill patients hope and the ability to try new experimental drugs.
BIDEN: “This is the guy that the actuary of Medicare said if, in fact, of Social Security, if, in fact, he continues to withhold – his plan to withhold the tax on Social Security, Social Security will be bankrupt in – by 2023, with no way to make up for it.”
FACT: This attack from Biden is false and has previously been debunked by fact checkers. The President’s payroll tax deferral will not harm Social Security.
- The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave Biden’s attack “Four Pinocchios,” saying Biden and other “Democrats ginned up a letter from [Social Security’s] chief actuary to describe a plan that does not currently exist.”
- FactCheck.org and USA Today have debunked this and similar claims from Biden’s campaign and his allies.
- President Trump has said he wants to make the payroll tax deferral permanent next year, making this deferral a cut “without in any way, shape, or form hurting Social Security.”
- The President has said he would use the Treasury Department’s general fund to reimburse Social Security’s trust fund, ensuring zero impact on our nation’s seniors.
- Biden’s attack is not only false, it is hypocritical.
- In 2011, Biden wrote an op-ed touting a bill Obama signed to cut the payroll tax, specifically saying it was “misinformation” to suggest a payroll tax cut hurt Social Security’s solvency.
- President Trump has promised to always protect Social Security, unlike Biden who bragged in the 1990s about his efforts to “freeze” benefits.
BIDEN: “This is the guy who’s tried to cut Medicare.”
FACT: The Washington Post Fact Checker previously gave Biden two Pinocchios for making this claim.
- This is part of Biden’s attempt to scare seniors and distract from his own record of trying to cut Social Security and Medicare.
- President Trump has repeatedly promised to protect Social Security and Medicare. He has made it clear he will always fight to protect Americans’ hard-earned retirement benefits.
BIDEN: “Where I come from in Scranton and Claymont, the people don’t live off of the stock market.”
FACT: A majority of the American people own stock either directly or indirectly, meaning they are helped by a stronger stock market.
- According to the Federal Reserve, a majority of Americans – 53 percent – directly and indirectly own stocks.
- 55 percent of Americans polled by Gallup say they have money invested in the stock market.
- Under President Trump, a higher stock market has led to higher retirement account balances for America’s seniors and those planning for retirement.
- Joe and Jill Biden own stocks through mutual funds and a variable annuity, meaning Biden himself has benefitted from the higher stock market.
BIDEN: “But these guys will not help them, not giving them any of the [PPP] money.”
FACT: President Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) saved 51 million jobs.
- Joe Biden has lied for months, falsely claiming the President’s Paycheck Protection Program wasn’t working. He supported delaying additional funding and even urged surrogates to lie about the program’s success.
- The Paycheck Protection Program has provided $525 billion to over 5.2 million U.S. businesses, protecting more than 51 million jobs.
- President Trump ensured that $30 billion of the Paycheck Protection Program was reserved for small financial institutions serving minority communities.
BIDEN: “We did not separate [families at the border]”
FACT: The Obama-Biden Administration separated families at the border.
- Obama-Biden Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he couldn’t say that family separations “never happened.”
- Therese Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the Obama-Biden administration “did separate some families.”
BIDEN: “You know my daughter is a social worker.”
FACT: Ashley Biden has not been a social worker for more than 8 years.
- Ashley Biden has not been a social worker since she left Delaware’s Department Of Services For Children, Youth and Their Families.
- In 2012, Ashley Biden became the Executive Director of the Delaware Center Of Justice which was an “advocacy” organization in which she served as an administrator, not a social worker.
TRUMP: “You mean the laptop is now another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?” BIDEN: “That’s exactly what – that’s exactly what we’re told.”
FACT: The Director of National Intelligence, Department of Justice, and FBI all agree that Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of a foreign disinformation campaign.
- Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that the emails and documents found on Hunter Biden’s laptop are not connected to Russian disinformation.
- Justice Department officials agree with DNI Ratcliffe’s assessment.
BIDEN: “38,000 prisoners were released from federal prison. We had — there were over 1,000 people who were given clemency.”
FACT: Biden is off by nearly a factor of 20; less than 2,000 petitions for pardons and commutations were approved under the Obama-Biden administration.
- Under the eight years of the Obama-Biden Administration, 1,927 petitions for pardons and commutations were approved
- Nearly 20,500 petitions for clemency were denied.
- Among those given clemency by the Obama-Biden Administration were terrorist bomber Oscar Lopez Rivera and national security leaker Chelsea Manning.
- By comparison, the First Step Act – signed by President Trump – is reuniting more families than Obama-Biden clemencies ever did:
- More than 3,400 prisoners have had their sentences reduced under the First Step Act.
- More than 1,700 prisoners have seen compassionate releases or reduction in sentences.
- More than 1,000 elderly prisoners have been granted home confinement.
- Biden was the “architect” of mass incarceration that put countless black Americans behind bars for nonviolent crimes.
- Biden repeatedly bragged that his name was on “every major crime bill” that Congress passed.
TRUMP: “I just asked, I just asked one question. Why didn’t you do it in the eight years, a short time ago? Why didn’t you do it?…” BIDEN: “We had a Republican congress. That’s the answer.”
FACT: The Democratic Party had full control of both houses of Congress during the first two years of the Obama-Biden Administration, yet they failed to pass criminal justice reform.
- From 2009 to 2011, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.
BIDEN: “Four more years of this man eliminating all the regulations that were put in by us to clean up the climate, to clean up, to limit the emissions will put us in a position where we’re going to be in real trouble.”
FACT: President Trump has taken action to preserve our climate and ensure that every American has access to the most pristine water and the cleanest air.
- In 2019, the United States led the entire world in reducing CO2 emissions.
- Under President Trump, emissions of all key air pollutants have dropped, including emissions of carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide.
- The Trump Administration has invested over $38 billion in clean water infrastructure.
- President Trump’s EPA has cleaned up 109 bodies of water and awarded $20 billion for more than 4,500 clean water projects.
- The EPA has cleaned up the largest number of superfund pollution sites since 2001, and is forcing the biggest polluters to pay more than ever before for cleanups.
BIDEN: “And right now, by the way, Wall Street firm (Moody’s) has indicated that my plan, my plan will in fact create 18.6 million jobs, 7 million more than his.”
FACT: The outfit Biden cited – Moody’s – has a history of drastically underestimating the positive effects of President Trump’s economic policies.
- In 2016, Moody’s estimated then-candidate Trump’s economic plans would lead to higher unemployment rates under every scenario; in fact, the unemployment rate fell to a half-century low under President Trump before the pandemic hit.
- Moody’s drastically underestimated job growth and the increase in the stock market under Trump.
BIDEN: “I have never said I oppose fracking.”
FACT: Biden has repeatedly expressed his support for banning fracking, wiping out fracking jobs, and eliminating the fossil fuel industry.
- Biden admitted during a debate last year there would be “no place” for fossil fuels, including fracking, in a Biden presidency, and that fossil fuels would be “eliminated.”
- Biden agreed with a supporter in January that fracking needed to be stopped.
- Biden said in February that he wants to “phase out” oil and gas.
- In March, Biden exclaimed “so am I!” after Bernie Sanders said he was campaigning on “stopping fracking as soon as we possibly can.”
- Last year, Biden pledged to a supporter that he would “end” fossil fuels.
- Biden said he would “sacrifice” “hundreds of thousands” of oil and gas jobs in pursuit of his anti-energy agenda.
- Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, wants to eliminate all fracking, saying “there’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.”
BIDEN: “The guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me.”
FACT: There is no evidence President Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden for the purpose of benefiting him in the 2020 election.
- Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified that she had no evidence that President Trump bribed anyone in Ukraine.
- Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, insisted that he faced “no blackmail” from President Trump in their phone call.
BIDEN: “My response is he is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China…”
FACT: Biden accused President Trump of “hysterical xenophobia” the same day the Trump Administration announced its travel ban; as the timeline makes clear, Biden was talking about the China travel ban.
- On January 31, Biden accused President Trump of “hysterical xenophobia.”
- Biden was speaking at 4 p.m. in Iowa that day, just after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar officially announced the China travel ban and hours after reports emerged that the travel ban would be announced.
- On March 26, Biden’s campaign again declined to endorse the China travel ban when asked by The Washington Post about his stance.
- Biden refused to endorse the China travel ban until April 3, more than two months after it was announced.
WELKER: “There have been questions about the work your son has done in China and for a Ukrainian energy company when you were Vice President. In retrospect, was anything about those relationships inappropriate or unethical?” BIDEN: “Nothing was unethical.”
FACT: Multiple State Department officials expressed alarm about Hunter Biden’s job with Burisma and the potential for a conflict-of-interest.
- Congresswoman Elise Stefanik: “Joe Biden is lying to the American people. Every single witness during impeachment hearings testified that Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma was a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. I know. Because I asked each and every one.”
- State Department official Amos Hochstein confirmed Joe Biden told Hunter about conflict of interest concerns Hochstein had raised surrounding Burisma.
- Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent acknowledged there was a “conflict of interest” with Hunter Biden and Burisma.
- Russia & Europe Adviser to Vice President Pence Jennifer Williams agreed that there was a conflict of interest between Hunter Biden and Burisma.
BIDEN: “He has caused the deficit with China to go up not down, with China, up not down.”
FACT: The trade deficit with China is falling and “fell sharply” in 2019.
- PolitiFact rated Biden’s claim “mostly false.”
- The Washington Post: “This is wrong.”
- FactCheck.org: “Biden wrongly claimed that the United States has ‘a higher deficit with China…’”
- Los Angeles Times: “No, the trade deficit with China isn’t higher now.”
- The New York Times: “This is false.”
BIDEN: “Schools, they need a lot of money to open. They need to deal with ventilation systems, they need to deal with smaller classes, more teachers, more pods. And he’s refused to support that money, or at least up to now.”
FACT: President Trump has publicly supported another coronavirus relief bill.
- Last week, President Trump has expressed support for a bigger relief bill.
- President Trump has repeatedly tweeted in support of a stimulus package, saying he is “ready to sign.”
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