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Campaign Press Release - Correct The Record: Fact Checking Biden's ABC Town Hall

October 16, 2020

In front of Pennsylvania voters tonight, Biden repeated debunked claims and lied about his record.

BIDEN: "I suggested we, in fact, ask to have access to the source of the problem [China]. And the best of our knowledge Trump never pushed that."

FACT: Days after the coronavirus emerged in early January, the Trump Administration tried to get American officials into China; Biden didn't call for sending experts into China until February 25, 50 days later.

  • This often repeated claim by Biden has been repeatedly debunked by fact-checkers.
  • The Washington Post fact checker gave Biden's claim three Pinocchios.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield offered to send CDC experts to China as early as January 4, and the issue was raised multiple times by Administration officials in the weeks after.
  • President Trump himself personally raised the issue in a call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
  • Meanwhile Biden did not call on China to admit U.S. experts until February 25, after U.S. officials were already on the ground.

BIDEN: "Then I wrote a piece in March about what I thought we should be doing to take hold of this using the, there's an act that was passed a long time ago that allows the President to go into a business and say stop making this and start making that. And, it took a long time for him to even institute that to get ventilators and so on."

FACT: The "that" Biden could not name is the Defense Production Act, a law that he called for using only after President Trump had already used it.

  • Biden first called for using the Defense Production Act on March 18, after President Trump had already invoked the law.
  • The Washington Post: "The earliest we can find that Biden called for invoking the DPA was March 18, in a news release... Biden's statement came just minutes after Trump first said he would invoke the DPA."
  • PolitiFact: "A full 18 days before Biden made his first public comment on the act, Trump's Health and Human Services secretary had publicly floated the idea"

BIDEN:"Most scientists say it is not likely to have a vaccine that would be available until the beginning of next year into the, into the spring of next year."

FACT: Both the CDC and Dr. Fauci have said a vaccine is possible before the end of the year.

  • In September, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he believes a "safe and effective" vaccine will be available by the end of the year.
  • Just two days ago, 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."

BIDEN: "There should be a plan. When we have the vaccine, how do we distribute it?"

FACT: The Trump Administration has laid out a detailed vaccine distribution strategy.

VOTER:"You stated that anyone making less than $400,000 will not see one single penny of their taxes raised" BIDEN: "That's right."

FACT: Biden's $4 trillion tax hike will raise taxes on 82 percent of Americans, including those making under $400,000.

BIDEN: "Moody's did an analysis. Of my detailed analysis of my tax plan and my economic plan. They said I will in four years – Moody's, Wall Street – said I will create 18.6 million new jobs. Good paying jobs. Number one. Number two, and I'll inc- and the GDP will grow by a trillion dollars more than it would under Trump. And 7 million more jobs than under Trump."

FACT: The outfit Biden cited – Moody's – has a history of drastically underestimating the positive effects of President Trump's economic policies.

BIDEN: "He talks about a V-shaped recovery. It's a K-shaped recovery. If you're on the top you're going to do very well. And the other thing I'm co—and if you're in the bottom, if you're in the middle or the bottom, your income is coming down."

FACT: President Trump is leading an unprecedented economic recovery that is benefitting all Americans.

BIDEN: "Under [President Trump's] trade policy, a lot of [jobs are] going overseas. You get a benefit from going overseas."

FACT: Fact checkers have previously debunked Biden's claim, saying President Trump's tax cuts are "believed to have broadly reduced incentives to invest overseas."

  • One recent study found the Trump tax cuts were "largely effective" at making it less attractive for U.S. companies to invest offshore.
  • Since the tax cuts took effect, U.S. companies have brought back more than $1 trillion they were holding overseas.
  • President Trump's second term agenda includes prohibiting businesses from replacing U.S. workers with lower-cost foreign workers, creating "Made in America" tax credits, and cutting taxes to keep jobs in the U.S.

BIDEN: "The crime bill itself did not have mandatory sentences."

FACT: The 1994 crime bill that Biden authored included a "three strikes" provision that led to mandatory life sentences.

BIDEN: "My reading online, what the judge [Amy Coney Barrett] said, was she didn't answer very many questions at all, and I don't even think she has laid out much a judicial philosophy..."

FACT: Judge Amy Coney Barrett answered roughly 18 hours of questions in her hearings and laid out her judicial philosophy as a strong originalist who interprets the Constitution "as law."

  • Judge Barrett answered tough questions from the Senate Judicial Committee for nearly 18 hours over the course of two days.
  • Judge Barrett described her originalist judicial philosophy that follows in the spirit of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia by saying: "I interpret the Constitution as a law."

BIDEN: "I made a mistake of teaching constitutional law for 21 years."

FACT: Biden was never a full-time teacher, and as an adjunct professor he was overpaid and frequently missed classes.

  • Biden received a healthy stipend to be an adjunct professor at Widener University, yet starting in 2003 Biden only taught the class about half the time.
  • Despite his teaching time getting cut in half, Biden's stipend for the job did not decline, leading to him being overpaid compared to Widener's other adjunct professors.
  • When Biden was later "employed" by the University of Pennsylvania as a "professor," he held a vaguely defined role that involved no regular classes.
  • In Biden's two years at Penn, he took more than $900,000 in teaching fees.

STEPANOPOULOS: "But don't voters have a right to know where you stand [on court packing]?" BIDEN: "They do have a right to know where I stand and they'll have a right to know where I stand before they vote" STEPHNOPOUOS: "So you'll come out with a clear position before election day?" BIDEN: "Yes, depending on how they handle this."

FACT: Biden has refused to directly tell the American people whether he supports court packing.

  • On October 10, Biden said the American people "don't deserve" to know whether or not he supports packing the Supreme Court.
  • On October 12, Biden said he will the American people know his opinion on Court packing "when the election is over."
  • On September 21, Biden refused to say whether or not he would expand the size of the Supreme Court by adding more justices.

BIDEN: "I make it clear I do not propose banning 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, Harris, wants to eliminate all fracking, saying "there's no question I'm in favor of banning fracking."

BIDEN: "There are over – well over 100,000 wells that are left uncapped in the region. We could hire 128,000 of these people who are working in the industry to cap these wells and get a good salary doing it now."

FACT: There is no independent estimate to support Biden's claim, with studies showing such a policy would create only 10 to 20 percent as many jobs as Biden says nationwide, not in Pennsylvania alone.

  • A study by Columbia University and Resources for the Future found that plugging "orphaned" wells in the U.S. would only create 13,500 jobs nationwide for just one year.
  • The study found the average cost of creating each one of those jobs would be between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • The left-wing Center for American Progress estimated that plugging abandoned wells would create at most 24,000 jobs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: "Sir, are you for it or against it? You say you're not for it, but in your website, it says you call it a crucial framework. The Green New Deal." BIDEN: "My deal is a crucial framework. But not the New Green Deal. The New Green Deal calls for elimination of all, all non-renewable energy by 2030. You can't get there."

FACT: Biden's website calls the Green New Deal a "crucial framework."

  • Biden's website: "Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face."
  • Biden has embraced the framework of the Green New Deal, with his own plans adopting "the rhetoric" and "many of the actual policy proposals" put forward in the original Green New Deal.
  • In September, Biden admitted he is "not opposed to the Green New Deal."
  • "There is no middle ground about my [climate] plan," Biden bragged during a Democrat debate.

BIDEN: "I tell you, boilermakers overwhelmingly endorse me."

FACT: Pittsburgh's Boilermakers Local 154 – representing 2,500 active and retired members in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – endorsed President Trump for re-election.

BIDEN: "You can ban chokeholds, you can — but beyond that, you have to teach people how to de-escalate circumstances. De-escalate. So, instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg."

FACT: Police have said Biden's idea to shoot suspects "in the leg" – which he has previously suggested – is "indecipherable" and uninformed.

STEPHANOPOLOUS: "Was it a mistake to support [the 1994 crime bill]?" BIDEN: "Yes, it was."

FACT: Joe Biden's own campaign contradicted Biden, and said he was calling it a "mistake" to support a 1986 crime bill.

  • Biden campaign policy director, Stef Feldman, said that he was actually talking about a different bill, the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act.

BIDEN: "And then what happened was, when the first round of money for unemployment, enhanced unemployment went by, he didn't do anything. He didn't do anything."

FACT: Even CNN admitted this statement is "false,"saying "the day after" Democrats in Congress failed to act, he took action to bolster unemployment insurance.

  • On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order to provide an additional $400 a week in expanded unemployment benefits.
  • The effort provided unemployed Americans in 49 states and the District of Columbia with these funds for up to six weeks, and the money has already been fully distributed in many states.

BIDEN: "Before I came up here, I took another test. I've been taking them every day."

FACT: Biden's own campaign says he has been taking a test every other day.

  • Despite the coronavirus being present in the United States for months, as late as July 28 Biden had not yet been tested for coronavirus.
  • In the past, Biden declined to specify whether he was being tested daily, saying only that he was being tested "regularly."
  • Recently, Biden has been tested every other day based on test results disclosed by the campaign.

BIDEN: "They have more people there [Afghanistan] now, by the way, than when we left."

FACT: This is false; there are currently less troops in Afghanistan than there were at the end of the Obama Administration.

  • At the end of the Obama Administration there were at least 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.
  • Under President Trump, troops in Afghanistan have been drawn down to about 5,000.
  • By early next year, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien announced that the United States will cut its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500.

BIDEN: "You have Americans, bounties on American military's heads in Afghanistan."

FACT: Top military and intelligence officials have strongly emphasized that the reporting of bounties is 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.

Donald J. Trump, Campaign Press Release - Correct The Record: Fact Checking Biden's ABC Town Hall Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345536

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