Fact-checking Joe Biden’s closing arguments

Joe Biden is making his final pitch to Americans, though not all of his statements are factually correct.

Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden disembarks from his campaign plane as he arrives at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, US, October 8, 2020 [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden disembarks from his campaign plane as he arrives at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, US, October 8, 2020 [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

As Donald Trump and Joe Biden make their closing arguments to the American people in the final days of the presidential campaign, both candidates are peppering their remarks with exaggerations and outright falsehoods.

Here are a few of Biden’s misleading statements and some context to help you sort fact from fiction when listening to his speeches.

Supreme Court and healthcare

“It’s about wiping out the Affordable Care Act, to wipe it off the books. Because their nominee has said in the past, that the law should be struck down,” Biden said about Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, during a campaign event in Miramar, Florida on October 13. “That will take away healthcare for 20 million Americans. It will take protections away from pre-existing conditions for more than 100 million people. And by the way, kids won’t be able to stay in their parent’s health insurance until they’re 26.”

In reality, Barrett has never confirmed any hostility towards the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During Barrett’s confirmation hearing, she responded to Democratic Senator Richard Durbin’s question of her opinion saying: “I think that your concern is that because I critiqued the statutory reasoning that I’m hostile to the ACA and because I’m hostile to the ACA that I would decide a case in a particular way … And I assure you I am not – I am not hostile to the ACA, I’m not hostile to any statute that you pass.”

Joe Biden delivers remarks on a Vision for Older Americans event at the Southwest Focal Point Community Center, in Pembroke Pines, Florida, US [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Trump’s handling of coronavirus

“Experts say we’ll lose nearly another 200,000 lives in the next few months unless we fundamentally change courses. You know, I prayed for his recovery when he got COVID and I’d hoped at least he’d come out of it somewhat chastened. But what has he done? He’s just doubled down on the misinformation he did before and making it worse,” Biden said at a campaign event in Pembroke Pines, Florida on October 13.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which only releases monthly forecasts, estimates that COVID-19-related deaths in the United States will reach approximately 5,000 new deaths in the month of October. Other studies, like those of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, predicts 394,693 total deaths by February 2021 – or nearly 200,000 more – if current mandates continue but spikes to nearly 500,000 if the United States sees ease in regulations and overall mask-wearing.

Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at a carpenters union in Phoenix, Arizona, US [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Blue Star families

At an October 8 campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona, Biden said: “They deserve better than a president who will say anything to deflect responsibility for any mistake he makes. I don’t know whether you noticed, he recently said that they asked him where he got the COVID, he said, ‘I probably got it from Blue Star parents.’ They’re people who lost a child in battle. He said, “Because they like to get close to me and hug me. I don’t know how to say no.”

Biden’s delivery implies Trump is blaming his infection on the military families he met. However, Trump did not actually blame them for catching COVID-19 in an interview on Fox Business, he was talking about how as president, he was at a higher risk of exposure because of the number of people he meets.

“I meet a lot of people and I have to. I’m the president of the country … Sometimes I’d be within groups of – for instance, Gold Star families … I met with Gold Star families,” Trump said. “I didn’t want to cancel that. But they all came in and they all talked about their son and daughter and father … And they tell me these stories and I can’t say: ‘Back up, stand 10 feet.’ I just can’t do it.”

President Trump met Gold Star families at the White House prior to testing positive for COVID-19 [Delana Scott/The White House]


“The Trump presidency will be the first presidency since [Herbert] Hoover that is going to end up leaving office with fewer jobs than when he came into office. Since Hoover,” Biden told a crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania on October 10.

At the first presidential debate, Biden originally claimed Trump was the first president ever to leave office with fewer jobs. If the numbers do not improve and Trump loses, it is possible he leaves office in January with a net employment loss.

However, that cannot be backed up factually as employment data was not consistently gathered by the federal government until the 1940s, after Hoover’s presidency, which ended in 1933.

It is also worth pointing out that before the pandemic created a massive loss of jobs across the country, Trump’s employment record put him in the lower tier among US presidents since Harry Truman, but certainly not the lowest.

Violence and Riots

“I know the nation is strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism and strong enough to provide safe streets for our families and our businesses that too often bear the brunt of looting and burning. We have no need for armed militias roaming American streets, and we should have no tolerance for extremist, white supremacist groups marching on our communities,” said Biden at an event in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 12.

There is no question “armed militias” and “extremist, white supremacist” groups have been a significant presence among the protesters in American cities in recent months, but not all of the chaos can be attributed to those groups.

Biden suggests only right-wing armed groups and white supremacist groups are the ones destroying property, using personal firearms, and causing general disorder in major cities. However, there are people who sympathise with the peaceful protesters who have set fires, thrown objects at police and looted businesses, something Biden usually does not mention when talking about violent protests.

Source : Al Jazeera

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