Fact check at Biden’s CNN town hall in Baltimore

Biden made some false claims, as well as other claims that could have used additional context.

Here’s a fact-check of some of his mayoral claims from Thursday.

A student asked Biden, “Considering that your campaign is almost a year old, why haven’t you gone to the southern border of our country?”

After Biden answered another immigration question from the student but ignored this one, Cooper followed up. Biden then replied, “I’ve been there before, and I haven’t – I mean, I know that. I guess I should get down. But the – but the bottom line is, I didn’t. not had a long time to come down. ”

Biden explained that he spent time inspecting hurricane damage and “traveling the world,” then added, “But I predict – now my wife, Jill, is down. been on both sides of the river.She’s seen the circumstances there.

The facts first: Biden’s claims need context. Jill Biden’s last visit at the border, it was in December 2019, during the presidential campaign, not as first lady. Additionally, Biden was not clear on what he was referring to when he said he had “been there before.” The Washington Post and one NBC News reporter noted on Friday that Biden’s motorcade briefly drove near the border on a campaign trip in 2008 – on its way from an airport in the border town of El Paso, Texas, to a campaign rally in a town in New Mexico which is located just under an hour from the border. CNN could not immediately find evidence of a specific visit by Biden, for example, to a border facility or to U.S. personnel stationed at the border.

The White House did not respond to CNN’s request for details of Biden’s remark. But if he was indeed talking about the motorcade trip in 2008, which the Post said hugged the border “for a few minutes”, he certainly could have explained that he was referring to a passing moment instead. than a kind of deliberate migration linked to migration. Stop.

Biden’s subject visiting the southern border appeared at a press briefing in September by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. When a Fox News reporter asked if Biden had been to the border, Psaki said, “I’m going to have to look in my history books and check the times he’s been to the southern border.” When the reporter said he had not uncovered any evidence of Biden’s visit at any time, Psaki softened his language, saying: “I can check and see when the last time or when he maybe has it. summer.”

Two days later, when the reporter asked why Biden had “never” visited the southern border, Psaki did not dispute the claim, instead saying that Biden believed “the most constructive role we can play is to help move immigration reform forward, helping reform the shattered policies of recent years and listening to his team of advisers, who have been to the border several times, on what should look like the path to follow.”

Although Biden mentioned overseas travel as one of the reasons he hasn’t gone to the border as president to date, he’s only made one overseas trip. during the first nine months of his tenure in the era of the pandemic – a June trip to Europe. He is scheduled for another trip to Europe next weekend for a G20 summit and a United Nations climate conference.

Tax rates

After he was demand Asked about taxes on the rich, Biden said that under “this current tax code, the top tax rate is 35%.”
The facts first: Biden was wrong. The highest marginal rate is actually 37%; 35% is the second highest marginal rate. The 37% rate affects single taxpayers with taxable income greater than $ 523,600 and married couples filing jointly with taxable income greater than $ 628,300. The 35 percent rate affects people with taxable income over $ 209,425 and married spousal filers with income over $ 418,850.

Vaccination

Biden said: “When I was first elected there were only 2 million people who had received Covid vaccines in the United States of America – had the vaccine. Now we have 190. millions, because I went out and bought everything I could do and buy in sight, and it worked. “

The facts first: Biden’s claim of “2 million people” was inaccurate no matter how you analyze it – lightly if you decide to be charitable, far otherwise. Additionally, Biden has given too much credit to his own administration’s vaccine purchases. The Trump administration bought enough vaccine doses To fully immunize at least a large percentage of the 190 million people who have rreceived two shots at the present time.
Let us first consider the issue of credit. According to Government Accountability Office, a non-congressional watchdog, “As of December 31, 2020, the government had at least 800 million doses of the vaccine under contract that are expected to be delivered by July 31, 2021, pending any issues with clinical trials, (emergency use authorization) issuance, or other factors. ” This included 200 million doses of each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that would prove to be by far the most popular with Americans. In addition, the Trump-era contracts with Pfizer and Moderna gave the United States the ability to purchase hundreds of millions of additional doses.
Even with millions of wasted doses after delivery, contracts signed during the Trump presidency covered, at a minimum, a large majority of people who have been vaccinated so far.
Biden is free to boast that his administration’s own actions have allowed more people to get vaccinated than under a Trump administration whose response to the pandemic has been widely criticized. When asked about Biden’s request, a White House official noted on Friday that the Biden administration had purchased additional doses in January and again in the summer, and that the administration had used the Defense Production Act to allow Pfizer to ” accelerate its vaccine manufacturing by gaining easier access to essential supplies. he had struggled to get it.

This is all fair enough. But Biden was still hyperbolic here giving credit only to his own purchases.

Now let’s move on to Biden’s claim that “only 2 million people” were vaccinated against Covid when he was first elected.

Obviously, only the small number of Americans who participated in clinical trials had received Covid-19 vaccines when Biden was elected in November, since public vaccinations started in december. But even if we take a look at the situation when Biden first took office on January 20, his claim that ‘there were only 2 million people who received Covid injections’ is at least a little incorrect. .
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 18 million people in the United States had received at least one injection at the time. But Biden did say “shots,” plural, and he compared that figure to the current figure of 190 million fully vaccinated Americans, so he was probably referring, imprecisely, to the number of people fully vaccinated at the start of this year. his presidency.

Even then, however, current CDC data indicates that 3.4 million people were fully vaccinated on January 20. Biden might have thought of the January 20 reports, based on CDC data available at the time, which put the number at around 2 million, but CDC numbers are updated over time as more more and more information is coming in and vaccinations are being attributed to the date they actually took place instead of the date they were reported.

Vaccination sites

Biden said that “there are currently over 800,000 sites in America where you can get the vaccine.”

The facts first: It’s wrong; Biden added an extra zero. The White House official said Biden meant 80,000 vaccination sites, the number he has used it several times before.

Fox and vaccinations

Speaking to the right-wing Fox News television station, Biden asked, “Do you realize they are forcing the vaccinations?”

The facts first: It needs context. Fox Corp., which owns Fox News, has a stricter Covid-19 vaccination policy than what Biden plans to impose on many U.S. companies – and Fox News hosts, like CNN journalists and others have describe Biden’s policy as a “mandate”. However, it is important to note that Fox Corp. does not actually require employees to be vaccinated. On the contrary, in September note, Fox Corp. announced that it would require unvaccinated employees to be tested daily.
In other words, the Fox policy is described more fully as a mandate for vaccination or testing. However, we can’t be too hard on Biden to describe it as a vaccination warrant given that his own planned vaccination or testing mandate – which he says will require companies with 100 or more employees to do so. ensure their workers are either vaccinated or get tested at least once a week – is also commonly described, on Fox and elsewhere, as a warrant for vaccination.

Biden’s job record

Biden said, “We have created more jobs in the first eight months of my administration than any president in American history.”

The facts first: It is true, but the circumstances of Biden’s first eight months are so different from the circumstances that have greeted all other newly-elected modern presidents that meaningful direct comparison is indeed impossible. Biden took office less than a year after the economy cut more than 22 million jobs in two months because of the pandemic. Even with the employment rebound that began in May 2020, the United States still has about 5 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. In other words, the earnings of the Biden era – an average of over 600,000 jobs added per month from February to September – still fill the giant pandemic hole.

Biden is free, of course, to say he’s doing a good job of filling that hole. But his president-versus-president boasting must be viewed with contextual caution.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.


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