Fact Checks ☑️
Donald Trump’s economic record as US president
Donald Trump said during the first US presidential debate with Joe Biden that his administration “built the greatest economy in history,” a statement he has often made to support his case for a second term in the White House.

The president’s record on the economy has been diminished by the devastating fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Polls, however, tend to remain positive for him when voters are asked who they trust more to create jobs and economic growth.

This sentiment stems from Trump’s career as a businessman, an early tax cut he signed as president and a hitherto strong stock market, which -- on paper at least -- boosts retirement savings. Regardless, Trump’s messaging on the economy is prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.

Trump, Biden trade claims on coronavirus response in first debate
In their first televised debate, Democratic challenger Joe Biden accused US President Donald Trump of concealing the danger posed by the coronavirus and of having no plan to combat it, while the White House incumbent hailed his administration’s response.

FactChecking the First Trump-Biden Debate
  • Trump exaggerated instances of election “fraud,” misleadingly citing ballots “found in a creek” and a case where a thousand voters were mistakenly sent two ballots. Neither is evidence of “fraud.”
  • Trump falsely claimed that Biden supports the Medicare for All plan. He never did.
  • Biden got it wrong when he claimed there was “15% less violence” during his time in office than today. The violent crime rate dropped under Trump.
  • Trump misleadingly claimed people “weren’t allowed to watch” the polls in Philadelphia. Only satellite elections offices, where voters can return mail-in ballots, are open now.
  • Trump claimed he had been endorsed by the sheriff in Portland, which isn’t true, and he suggested that Biden had gotten no support from law enforcement officials, which is false.
  • Biden said billionaires have gotten $300 to $400 billion wealthier during the pandemic, but he is referring to a study that ignored the financial losses by wealthy stockholders early in the pandemic.
  • Trump boasted than he “brought back 700,000 manufacturing jobs,” which was never true. Currently 237,000 have been lost.
  • Trump denied that climate change plays a role in California’s wildfires. Scientists say it’s a contributing factor.
  • Both candidates gave potentially misleading impressions of when Americans can expect a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Biden said 10 million people lost their employer-sponsored insurance during the pandemic, but the study he relies upon also said all but 3.5 million of them would regain insurance from another source.
  • Biden said Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has “written … that she thinks the Affordable Care Act is not constitutional.” Not quite, though she faulted a 2012 opinion upholding the law.
  • Trump claimed that “drug prices will be coming down 80 or 90%.” Actually it’s not clear what the impact of his executive orders will be.
  • Trump said Biden called military members “stupid bastards,” which Biden denied. The vice president did use those words while addressing troops overseas in 2016, but his campaign has said it was in jest.
  • Trump wrongly said Biden “forgot the name” of his college. Biden in 2019 said he “started out of … Delaware State,” but a university official said Biden was referring to announcing his Senate bid on campus.
  • Trump said that he has “given big incentives for electric cars.” He’s actually tried to eliminate programs to encourage their manufacture and sale.
  • Biden falsely claimed that Trump didn’t try to send experts to China early in the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Trump said when Biden was working on the 1994 crime bill, he called African Americans “super-predators.” Actually, that was a phrase famously uttered by Hillary Clinton — not Biden — about some “gangs of kids.”
  • Trump said “I don’t think” Kellyanne Conway, his former White House counselor, said “riots and chaos and violence help his cause,” as Biden claimed. Conway did say something like that.
  • Biden wrongly claimed that the United States has “a higher deficit with China now than we did before” in talking about trade. The deficit is actually lower.
  • Trump claimed that in relaxing the Obama administration’s more stringent fuel economy standards, cars would be $3,500 cheaper. Even going by the administration’s analysis, that’s inflated.

This video shows three clips that have all circulated online in reports about other US fires
A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook alongside a claim it shows fires on the West Coast of the United States on September 26, 2020. The claim is false; the video was created from three separate clips that have all circulated online in reports before September 26, 2020 about other US fires.

These drugs are COVID-19 treatments, not vaccines, and they are available in Western countries
Photos of alleged Covid-19 “vaccines” are being shared on social media with claims that the drugs are not for sale in the US, Canada, and the European Union because they are unsafe and still undergoing testing in developing countries. This is false: these products are not vaccines. They are generic forms of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug recommended for the treatment of Covid-19 and which is sold under a different name in developed markets.

Trump’s executive order on insulin not yet implemented
Claims that the cost of insulin, a lifesaving medicine used to manage diabetes, has fallen dramatically as a direct result of action by President Donald Trump have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. This is misleading; Trump signed an executive order aimed at lowering insulin prices for some in July, but it is not yet affecting drug costs.

Video: The First Debate

  • Trump rattled off supposed instances of election “fraud,” misleadingly citing ballots “found … in creeks” and a case where a thousand voters were mistakenly sent two ballots. Neither is evidence of “fraud.” In the latter example, election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, believe up to 1,000 people who requested mail-in ballots may have gotten two by mistake, but they won’t be able to vote twice.
  • Trump falsely claimed that Biden supports the Medicare for All plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. He never did. Trump wrongly claimed that the two Democrats agreed to it in the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations report.
  • Biden got it wrong when he claimed there was “15% less violence” during his time in office than today. The number of all violent crimes per 100,000 people declined 15.7% during the Obama-Biden years, but the violent crime rate dropped under Trump.
  • Biden wrongly claimed that the United States has “a higher deficit with China now than we did before” in talking about trade. That was the case two years ago, but not now.
  • In lengthy comments about California’s wildfires, Trump was wrong to suggest the fires only occur because of poor management and to suggest that human-sourced greenhouse gases are only a small component of warming.
  • Trump said that he has “given big incentives for electric cars.” He’s actually tried to eliminate two programs to encourage their manufacture and sale.

No Evidence Biden Was ‘Wearing a Wire’ in Debate
Facebook posts baselessly accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of wearing a wire during the first presidential debate. The low-quality videos and photos being cited don’t support that claim.

Biden falsely accused of wearing wire during presidential debate
Social media posts shared thousands of times accuse former vice president Joe Biden of wearing an earpiece to receive instructions from his team during the first presidential debate. This is false; the campaign denied it, and photos allegedly capturing wires related to the earpiece in fact appear to picture a rosary and a crease in his shirt.

CDC did not give contradictory advice on mask use for smoke, Covid-19
Social media posts claim the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contradicted itself by advising people to wear cloth masks against the novel coronavirus while also saying masks do not stop smoke inhalation during a wildfire. These claims are misleading; the agency explained that a mask is recommended to contain respiratory droplets, which are larger than smoke particles.