Fact Checks ☑️
Posts Misquote Biden on Section 8 Housing
Facebook posts falsely claim that at his Oct. 15 town hall event, former Vice President Joe Biden said he grew up in Section 8 housing. Biden actually said he lived in a building which “became Section 8 housing much later.”

The girl in this outdated missing person’s alert was murdered six years ago
A recent post appealing for help to find a missing child pictured wearing a blue top and white shorts has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. However, the appeal is outdated; the girl in the picture went missing in 2014 in the US state of Alabama, and was later found dead. The image was used by her family in posters alerting the public to her disappearance.

Trump on the Stump
Forty-six false and misleading claims the president has made at recent rallies.

COVID-19 Pandemic

  • #1: Not ‘Rounding the Turn’ on COVID-19
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Oct. 12 that the U.S. is “on a trajectory of getting worse” and recommended that the public continue to practice simple public health measures, including physical distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds.
  • #2: ‘Unscientific Lockdowns’
    Contrary to supporting an “unscientific lockdown,” Biden said he would “listen to the scientists” if they recommended another shutdown.
  • #3: Travel Restrictions
    Trump did not “lock down” travel from China. Contrary to Trump’s claim that “nobody acted fast like I did” with travel restrictions on China, a country-by-country analysis by Think Global Health, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations, shows that 36 countries imposed travel restrictions, including the U.S., by Feb. 2.
  • #4: Face Masks
    The CDC tweeted on Oct. 14, “Much evidence shows wearing masks in public reduces transmission by blocking exhaled respiratory droplets.”
  • #5: Fauci’s Not a Democrat
    The longtime NIAID director he is not registered with any political party, confirmed through District of Columbia voter registration records. Fauci has “served in his current role under Democratic and Republican U.S. presidents going back to the Reagan administration.”
  • #6: Misquoting Fauci
    Fauci said in a Feb. 29 interview on NBC’s “Today” show that “right now at this moment” the risk was “low” and there was “no need” for people “to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.” But he added that “this could change,” that people needed to be wary of “community spread,” and that it could develop into a “major outbreak.”
  • #7: COVID-19 Immunity
    Scientists don’t know how long immunity might last, but experts never thought it would be lifelong, as no other human coronavirus infection provides such durable immunity. The CDC recommends that even those who have had COVID-19 continue to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including hand washing, mask wearing and physical distancing.

    It’s impossible to know whether Trump has immunity.
  • #8: ‘Saved’ Millions of Lives
    The 2.2 million figure was a projection for what could happen in “the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour.” It therefore was never meant to be taken as a literal yardstick of a country’s performance.

    The U.S.’s record is in fact quite poor. According to figures assembled by Johns Hopkins University as of Oct. 21, America has the 11th highest per capita COVID-19 death rate out of nearly 170 nations.
  • #9: Availability of COVID-19 ‘Cures’
    The antibody drug Trump was given, which is made by the biotech company Regeneron, is still in clinical trials, and has not yet been shown to be effective against the coronavirus.
  • #10: Declining Fatality Rate
    There is no “cure” for COVID-19 and the treatments he cites are only a part of the reason.

    Experts say part — if not most — of the decline can be explained by increased testing and a shift toward younger people catching the coronavirus.
  • #11: China Stopped Virus Spread in China
    China did not stop the coronavirus from spreading from Wuhan, where it originated, to other parts of China.

    The number of reported cases and deaths in China’s major cities outside Wuhan have been far lower than the numbers in many European and American cities, but China also took extreme measures to slow the spread of the disease that the U.S. did not.
  • #12 WHO and Lockdowns
    The U.N. health agency has never recommended lockdowns as the primary strategy to control the virus — although it recognizes that in some cases they may be needed. Moreover, neither WHO representative specifically referenced Trump.
  • #13: States Not Closed
    Trump falsely claimed that the state of Michigan is closed and attacked the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

    Trump has also singled out Pennsylvania, as he did in his speech in Georgia, falsely claiming the state is still closed.

Economy

  • #14: ‘Greatest Economy’
    The economy has gone through many periods of more robust growth than it has under the Trump administration. The real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product, or GDP, grew 2.2% last year — down from 3% in 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It grew faster — 3.1% — in 2015, which was Obama’s best year. Over the last 39 years — dating to Ronald Reagan’s presidency — the nation’s real economic growth has exceeded Trump’s peak year of 3% 17 times.
  • #15: Coal Miners
    Coal mining jobs have declined by 6,400, or nearly 13%, during Trump’s time in office. Nearly 600 mining jobs were lost in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, with lower natural gas prices one of the factors affecting the industry.
  • #16 Auto Plants
    Trump has frequently exaggerated his success in attracting new auto plants to Michigan. General Motors built a light vehicle assembly plant in Lansing Delta Township, completed in 2006. And auto plants are not popping up all over the state.
  • #17: Manufacturing Jobs
    The country added 475,000 manufacturing jobs — not the 600,000 cited by Trump — during his first three years in office. But this year the number has declined sharply, and as of September there were 164,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than when Trump took office.

Domestic Affairs

  • #18: Biden Tax Plan
    Biden has not said he will terminate all of the Trump tax cuts, only the cuts for those making more than $400,000 a year.

    The most recent estimate (issued Oct. 15) by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, for example, calculates that the net result of all Biden’s tax proposals would be, on average, an increase in after-tax income (in effect, a tax cut) for the bottom 80% of households, with the top one-tenth of 1% of earners bearing 70% of Biden’s proposed tax increases.

    Biden also proposes to expand child care tax credits up to $8,000 for low-and middle-income families.
  • #19: Private Insurance
    Biden’s plan includes a Medicare-style public option as a choice, but also increases tax credits for individuals purchasing their own insurance.

    Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance, Biden has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate.
  • #20: Guns
    Biden has advocated a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for ammunition — not a ban on all guns — and he has said he wouldn’t confiscate assault weapons or high-capacity magazines that had already been purchased legally.
  • #21: Biden and Law Enforcement
    “There’s systemic injustice in this country. In education, in work and in law enforcement and the way in which it’s enforced. But look, the vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women,” Biden said. “They risk their lives every day to take care of us. But there are some bad apples. And when they occur, when they find them, they have to be sorted out. They have to be held accountable.”
  • #22: Charter Schools
    Biden opposes federal funding for schools managed by for-profit companies, which make up only about 10% of charter schools.

    Biden opposes vouchers for private school tuition — the ultimate in school choice for some — he does not oppose students choosing between public schools, magnet schools and high-performing charter schools.
  • #23: Restoring Order in Minneapolis
    No calls from Trump were necessary. The local officials acted on their own and promptly to summon help.
  • #24: Highway Approvals
    Although there have been outliers, the median wait time to get permit approval has never been nearly as high as the president claimed.
  • #25: The Suburbs
    HUD made clear it “does not impose any land use decisions or zoning laws on any local government.” The rule changed the way jurisdictions that receive HUD funding develop and report plans to address fair housing issues in their communities.
  • #26: Veterans Choice
    For two years, Trump has been spreading a bogus tale that he was responsible for enacting legislation to create the Veterans Choice program, when, in fact, that legislation was signed by Obama in 2014.
  • #27: Biden and Social Security
    Biden has proposed a plan that would increase revenue for Social Security by eliminating the payroll tax cap and expand benefits for some of the oldest seniors.

    Biden’s proposals would improve financial security for many older adults and people with disabilities and close about a quarter of Social Security’s long-term financial shortfall.
  • #28: ‘Defunding’ Police
    Biden supports more funding for police for initiatives to strengthen community relationships and for body-worn cameras.
  • #29: Biden and Puerto Rico Pharmaceutical Companies
    The island’s drug manufacturing industry has not been “shut down.”
  • #30: Support From Women
    Trump got only 41% of the female vote, according to the exit polls. Trump received 52% of the white women vote. But Trump received much lower percentages from minority groups, including Black women (4%), Latino women (25%) and other races (31%).

Energy

  • #31: Energy Independence
    The Energy Information Administration said it was the first time the U.S. produced more energy than it consumed since 1957.
  • #32: Fracking
    The Biden plan says he’d ban “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.” That wouldn’t prohibit fracking under existing permits or in non-federal areas — where most crude oil and natural gas is produced.
  • #33: ‘Clean Coal’
    Coal itself is not “clean,” although there are technologies that can make coal cleaner to burn. The only technique that substantially lowers coal’s carbon dioxide emissions is carbon capture and sequestration (or storage), or CCS. The method prevents CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, but the technology is expensive and is not yet widespread.

Immigration

  • #34: Open Borders
    There’s no doubt Biden supports a less restrictive immigration policy than the one championed by Trump. But that’s not the same as eliminating the border.
  • #35: Border Wall
    371 miles of barriers have been erected as of Oct. 19. But according to the latest data provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, only 15 miles of that is new primary fencing where none previously existed.
  • #36: Deporting Criminals
    Biden has pledged to halt deportations for 100 days and deport only felons after that.
  • #37: Catch and Release
    Biden’s plan calls for ending “prolonged detention” for those who cross the border illegally and instead using “proven alternatives to detention and non-profit case management programs, which support migrants as they navigate their legal obligations” as “the best way to ensure that they attend all required immigration appointments.” He also supports an end to for-profit detention centers.
  • #38: Health Care for Immigrants
    Biden has said immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be able to buy plans, not get them for free.

Foreign Policy

  • #39: Nobel Peace Prize
    Trump wasn’t nominated for three Nobel Prizes; he was nominated by three people for the same prize. And it’s not the big deal Trump makes it out to be.
  • #40: Iran Nuclear Deal
    The nuclear deal with Iran did lift a freeze on Iran’s assets that were held largely in foreign, not U.S., banks. And, to be clear, that money belonged to Iran. Secondly, $150 billion is a high-end estimate. The U.S. Treasury Department estimated the number at about $50 billion in “usable liquid assets.”

    The $1.8 billion in cash that Trump mentioned is from an unrelated settlement reached by the Obama administration to resolve a dispute that dates to 1979, when Iran paid the U.S. $400 million for military equipment it never received.
  • #41: Russia Investigation
    There was ample evidence to justify opening an investigation, and the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General report on the origins of the investigation found no evidence of illegal “spying” — either before or after the FBI opened the investigation.
  • #42: NATO
    European NATO allies are estimated to have increased their collective defense spending by $130 billion from 2016 to 2020 — not per year. And $400 billion is how much more they are projected to spend combined by the end of 2024 — not annually. What those nations spend is not a “bill” or direct payment to NATO, but rather their own defense spending.
  • #43: ISIS
    About half of the territory held by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had been regained under Obama.

Personal Attacks on Biden

  • #44: Ukraine
    Biden traveled to Kyiv as vice president and warned Ukraine’s then-president, Petro Poroshenko, that the U.S. would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees until Ukraine removed its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. But Biden didn’t go rogue, and it wasn’t a “quid pro quo,” as Trump often has claimed. Biden was carrying out the Obama administration’s policy to address corruption in Ukraine. The international community and anti-corruption advocates in Ukraine were also calling for Shokin to be removed from office for his failure to prosecute corruption.
  • #45: Biden’s Income
    In August 2019, Forbes estimated that Biden and his wife, Jill, were worth $9 million. The magazine said their wealth included two Delaware homes valued at $4 million combined (including a vacation house in Rehoboth, Delaware), cash and investments worth around $4 million, and a federal pension worth more than $1 million.

    There is no evidence Biden earned money through any kind of corruption. He has had some lucrative years in the private sector after serving in the Senate and as vice president.
  • #46: Biden ‘Abandoned’ Scranton
    Delaware is the state Biden represented in the U.S. Senate for 36 years, and it’s where he has lived even longer. But even after Biden’s family moved, he continued to have a relationship with the city and state where he was born.

Bogus Claims of Debate Moderator Bias
A tabloid story alleging that Kristen Welker, moderator of the final presidential debate, is politically biased has spawned several falsehoods on social media. Welker hasn’t donated to any federal candidates, and she wasn’t “busted” for revealing a question to the Clinton campaign in 2016.

Bacterial pneumonia, a complication of influenza, not linked to mask wearing
A claim posted on Twitter says that most deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic originated from bacterial pneumonia caused by face masks and that Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top expert in the fight against Covid-19, knew about it. This is false; the 2008 study referred to in the tweet, and which Fauci co-authored, aimed to help plan for future pandemics and made no link to mask-wearing.