Fact-Checking Top 10 Claims From the Final Presidential Debate
Here are the top 10 fact-checked claims from the last presidential debate on Oct. 22.
“We’re in a situation where there are a thousand deaths a day, now…And there are over 70,000 new cases a day.”
-According to a Statista report updated on Nov. 1, the average deaths a day from COVID-19 is not by the thousands as Biden claimed. Instead, they state that the deaths per day on average is around 906 people since the first case was confirmed in the country on January 20.
-The report not only includes the deaths from COVID, but also includes informational background on the deaths from the seasonal flu, which has commonly been compared to COVID-19. They state, “The daily death toll from seasonal flu, using preliminary maximum estimates from the 2019-2020 influenza season, is an average of almost 332 people. Based on the latest information, more than one in ten deaths each day can be attributed to COVID-19 since January 20th.”
-Although the deaths per day may not be in the thousands, according to a New York Times database, more than 70,450 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Oct. 20th. This new number is the highest recorded figure since July 24 states a New York Times Article.
“Not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare, they did not lose their insurance, unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.” – Joe Biden
-According to a Forbes breakdown of the Affordable Care Act, a study conducted by the RAND Corporation in 2015 stated that 5.9 million Americans lost their insurance coverage between September 2013 to February 2015.
-The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a healthcare reform policy enacted in March 2010 by the Obama Administration. Under the ACA the three primary goals were to: make universal healthcare insurance that would be both affordable and accessible to the average American, expand the Medicaid program especially to cover all adults that had federal poverty level incomes, and push for innovative medical care delivery methods.
-While the ACA was successful in helping some, it brought on a lot of insurance issues for already existing health care plans. According to Ballotpedia, during October 2013 many Americans who had been previously insured by the individual market received letters from their insurance carriers. These letters stated that their insurance carriers would be canceling their plan at the end of their policy term, due to not being able to meet new minimum coverage that the ACA had put into place.
-”Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law,” according to a 2013 NBC investigation.
“He started off his campaign coming down the escalator saying he’s going to get rid of those Mexican rapists. He’s banned Muslims because they’re Muslims.”
-What Biden refers to in his first comment is President Trump’s campaign launch speech from 2015.
-The full context to Trump’s statement regarding rapists: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
-Trump did not use the term “Mexican rapist” within his campaign launch speech, nor did he say that he was going to “get rid” of them.
-The second comment Biden makes regarding race is Trump’s 2017 executive order, Protecting the Nation from Forgein Terrorist Entry into the United States, or politically known as the Muslim Ban. On January 27th, an executive order was signed to halt all refugee admissions and temporarily bar people from several Muslim-majority countries.
-The order brought suspension to the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, with an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. Along with that, there was a 90-day ban on citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
-Discussion of the travel ban began after a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. where Donald Trump called for, “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
-While Trump’s executive order differs, the travel part of it does align with the same seven countries that were targeted from a law known as Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which was signed by Obama in 2015.
-“The order does not specifically bar Muslims. It applies only to citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Those seven countries have only 12 percent of the world’s Muslims and Muslims from other countries can still enter the United States,” states Politifact on the issue.
“I never said I oppose fracking.”
-Probably one of the most controversial comments of the night from the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. While his campaign’s written plan is to solely ban new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters, that’s not exactly what he has stated on tape over the past year.
-On July 31, 2019, at the second Democratic Primary Debate, Biden was asked “would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration,” and his Review was, “No, we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those. Either –– any fossil fuel.”
-In the 11th Democratic debate, Biden and Bernie Sanders went toe to toe on many topics, but most importantly climate change. When challenged by Sanders stating, “I’m talking about stopping fracking, as soon as we possibly can…no if’s, and’s, but’s or maybe’s about it,” Biden’s Review was, “So am I….No more, no new fracking.”
-During a 2019 New Hampsire campaign event Biden publicly stated to a questioner, “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.”
-Biden was confronted by protestors asking about fossil fuels during another New Hampshire campaign event in February of this year. Biden responded by saying, ”we are going to get rid of fossil fuels, folks…they want to do the same thing I want to do. They want to phase out fossil fuels, and we’re going to phase out fossil fuels.”
-During the second and final Presidential debate Trump challenged Biden by asking, “would you close down the oil industry,” and Biden’s response was, “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.” He later stated that the reason for closing the oil industry is due to the pollution it causes –– eventually over time being replaced with renewable energy.
“The federal prison system was reduced by 38,000 people under our [Obama] administration.”
–According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, it displayed the federal prison population dropping from a count of 217,815 at the end of 2012 to 179,898 people by the end of 2018. While the decrease is in fact 38,000 people, it is taking account almost two years into Trump’s presidency.
-What the actual numbers show under the Obama administration is a decrease of 12,000 prisoners. Politifact states “The same Bureau of Justice Statistics data shows that there were 201,280 prisoners in federal custody on Dec. 31, 2008, nearly one month before Obama’s inauguration. There were 189,192 by the same day in 2016, with less than a month left in Obama’s second term.”
“If you notice the [COVID-19] mortality rate is down 85%.”
-While the mortality rate may be on a decline, it is not down 85% according to the data. A recent article from Scriberr stated that, By studying thousands of hospitalized patients who were exposed to COVID-19 from March to August, the result showed the mortality rate decreased from 25.6% to 7.6%, Leora Horwitz, the health expert from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and author of one of the studies, told NPR.”
-Another recent study conducted by John Hopkins estimates the mortality rate is down at 2.5%.
“He’s been in government 47 years. He never did a thing, except in 1994, when he did such harm to the Black community. And they were called, and he called them ‘super predators.’ And he said that. He said it, ‘super predators.’ And they have never lived that down.”
–While Joe Biden has used the word ‘predators’ in reference to the 1993 Crime Bill and at a conference speech in 1998, he has not used the word ‘super predators’ specifically.
-In 1998, footage of Biden can be seen from an Attorneys General Conference speech with him stating, “There’s about a 100,000 of them if you want to be rhetorically extreme about it, who are the predators. There’s 100,000 real bad apples out there. A 100,000 of the kids you read about on the front page of the newspaper every day.”
-The second footage found is from November 1993, where Biden speaks on the Senate floor in support of the Crime Bill. Biden states, “We should focus on them now. Not out of liberal instinct for love, brother and humanity –– although I think that’s a good instinct. But for simple pragmatic reasons. If we don’t, they will –– or a portion of them will –– become the predators 15 years from now. And madame president we have predators on our streets. That society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created.”
-According to a Reuters fact-checking article, the context of which Biden speaks from in both clips does not specifically mention the Black community like Trump suggests. Although there is an obvious connection in regards to the Crime Bill (which disproportionately affected the Black community), it was instead Hilary Clinton who used the term ‘super predators’ in regards to minorities.
“Joe got $3.5 million from Russia, and it came through Putin because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. And you got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million. And, you know, someday you’re going to have to explain why did you get $3.5 [million].”
–According to a report issued by the U.S. Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees, it claims that Hunter Biden allegedly had international transactions with the former mayor of Moscow’s wife.
-“Rosemont Seneca Thornton, an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden, received $3.5 million in a wire transfer from Elena Baturina, who allegedly received illegal construction contracts from her husband, the former mayor of Moscow,” the report states.
-While there are no other sources that back these claims besides the Republican committee, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, responded to the accusations. According to an email response to Politifact, Mesires said, “Hunter Biden had no interest in and was not a co-founder of Rosemont Seneca Thornton, so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false.”
-Although Hunter biden did co-found a firm by the name of Rosemont Seneca in 2009, the add on of Thornton partnership could have allowed the firm (discussed in the report) to possibly have been created by another business partner. As Politifact states though, “Without the ownership documents of Rosemont Seneca Thornton — which are not public — we simply can’t know.”
“They keep talking about $750, which I think is a filing fee. … Tens of millions of dollars (in income taxes) I prepaid.”
-Although there has yet to have been a solid source to go on record to back the original New York Times article accusing President Trump of paying $750 for his taxes in 2016 and 2017, AP Fact Check article stated that the IRS “does not charge taxpayers a filing fee.”
-In regards to his filing fee comment, there is no evidence to support that such a fee exists. But it is still unclear if what the president has stated about his taxes is true or not until his tax returns are officially released.
“Less than 1% of the people involved in catch and release come back to their trial.”
-According to the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, they reported that within the second quarter of this year, only 53% of removal order cases were absent at their hearings. This would mean that 47% attended their court case.
-The study found that over the last 15 years “[f]amily members released from custody attended all of their hearings in 86% of cases” and for nonfamilies it slightly lowered to 81%. For families seeking asylum the study found that the court hearing attendance jumped to 96%.
-Unless the data has drastically changed within the last two years, to claim less than 1% of people involved in catch and release do not attend their trial is not supported by evidence.