“Avalanche of lies”: American fact-checkers have a great deal of debate between Trump and Biden


If you were an American fact-checker on duty last night (Belgian time), you didn’t have to wait for the start of the debate between US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to get started.

Unfounded rumors had already circulated on social media in advance, the website Factcheck.org reported, about Biden receiving the moderator’s questions in advance, for example. Or that he would wear an earpiece with which he would be whispered answers, and that he would have refused to be checked. There is no evidence for any of those allegations.

But also during the debate itself, both presidential candidates proclaimed untruths. Daniel Dale, fact checker for the news channel CNN, emphasized that it was mainly current President Donald Trump who indulged in “an avalanche of lies”, in contrast to “several false statements” by Joe Biden. The Associated Press news agency called it “a deluge of fabrications” from within the Trump camp, while The New York Times simply said “lies” that contributed to the chaotic course of the debate.

But what did Trump and Biden say, and where did they twist the truth?

No, voting by PO Box will not lead to electoral fraud

Although untruths were proclaimed throughout the debate, the worst venom was in his tail. It debated postal voting and the legitimacy of the elections.

President Trump has been trying to create the image for several months now “mail-in ballots”postal voting will lead to massive fraud and an unreliable election result. The social networking platforms Twitter and Facebook have in the past affixed warning labels to such claims that Trump spread.

Still, Trump echoed those claims during the debate. Among other things, he said that postmen in West Virginia have sold ballot papers, that 30 to 40 percent of ballots are lost in the mail, or that Republican election observers in Philadelphia have been falsely rejected. All these claims are either misleading or blatantly untrue, news channels CBS News and CNN know.

No, Biden’s son was not dishonorable discharged from the military

Also notable: President Trump’s personal attacks on Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s second son. For example, Trump alleged that Hunter fired Biden dishonorably (“dishonourably discharged”) was from the United States military. That’s not right, the news site Heavy.com points out: Hunter Biden was fired, but not dishonorable.

Biden’s son passed a positive drug test in June 2013, a month after becoming an officer in the United States Navy. Allegedly for cocaine use. He was administratively fired for this in February 2014. No dishonorable dismissal, therefore. This only follows serious crimes such as murder, rape, treason or espionage. This was not the case in Hunter Biden’s case. During the debate, Biden did acknowledge his son’s past drug problems.

There is no evidence that Hunter Biden received any money from the Moscow mayor

Another one: Trump repeatedly claimed during the debate that Hunter Biden “received $ 3.5 million from the wife of the mayor of Moscow.” For the time being, there is no evidence for that allegation, says the website Politifact.

Where does that claim come from? From a recent report by some Republican senators. That report says that Elena Baturina, the wife of the then Moscow mayor, made a payment in 2014 to Rosemont Seneca Thornton, of which Hunter Biden is said to be a co-founder. Although Hunter Biden effectively co-founded the investment company Rosement Seneca, it is not certain that he is also Rosemont Seneca Thornton. After all, the latter forms a separate partnership. Biden’s lawyer denies his involvement in the payment. Moreover, the senate report nowhere states that the $ 3.5 million had flowed into Hunter Biden’s personal account.

No, Biden has never called black Americans super predators

The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) also fueled the debate. Trump claimed that Biden was black Americans “superpredators” when he defended a harsh crime law in 1994. But that claim deserves some nuance. Although Biden did indeed speak at the time “predators” (“Predators”), he was referring to criminals in general — and not specifically black American criminals. CBS News therefore calls Trump’s claim “largely incorrect”.

Incidentally, Hillary described Clinton, then First Lady, in 1996 also youth gangs with the word “super predators”. The Politifact website knows this. Clinton apologized for this when, in 2016, as a Democratic presidential candidate, she was confronted with that statement … by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

No, the Portland Sheriff does not support Trump

Still in the context of Black Lives Matter, President Trump claimed that the sheriff of the city of Portland supported him in his candidacy. In that city, skirmishes still take place daily between BLM supporters, police and counter demonstrators. However, the sheriff of Multnumah County, of which Portland is a part, promptly denied that himself on Twitter.

No, violent crime did not increase under Trump

Biden, on the other hand, argued that crime increased by violence during Trump’s first term, unlike the years under Obama when Biden was himself vice president. While it’s true that crime rates fell under part of the Obama-Biden rule, NBC News points out that there has been more of a stabilization under Trump, with the exception of murder rates which did go up.

No, American citizens would not have to give up their private insurance under Biden

Trump claimed that Biden’s health care plan would result in 180 million Americans no longer being able to keep their private insurers. That is not correct, points out CNN. According to Biden’s draft plan, US citizens can keep their private insurer if they wish.

No, 308,000 Obama and Biden veterans did not die from inadequate health care

Trump also claimed that 308,000 veterans died during Biden’s term as vice president from 2009 to 2017. According to the incumbent US president, the Veterans Affairs Department was so backlogged that it was unable to provide veterans with the necessary health care.

Where does he get that figure from? From a 2015 report, it seems. It mentions 307,000 overdue applications for assistance at the Department by applicants who have since died. CNN clarifies that that report, however, says nothing about the actual cause of those deaths. In addition, CBS knows, most of the deaths in question date back to before Obama and Biden’s tenure.

No, the US trade deficit with China and Mexico has not increased

During the debate, Joe Biden argued that the US trade deficit with China and Mexico, say the ratio of US imports from and exports to those countries, had been increased by the new deals Trump has made with those countries as president. That’s not right, says NBC News: The deficit with China has narrowed significantly since Trump took the oath, which has fluctuated with Mexico in recent years.

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