Presidential debate: Trump and Biden’s claims verified

Image source, AFP

President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden clashed in the first of three televised debates ahead of the US election in November.

For 90 stormy minutes, the nominees clashed over everything from the state of the economy to handling the coronavirus pandemic. Reality Check has decrypted some of their claims.

Trump: “We have built the largest economy in history”

Verdict: It’s not fair – there were times in US history when the economy was stronger.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump claimed to have generated historic economic growth.

It’s true that the economy was doing well before the pandemic – continuing a trend that started under the Obama administration – but there have been times when it was much stronger.

Biden: “We have 4% of the world’s population, [but] 20% of deaths “

Verdict: It’s about correct. But looking at coronavirus deaths per capita, there are a number of countries that are worse than the United States.

Mr Biden criticized President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response.

According to the figures, his demand is about right. America’s population is approximately 328 million, or just over 4% of the world’s 7.7 billion people.

Image source, Reuters

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, 205,942 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the United States. The total number of registered deaths worldwide is 1,004,808.

On this metric, the United States accounts for about 20% of Covid-19 deaths globally, although the way countries record their numbers varies widely.

Country with the highest number of deaths per capita due to Covid-19.  For 100,000 people.  Main countries, except Andorra and San Marino.  Data as of October 22.

Trump: increase in ballots will lead to ‘fraud like you’ve never seen’

Verdict: Studies have found no evidence of widespread fraud, although there have been isolated cases.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large chunk of American voters are expected to use postal voting in this year’s election.

The president has repeatedly warned that this will lead to widespread fraud.

There have been isolated cases of fraud, including recent examples in North Carolina and New Jersey.

Image source, Reuters

In September, the US Department of Justice released a statement on an incident in Pennsylvania in which “nine military ballots were rejected” and said seven of them “were cast for Presidential candidate Donald Trump “.

But despite such incidents, numerous studies have found no evidence of major and widespread fraud.

The overall rate of voter fraud in the United States is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Biden: “100 million people [in the US] have pre-existing conditions “

Verdict: There is no definitive answer to this.

Applicants clashed over the number of people in the United States with pre-existing health conditions, which may prevent some Americans from being covered by private medical insurers.

Mr Biden said there were 100 million people with pre-existing conditions, but President Trump said that number was “totally false.”

So how many are there? There is no definitive answer.

According to the US government’s Department of Health and Human Services, between 50 and 129 million non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health problem.

Other organizations have different estimates. The Center for American Progress estimates it is higher, at 135 million people under 65.

Trump: “We are weeks away from a vaccine”

Verdict: There is a “very, very low chance” that an approved vaccine will be ready by the end of October, said the chief scientific adviser of the US vaccination program.

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, has predicted that the United States will know if it has a safe and effective vaccine by November or December of this year.

He told a Senate committee hearing this month that there could be enough doses for every American by April.

Biden: ‘Manufacturing went into a hole’ before coronavirus

Verdict: This is not true, according to the numbers.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden suggested that even before Covid-19, “manufacturing went into a hole.”

But before the outbreak, President Trump created nearly half a million manufacturing jobs in his first three years in office.

Trump: “The Portland Sheriff just stepped out today and said ‘I support President Trump'”

Verdict: this is not true. The Multnomah County Sheriff, which includes the city of Portland, says that is not true.

In defending his approach to tackling protests in U.S. cities, Mr. Trump said he had received broad support from law enforcement groups.

He claimed that included the sheriff in charge of law enforcement in Portland, who has become a flashpoint for protests against police brutality and racism in recent months.

Multnomah Country Sheriff Mike Reese quickly denied this on Twitter: “I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.See the original tweet on Twitter

Trump: Biden once called African Americans “super-predators”

Verdict: this is not true. He used the word “predators” but did not use it to refer to African Americans.

In 1993, Mr. Biden warned against “predators in our streets“during a speech before a vote on the Key Crime Bill in Congress.

There was no specific mention of African Americans, but the crime bill was later criticized for increasing mass incarceration that has disproportionately affected African American men.

The term “super-predator” was used by Hillary Clinton in 1996 to support the controversial bill.

Mrs Clinton said: “We have to face these people. They are often linked to big drug cartels, they are not just child gangs anymore. They are often the kind of children that are called super-predators. – no awareness, no empathy. “

Biden: “Trump didn’t cut drug prices for anyone”

Verdict: The average monthly prescription drug cost declined slightly over the year until August 2019, although it then increased again.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) – which measures the cost of household items in the United States – the average monthly cost of prescription drugs fell 0.3% over the past year. year until August 2019.

This was the first 12-month price drop since 1973. While average drug prices rose 1.5% in the following year, under President Trump, average increases fell. been lower than those of President Obama.

The CPI is not necessarily the most reliable way to measure drug prices, as it primarily includes widely used drugs, which are generally cheaper. It is less likely to include newer or less prescribed drugs, which are more expensive and have higher price increases.

Trump: “Hunter [Biden] was expelled from the army. He was … dismissed without honor … for using cocaine. “

Verdict: Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s second son, was dismissed from his Navy post after failing a drug test, but not in a dishonorable way.

President Trump referred to Hunter in an exchange about Beau, the eldest son of Joe Biden, who served in the U.S. military and died of cancer in 2015.

Mr Biden replied that it was not true that Hunter had been dismissed without honor.

Hunter Biden was fired from the US Navy in 2014, and media reported at the time said a Navy drug test detected the presence of cocaine.

However, he was not dishonorably removed from his post, which is the highest level of punishment the military can inflict.

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