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FACT FOCUS: Here’s a look at some of the false claims made during Biden and Trump’s first debate

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump exchanged barbs and various false and misleading information as they faced off in their first debate of the 2024 election.

Trump wrongly portrayed the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as a relatively small number of people brought in by police and misjudged the strength of the economy during his administration.

Biden, who tends to rely more on exaggerations and embellishments rather than outright lies, misrepresented the cost of insulin and overstated what Trump said about using disinfectants to treat Covid. Here's a look at the candidates' false and misleading claims Thursday night.

January. 6

TRUMP: “This is a relatively small number of people who went to the Capitol and in many cases were let in by the police. »

THE FACTS: This is not true. The attack on the U.S. Capitol was the deadliest attack on the seat of American power in more than 200 years. As was meticulously documented by video, photographs and bystanders, thousands of people descended on the Capitol in what became a brutal scene of hand-to-hand combat with police.

In an internal memo dated March 7, 2023, U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said the assertion that "our officers assisted the rioters and served as tour guides" is “scandalous and false”. A Capitol Police spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the memo to The Associated Press. More than 1,400 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riots. More than 850 people have pleaded guilty to crimes and 200 others have been convicted at trial.

Trump, on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's actions on January 6: "Because I offered her 10,000 troops or the National Guard and she refused. »

THE FACTS: Pelosi did not lead the National Guard. Additionally, when the Capitol was attacked, she and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested military assistance, including from the National Guard.

The Capitol Police Board decides whether to call National Guard troops to the Capitol. It is composed of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Council, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol. The council decided not to call in the guard before the rebellion, but ultimately called for help after the riot began, and troops arrived several hours later.

The House Sergeant-at-Arms briefed Pelosi and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms briefed McConnell. There is no evidence that Pelosi or McConnell ordered security officials not to call the guard in advance. Drew Hammill, Pelosi's then-spokesman, said after the insurrection that Pelosi was never informed of such a request.

Taxes and regulations

Trump on Biden: “He wants to raise your taxes four times”

THE FACTS: This is not accurate.

Trump has used this phrase during campaign rallies, but it has no basis in reality. Biden actually wants to prevent tax increases on anyone making less than $400,000, the vast majority of taxpayers.

More importantly, Biden's budget proposal does not raise taxes as much as Trump claims, even though those increases are focused on corporations and the wealthy. The individual tax cuts enacted by Trump in 2017 are set to expire after 2025 because they were not fully funded when they took effect.

Trump, referring to January 6, 2021, the day a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden's victory: "On January 6, we had the lowest taxes ever seen. On January 6, we had the lowest regulations ever.

THE FACTS: The current federal income tax was not imposed until 1913, and tax rates have fluctuated widely in the decades since. Rates were lower in the 1920s, just before the Great Depression. Trump did cut taxes during his tenure in the White House, but the rates were not the lowest in history.

Government regulations have also ebbed and flowed throughout the country's history, but there has been a general increase in regulations as the country modernizes and its population grows. There are now numerous regulations covering the environment, employment, financial transactions and other aspects of daily life. Even though Trump removed some regulations, he did not bring back country when regulations were less regulated.


Biden: “It’s $15 for an insulin injection, compared to $400. »

THE FACTS: No, that’s not entirely true. The out-of-pocket costs of insulin for older Americans on Medicare were set at $35 in the 2022 inflation reduction bill that President Joe Biden signed into law. The limit took effect last year, when several drugmakers announced they would drop the price of the drug to $35 for most users with private insurance. But Biden regularly overestimates that many people were paying as much as $400 a month. A Department of Health and Human Services study released in December 2022 found that people with diabetes on Medicare or private insurance paid about $450 a year before the law was passed.


Climate change

Touting his environmental record, Trump said that “in my four years in office, I have achieved the best environmental record ever” and that he supported “clean” air and water.

The Facts: That’s not the whole story. During his presidency, Trump rolled back some provisions of the Clean Water Act, eased regulations on coal, oil and gas companies, and withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement. When wildfires hit California in 2020, Trump rejected the scientific consensus that climate change played a role. Trump has also rejected scientists' warnings about climate change and has regularly proposed deep budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. These cuts were blocked by Democratic and Republican lawmakers.



Trump: “The problem they have is they are extremists because they kill a child in the eighth month, in the ninth month, even after birth, after birth. »

THE FACTS: Trump incorrectly referred to postpartum abortions. Infanticide is a crime in every state, and no state has passed a law allowing the killing of a child after birth.

Abortion rights advocates say terms like these and “late-term abortion” attempt to stigmatize abortions later in pregnancy. Miscarriages later in pregnancy are extremely rare. In 2020, less than 1% of abortions in the United States were performed at or after 21 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical experts say late-term abortions during pregnancy are usually the result of serious complications, such as fetal abnormalities, that endanger the life of the woman or fetus. In most cases, these are also wanted pregnancies, experts say.



Trump told Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovitch, detained in Russia: "He should have gotten him out a long time ago, but Putin is probably asking for billions and billions of dollars because this guy pays for them every time." »

THE FACTS: Trump is wrong that Biden pays fees “every time” to secure the release of hostages and wrongfully detained Americans. There is also no evidence that Putin is demanding money for Gershkovitch's release. As under the Trump administration, deals under the Biden administration that brought hostages and detainees home involved prisoner exchanges — not financial transfers.

Trump's reference to money appears to be linked to the 2023 deal in which the United States secured the release of five Americans detained in Iran after billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets were transferred from banks in South Korea to Qatar. The United States said the funds would be held in restricted accounts and could only be used for humanitarian goods, such as medicine and food.



Biden: Trump asked Americans to 'inject bleach' into their arms to treat Corona virus.

THE FACTS: This is an exaggeration. Trump even asked if it was possible to inject disinfectant into the lungs.

“Then I see the disinfectant, and it deactivates in a minute,” he said at a press conference in April 2020. “And is there a way to do something like that , by injection inside or almost by flushing, because you see that it enters the lungs and it creates a massive effect on the lungs, so that would be interesting to check, so with which one would have to consult the doctors, but that seems interesting to me, we'll see, but the whole concept of light, and the way it kills it in ne minute, is very powerful.


Super predators

Trump: “What he did to black people is terrible, including calling them 'super predators' for 10 years. "...We can't forget that - the super predators...and they felt very humiliated by that.

THE FACTS: This repeated assertion by Trump dating back to the 2020 campaign is false. It was Hillary Clinton, then First Lady, who used the term “super predator” to defend the 1994 crime bill, co-authored by Biden more than three decades ago. Biden warned of “predators” in a speech supporting his bill.



Trump, referring to Biden: “He is the one who killed people with bad borders and drowned hundreds of thousands of people dying and also kills our citizens when they come. »

THE FACTS: The massive influx of immigrants entering the United States illegally through the southern border has resulted in a number of false and misleading claims by Trump. For example, it is regularly claimed that other countries are emptying their prisons and psychiatric institutions to send them to the United States. There is no evidence to support this.

Trump also said that the influx of immigrants was causing an increase in crime in the United States, even though statistics actually show that violent crime is declining.

Recently, heinous and heinous crimes have allegedly been committed illegally by residents of the country. But FBI statistics do not break down crimes by the offender's immigration status, and there is no evidence of a higher rate of crimes committed by immigrants either along the border between United States and Mexico or in cities with the greatest influx of immigrants, such as New York. . Studies have shown that people living in the country illegally are less likely to be arrested for violent, drug and property crimes than Native Americans. For more than a century, critics of immigration have sought to associate newcomers with criminality. In 1931, the Wickersham Commission found no evidence supporting a link between immigration and increased crime, and numerous studies since then have reached similar conclusions.

Texas is the only state that tracks crimes by immigration status. A 2020 study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that “criminal arrest rates are much lower” among people living in the United States illegally than among legal or U.S.-born immigrants.

Some crimes are expected to occur due to the large number of immigrants. According to the Pew Research Center's latest estimate, there were about 10.5 million people in the country illegally in 2021, a number that has almost certainly increased with the large flows at the border. In 2022, the Census Bureau estimated the foreign-born population at 46.2 million, or about 14% of the total, and most states have seen a double-digit percentage increase over the past 10 years.



Biden, referring to Trump after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017: “Whoever said I think they're good people on both sides. »

THE FACTS: Trump used these words to describe participants in the deadly protest planned by white nationalists. But as Trump supporters pointed out, he also said that day that he was not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists in attendance.

“There were some very bad people in that group, but there were also some very good people, on both sides,” Trump said at a news conference days after the rally.

He then added that he was not talking about "neo-Nazis and white nationalists, because they should be completely condemned." Instead, he said, the press was unfair in its treatment of demonstrators who were there to innocently and legally protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The planned white nationalist rally shocked the nation when it exploded into chaos: a violent street brawl, racist and anti-Semitic chants, smoke bombs and ultimately a car plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters, leaving one dead and dozens of injured. 


Trump: We had the greatest economy in history.

THE FACTS: This is not accurate. Above all, the pandemic triggered a massive recession during his presidency. The government borrowed $3.1 trillion in 2020 to stabilize the economy. Trump was mortified to leave the White House with fewer jobs than when he arrived.

But even excluding the problems caused by the pandemic, economic growth averaged 2.67% during Trump's first three years. It's very powerful. But that figure is nowhere near the 4 percent average during Bill Clinton's two terms, from 1993 to 2001, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In fact, growth has been stronger so far under Biden than under Trump.

Trump's unemployment rate had reached 3.5% before the pandemic. But again, the labor force participation rate of people aged 25 to 54 – the core of the American workforce – was higher under Clinton. Turnout was also higher under Biden than under Trump.

Trump also likes to talk about how low inflation has been under his presidency. Gasoline prices fell to $1.77 per gallon. But, of course, this drop in prices happened during the pandemic lockdowns, when few people were driving. The price drop was due to the global health crisis and not Trump's policies.

Similarly, average 30-year mortgage interest rates fell to 2.65% during the pandemic. Those lower rates were a byproduct of the Fed's efforts to prop up a weak economy, not a sign of the strength Trump now suggests.


Military deaths

BIDEN: The truth is, I'm the only president in this century who has never seen soldiers die anywhere in the world like him.

THE FACTS: At least 16 service members have been killed in hostilities since Biden took office in January 2021. On August 26, 2021, 13 were killed in a suicide attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan, during the withdrawal of American forces. from Afghanistan. Country. An enemy drone killed three US service members at a desert base in Jordan on January 28 this year.


Presidential file

Biden: “159, or 58, they don’t know a precise number. Presidential historians held meetings and voted on who is the worst president in American history... They said he was the worst in all of American history. It's the truth. “It’s not a guess.”

THE FACTS: It's almost true, but not quite. The survey in question, a project led by professors at the University of Houston and Coastal Carolina University, included 154 usable responses, from 525 participants invited to participate.


George Floyd protests

Trump on Minneapolis protests after George Floyd killing: If I hadn't brought in the National Guard, this city would have been destroyed

THE FACTS: Trump did not call the National Guard to Minneapolis during the unrest following the death of George Floyd. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz deployed the National Guard to the city.


Associated Press writers Josh Bock, Elliot Spagat, Eric Tucker, Ali Swenson, Christina Cassidy, Amanda Seitz, Stephen Groves, David Klepper, Melissa Goldin and Hope Yen contributed to this report.


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