On Tuesday evening, viewers suffered through the first Presidential debate between incumbent Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden. When the petty personal attacks and incessant interruptions finally ended after 90 minutes of agonizing immaturity, the mainstream media quickly rallied to defend their chosen candidate.
As CNN’s Wolf Blitzer decried the “slew of false statements” by President Trump, he was joined by CNN’s “fact checker” Daniel Dale, who described Trump as a “serial liar” and condemned his “avalanche of lying.” While this is hardly surprising, Dale demonstrated his complete disregard for facts when he described the performance of Trump’s opponent, saying “Biden, conversely, made at least a couple of false or misleading claims but, honestly, he was largely accurate.”
“We had an avalanche of lying from President Trump."
CNN’s Daniel Dale breaks down the fact check of the first presidential debate of the 2020 election between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. https://t.co/OyXvJf69k5 pic.twitter.com/xQHYqY5HLL
— CNN (@CNN) September 30, 2020
Any news source with a shred of journalistic integrity or intellectual honesty would question how Dale could conclude that Biden was “largely accurate.” The reality is Biden’s rhetoric was replete with blatant and intentional falsehoods. Here are 14 of the “largely accurate” claims CNN’s “fact-checker” attempted to gloss over, along with a handful of honorable mentions.
1. “Very fine people” on both sides
Biden, once again, repeated what has become the most pervasive lie of recent years about Trump: that he supposedly called the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville “very fine people.”
Tonight, “Moderator” Chris Wallace allowed Joe Biden to repeat the Charlottesville “Very Fine People” Lie unchallenged.
Journalistic Malpractice pic.twitter.com/0gWZl4a9fH
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 30, 2020
This is simply false. On August 15th 2017, President Trump specifically condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists after stating — admittedly inarticulately — that there were fine people on both sides of the debate regarding Confederate statues.
“Neo Nazis and White Nationalists should be condemned, totally.”
— Drew Hernandez (@livesmattershow) September 30, 2020
2. Closing flights from China was “xenophobic”
Debating the efficacy of Trump’s actual COVID-19 response compared to that of Biden’s hypothetical response, Trump described his decision to close down flights from China as a crucial factor in the fight against the pandemic. He then said that Biden defined this decision as “xenophobic,” stating, “But if you look at what we’ve done, I closed it and you said he’s xenophobic…”
President @realDonaldTrump breaks down exactly what his administration has done to save people during the coronavirus pandemic… and points out how Joe Biden called some of those life-saving actions "xenophobic." #Debates2020 #PresidentialDebate pic.twitter.com/Dq0F8ucTE3
— MRCTV (@mrctv) September 30, 2020
Biden seemed to interrupt Trump with “that’s unrelated to your…” It seems fair to assume that Biden was claiming that his accusation of xenophobia was unrelated to his decision to close flights from China. If that is the case, perhaps CNN would take interest in Biden’s tweet from March, which was a direct response to Trump’s statement regarding flight closures?
Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job. https://t.co/nQ5aLVrpyb
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 18, 2020
3. Hunter Biden? “Totally discredited.”
During the debate, Trump attacked Biden on multiple occasions regarding the alleged behavior of his son, Hunter. In response, Biden repeatedly rejected any accusation of impropriety.
President Trump: "While we’re at it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $3.5 millions of dollars. What did he do to deserve it?"
— Cheddar🧀 (@cheddar) September 30, 2020
Trump stated that “Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged.” Biden’s response was “That’s not true, he was not dishonorably discharged.”
Now, Biden is likely technically correct, given that Hunter Biden’s release from the Navy was described as an “administrative discharge,” which covers all forms of discharge including honorable, general (under honorable conditions), other than honorable, or entry-level separation. However, given that Hunter Biden was discharged due to a failed drug test for cocaine, he likely received an “other than honorable discharge,” meaning that both Trump and Biden’s comments “lack context.”
Joe Biden denied any financial impropriety regarding both Hunter Biden’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company and an alleged $3.5 million payment from a Russian billionaire, stating over and over that such accusations had been “totally discredited.” The fact is, however, that this is simply not the case, with an “explosive report” from Senate Republicans released only days ago. Biden even admitted that these “total” denials were provided by reliable sources such as the “media” and “allies.”
4. The military are “losers” and “suckers”
In a familiar pattern, Biden used the death of his son Beau Biden to elicit emotional support and launch an attack against Trump, saying “And speaking of my son, the way you talk about the military, the way you talk about them being losers and being and just being suckers. My son was in Iraq. He spent a year there. He got the Brown Star. He got the Conspicuous Service Medal. He was not a loser. He was a Patriot and the people left behind there were heroes.”
"He wasn't a loser, he was a patriot"
Joe Biden defends his son Beau's record serving in Iraq. pic.twitter.com/kpa4gUMQmE
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) September 30, 2020
This accusation is based on an article by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic titled “Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’.” These claims are based on anonymous sources, and have been vehemently denied by multiple figures who were with Trump at the time, including former national security adviser (and famous critic of Trump) John Bolton. Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders even described the story as “total BS.”
The Atlantic story on @realDonaldTrump is total BS. I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion – this never happened. I have sat in the room when our President called family members after their sons were killed in action and it was heart-wrenching…
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) September 4, 2020
If Biden happily accepts the word of Democratic “allies” as evidence of his son’s innocence, then perhaps eye witness accounts which counter The Atlantic’s story are also relevant? The same could be said for CNN’s Dale.
5. Threatening Ukraine with a billion dollars
Earlier in the debate, Trump hit Biden on the subject of Ukraine, stating “He stood up and threatened Ukraine with a billion dollars,” to which Biden said “That is absolutely not true.” This is, perhaps, the easiest of Biden’s lies to debunk, given that we have clear video evidence of Biden openly boasting that he did just that.
“We leave in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch! He got fired!” Any comment, Dale?
6. “The Green New Deal is not my plan,” but it will “pay for itself”
Trump also pressed Biden hard on his position regarding climate change policies and AOC’s radical, unworkable “Green New Deal.” Biden first denied any connection, saying that “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” Minutes later, he contradicted himself, saying, “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward.” When questioned — albeit notably passively by Chris Wallace — on whether he supports the Green New Deal, Biden then stated “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”
Does Joe Biden know what he's talking about?
Joe Biden: "The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward…"
Chris Wallace: "Do you support the Green New Deal?"
Joe Biden: "No, I don't support the Green New Deal." pic.twitter.com/ampOmwPGTo
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 30, 2020
Biden’s own campaign website includes the line “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the author of The Green New Deal — is also co-chair of a panel advising Joe Biden on climate policy.
7. He didn’t ask Xi to allow experts into Wuhan
Again on the subject of COVID-19, Joe Biden claimed that Trump did not attempt to gain American scientific access to Wuhan.
“He went in and we were insisting that the people we had in the ground in China should be able to go to Wuhan and determine for themselves how dangerous this was. He did not even ask Xi to do that.”
This is false. In reality, there were multiple offers of assistance, with the earliest occurring one week after China reported the outbreak to the World Health Organization.
8. “Antifa is an idea”
One of Biden’s most dangerous statements during the debate came when he attempted to downplay Antifa, a violent anarchist group which Trump hopes to designate as a terror group.
BIDEN: "Antifa is an idea, not an organization."
TRUMP: "Oh, you gotta be kidding me!" pic.twitter.com/CnYbeBpj0j
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 30, 2020
“Antifa is an idea, not an organization.” The victims of violence at the hands of Antifa, such as a man who was beaten unconscious in Portland earlier this year, will be relieved to hear that the fists, feet, and weapons striking them aren’t real. They’re just ideas.
9. There was less violence during the Obama administration
Trying to place the violence sweeping the country on the shoulders of Trump, Biden presented a false picture of times under Obama. “When we were in office there were 15% less violence in America than there is today.”
According to FBI crime statistics, the number of violent crimes in 2016 was 10.3% lower than the number in 2008. Overall, the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people declined by 15.7% during the time Obama and Biden were in office. However, FBI figures indicate that last year’s violent crime rate was 5.1% lower than 2016. 5.1% lower is not 15% higher.
10. Defund the police
When the subject of “law and order” was raised, Biden again attempted to remain on both sides of the issue, saying that he is “totally opposed to defunding the police offices.” When challenged by Trump, who said that Biden “doesn’t have any law support,” Biden exclaimed “That’s not true.”
4️⃣ Joe Biden could not name a single law enforcement group that supports him.
“He’s talking about defunding the police. He has no law enforcement support,” President Trump said.pic.twitter.com/oVHQ0oOWzK
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) September 30, 2020
Yet again, Biden is disagreeing with himself, having previously stated that he will “absolutely” cut funding for police departments, while later rejecting the idea of “defunding police.”
Joe Biden told a far-left activist he will “absolutely” cut funding for police departments.
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) September 30, 2020
11. Trade deficit with China
After his rehearsed “China’s perfected the art of the steal” line, Biden then went on to claim, “We have a higher deficit with China now than we did before.”
While that may have been true in 2018, the United States’ trade deficit with China in 2019 fell to $308 billion, which is below the $310 billion trade deficit with China under Obama in 2016.
12. No serious person has criticized masks!
The contentious subject of masks arose as the candidates battled over COVID-19 policy. When Trump claimed that some experts have spoken against the use of masks in the past, Biden reacted with “No serious person has said the opposite. No serious person.”
NEW: President Trump interrupts Joe Biden talking about the effectiveness of wearing masks to suggest they may not be effective
"They've also said the opposite," Trump said about masks. Biden responds, "No serious person said the opposite." pic.twitter.com/sC7lVFI0Pw
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) September 30, 2020
Presumably, Dr. Anthony Fauci and US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams — who advised the general public not to wear face masks in February and March — are not “serious people.”
13. Trump is the worst ever
During one of the more childish exchanges, Biden selected an insult from the elementary school folder of his repertoire to declare that Trump is “the worst president America has ever had.”
While “worst” is entirely subjective, meaning that Biden is certainly at liberty to believe that Trump is the worst, this statement is so ridiculously hyperbolic that it’s almost unbelievable. Is Trump worse than James Buchanan, who refused to challenge the spread of slavery, or Andrew Johnson, who signed the Indian Removal Act which lead to the forced resettlement of the Native population known as the “Trail of Tears?” C’mon man!
14. Riots and chaos help Trump’s cause
On the subject of “peaceful protests,” otherwise known as riots, Biden attempted to claim that Kellyanne Conway said that “Riots and chaos and violence help his cause. That’s what this is all about.” Biden was clearly implying that Trump wanted the violence to continue for political reasons.
Trump falsely claims that Kellyanne Conway never said unrest in cities is good for him politically. She said it during a Fox News interview. pic.twitter.com/CLtYy6WD4V
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020
In content, this is not what Conway said, and in context, this is far from what Conway was implying. Her actual statement, made on “Fox and Friends” on August 27th, was: “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.” This was obviously pointing out that the violence enabled further differentiation between the two parties and their positions regarding the riots, and certainly was not an endorsement of violence for political advantage.
Perhaps this is what “fact check guru” Daniel Dale would describe as “misleading?”
- Biden criticized Trump for being “Putin’s puppy” for not saying “anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers,” even though the commander of troops in the region said that a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.
- Biden claimed that “billionaires have gotten much more wealthy by a tune of over $3 to $400 billion more just since COVID,” based on one study which defined March 18th as the start of the pandemic while ignoring the colossal financial losses which occurred previously.
- Biden claimed to be “the guy that brought back the automobile industry,” when in fact he and Obama built on the “pivotal steps taken by George W. Bush.”
- Biden claimed that “storms that come through and wipe out entire sections and counties in Iowa” and the Midwest “didn’t happen before.” While the argument that climate change is fueling the strength or frequency of such storms is a reasonable one to have, the claim that the Midwest is new to cataclysmic storms is ridiculously false.
- Biden denied calling members of the military “stupid bastards,” despite video footage of him saying just that.
CNN’s Daniel Dale believes that Joe Biden was “largely accurate.” It seem that Daniel Dale and Joe Biden have something in common – they’re both colossal liars.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own.