On Thursday, after going his first two months in office without holding a press conference — the longest streak in modern U.S. history — Joe Biden finally answered questions from reporters in the White House.
Biden first delivered a short speech celebrating his administration’s achievements regarding COVID-19, before calling on pre-selected members of the press to field various questions.
Both his speech and answers to questions from journalists were replete with falsehoods. Let’s fact-check the president’s first press conference since his inauguration on January 20.
Biden claims that migration increases during winter months were worse under Trump
Biden compared the rate of increase in persons attempting to cross the border in 2021 and 2019 in an apparent attempt to deflect criticism for the ongoing border crisis, saying that there has been a 28% increase between January and February of 2021 compared to a 31% increase during the same period in 2019.
Firstly, this is false. As noted by the Associated Press, “According to statistics published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, authorities encountered 9,457 children without a parent in February, a 61% increase from January, not 28%.”
Even if Biden’s claim was accurate, it also ignores the fact that the starting point is far higher under Biden. In 2019, 58,317 people attempted to cross the border in January and 76,545 attempted to cross the border in February, a 31% increase.
In January 2021, however, 78,442 people attempted to cross the border. In this context, 34.5% more people attempted to cross the border under the Biden administration than the Trump administration in January of 2021 compared to 2019.
Biden claims that the “vast majority” of families, are being “sent back”
During his speech, Biden claimed that the United States is “sending back the vast majority of the families coming.” According to CBP data, this is false. Of the almost 20,000 apprehensions of families at the border in February, less than 50% were returned under Title 42.
Biden claims that the Trump administration shut down the number of available beds at border centers
This is a false claim, and one previously made by Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, which was fact-checked by the New York Times.
“The Biden administration is struggling to find space for migrant children and teenagers who have recently arrived at the border, with some sleeping on gym mats with foil sheets in processing facilities as they wait to be transferred to shelters contracted with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. But Mr. Klain is wrong that the backlog is because the previous administration drastically downsized monthly bed capacity,” the Times wrote. “When the Obama administration faced its own surge of migrant children, the refugee agency increased its monthly bed capacity to about 8,000 beds in the 2015 fiscal year from about 2,000 in the 2011 fiscal year, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Under the Trump administration, monthly bed capacity fell to about 7,000 in October 2017, but grew to over 16,000 by December 2018. By Mr. Trump’s last full month in office, in December 2020, monthly bed capacity was at 13,000 — hardly a ‘record low.’”
Biden claims that Trump did not fund the Department of Health and Human services to get children out of border facilities
This is also a false claim, with The Hill reporting in September 2018, “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reallocating more than $260 million in funds this year to house the increased number of detained migrant children,” with HHS saying that “the need for the shelter’s continuation was not due to the family separations, but because of more children crossing the border alone.”
Biden celebrates meeting his goal of 100 million vaccine doses administered on day 58
Early in his speech, Biden boasted that his administration had beaten his goal of administering 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first 100 days of his presidency, claiming that this was achieved on day 58.
Biden did indeed set this goal prior to entering office — after questioning whether Trump could ever deliver the vaccine and then undermining its safety and efficacy. It’s important, however, to note that on entering office, 21.7 million does of the vaccine had already been administered.
This means that approximately 78 million doses would need to be administered in 100 days for Biden to break this “goal,” which would be an average of 780,000 per day. On the final day of Trump’s presidency, over 1.5 million doses were administered, with a 7-day average of almost 1 million doses a day. In other words, the Trump administration had already implemented the necessary infrastructure to achieve Biden’s goal.
Biden sets second goal of 200 million shots in 100 days
Again, the mathematical reality of vaccine progress makes this almost certain, and far from the “ambitious” goal Biden claimed. With 21.7 million doses administered by the time he’d entered office, a further 178 million doses would need to be administered by the end of Biden’s first 100 days in office. That’s 1.78 million doses per day. Given that the rolling 7-day average number of administered doses has been over 2 million per day since the beginning of March, over 133 million doses already administered, and 36 days remaining until the “100 days” mark, the average daily distribution of doses would have to fall to well below the current average to miss this objective.
Biden claims that American vaccine program is unprecedented, and that no other country has come close to doing “what we are doing”
This is only true if you cherry-pick specific statistics and ignore other central factors, such as population size.
In terms of total number of doses administered, the United States does indeed lead the world, with over 130 million doses administered compared to over 82 million in China, over 53 million in India, and over 31 million in the United Kingdom.
However, the United States has a large population, and if we analyze these figures based on population size, the United States is actually far behind multiple other developed countries. Looking at doses administered per 100 people, the United States is behind Israel (111 doses per 100 people), Seychelles (98), the United Arab Emirates (79), Chile (48), the United Kingdom (47), Monaco (47), Bahrain (44) and the Maldives (41).
So, taking population size into account, eight countries have surpassed what the United States is doing.
Biden claimed that he set a goal to open “majority” of K-8 schools in first 100 days
Biden is continuing to walk back this claim, diluting his earlier promise to open “schools,” now saying that this just applies to K-8 age groups. In early December, Biden said “It should be a national priority to get our kids back into school and keep them in school.”
“If Congress provides the funding, we need to protect students, educators and staff. If states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all follow, then my team will work to see that the majority of our schools can be open by the end of my first 100 days,” he added.
Biden claims that Republican voters agree with what he’s doing, and that 50% of Republicans support what he’s doing
Given the approximate split by party line across the population, and that Biden has a 54.3% approval rating and a 39.9% disapproval rating, it’s difficult to conclude that a majority of Republican voters support Biden.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.