In all, CNN counted at least 11 outright falsehoods and a few more that were misleading or lacked context.
We’re updating as we go, but here’s a look at so far at the President’s claims and the facts behind them.
Echoing comments he made in August, Trump claimed “Biden’s plan for the China virus is to shut down the entire US economy.”
Facts First: Biden has not announced any such plan for combating the coronavirus pandemic but has said he would be prepared to call for a shut down if scientists recommended doing so. It’s also worth noting that presidents cannot single-handedly “shut down” the country.
Trump again claimed that he instituted a law that would send people to prison for 10 years if they tore down a monument or statue.
Facts First: The President’s executive order doesn’t create new laws or possible prison sentences, it simply directed the attorney general to enforce already-existing laws.
These laws have been on the books for years. Trump has not recently authorized the Department of Justice to pursue these cases but has ordered the attorney general to prioritize them.
Pillows and tank busters
In referencing US aid to Ukraine, Trump compared his record to President Obama’s.
“They used to send pillows and we send tank busters,” Trump said.
Facts First: While the Obama administration was criticized for its refusal to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine, it did provide more than $100 million in security assistance, as well as a significant amount of defense and military equipment.
Trump said twice that NATO member countries were increasing their spending to $400 billion a year.
Facts First: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a meeting with Trump on December 3, 2019 that, by 2024, non-US members will have spent a total of $400 billion more on defense than they did in 2016 — not that they will be spending $400 billion more “a year.” And since these predictions were made prior to the coronavirus they don’t take into account the possible impact of the current pandemic, NATO spokeswoman Peggy Beauplet noted in an email to CNN in August.
Trump said he’s “looking at the World Trade Organization” out of concerns the US is not being treated fairly because “we never used to win anything.”
Facts First: Contrary to Trump’s repeated assertion, the US has long won cases at the World Trade Organization. Trump’s own Council of Economic Advisers even said in a February 2018 report that the US had won 86% of the cases it has brought since 1995. The global average was 84%, according to the council.
Case fatality rates
The President claimed that the US has one of the lowest case fatality rates for Covid-19 among developed countries.
Trump suggested that it is possible a vaccine is approved before election day, November 3.
Sen. Kamala Harris
Trump said that Harris was “the most liberal person in Congress.”
Facts First: Harris’ voting record in the Senate is certainly one of the most liberal, though her record prior to the Senate is more moderate on some issues.
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