Biden made some false claims, along with making other claims that could have used additional context. He also made one claim, an assertion that he has visited the southern border in the past, that CNN couldn’t immediately verify and that the White House did not immediately provide evidence to support.
Here’s a fact check of some of his claims from Thursday’s town hall.
A college student asked Biden: “Given that it’s nearly been a year into your campaign, why haven’t you been to the southern border of our country?”
After Biden addressed another immigration question from the student but ignored that one, Cooper followed up. Biden then responded, “I’ve been there before, and I haven’t — I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the — but the whole point of it is: I haven’t had a whole hell of lot of time to get down.”
Biden explained that he has been spending time inspecting hurricane damage and “traveling around the world,” then added, “But I plan on — now, my wife, Jill, has been down. She’s been on both sides of the river. She’s seen the circumstances there.”
Since we don’t know what the President did on every day of a political career that began in 1970, we can’t currently declare he was making a false statement when he said he has previously visited the border. But we couldn’t immediately locate any news stories about such a visit, and the White House hasn’t provided corroborating information. A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a CNN request late Thursday night.
Two days later, when the reporter asked why Biden hadn’t “ever” visited the southern border, Psaki didn’t dispute the assertion, instead saying that Biden believes “the most constructive role we can play is by helping to push immigration reform forward, helping reform the broken policies of the last several years, and listening to his team of advisors, who have been to the border multiple times, about what the path forward should look like.”
Though Biden mentioned foreign travel as one of the reasons he has not gone to the border as President to date, he has made only one trip abroad during the first nine months of his pandemic-era term — a June trip to Europe. He is scheduled for another Europe trip next weekend for a G20 summit and United Nations climate conference.
Biden said, “When I first was elected, there were only 2 million people who had Covid shots in the United States of America — had the vaccine. Now we got 190 million, because I went out and bought everything I could do and buy in sight, and it worked.”
All of that is fair enough. But Biden was still hyperbolic here in giving sole credit to his own purchases.
Let’s now turn to Biden’s claim that “only 2 million people” had Covid shots when he was first elected.
Even then, though, current CDC data says 3.4 million people were fully vaccinated on January 20. Biden might have been thinking of news reports from January 20, based on CDC data available at the time, that put the number at around 2 million, but the CDC numbers get updated over time as more information comes in and vaccinations are assigned to the date they actually occurred instead of the date they were reported.
Biden said that “there are over 800,000 sites right now that exist in America where you can go get a vaccine.”
Fox and vaccinations
Talking about right-wing television station Fox News, Biden asked, “Do you realize they mandate vaccinations?”
Biden’s jobs record
Biden said, “We’ve created more jobs in the first eight months of my administration than any president in American history.”
Biden is free, of course, to argue that he is doing a good job filling that hole. But his president-versus-president boasts should be viewed with contextual caution.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.