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Fact-checking the primary 2020 presidential debate

Fact-checking the primary 2020 presidential debate


President Trump unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods Tuesday evening in Cleveland on the first of three debates with Joe Biden — no shock for a commander in chief who has set a brand new low for shading the reality and even mendacity in workplace.
His distortions have been nearly as rapid-fire as his incessant interruptions of each Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace, on subjects starting from the financial system to the coronavirus to healthcare. At one level he even accused Biden of enjoying extra golf than he does. Biden hewed extra carefully to the info, however he strayed at instances. Here’s a have a look at how every candidate did.

No, Trump isn’t defending protection for preexisting circumstances.
“We guaranteed preexisting conditions,” Trump stated.
THE FACTS: This is considered one of Trump’s commonest falsehoods. The 2010 Affordable Care Act — also called Obamacare — contains the supply that bars medical insurance firms from refusing to cowl folks with preexisting medical circumstances. Trump has been calling for all the regulation to be eradicated, and his administration is allied with conservative states on a lawsuit to kill it. The case is now earlier than the Supreme Court, which can hear arguments the week after the election.
Because assured protection for preexisting circumstances is so common, Trump repeatedly says he’s prepared with a substitute healthcare program that might retain the assure if the courtroom strikes down the regulation. Yet he stated he had such a plan 4 years in the past, and neither he nor congressional Republicans have agreed on another. Last week, Trump signed an govt order declaring his intention to guard folks with preexisting circumstances, nevertheless it in any other case does nothing.

No, Biden didn’t name Trump’s China journey ban “xenophobic.”
TRUMP: “I closed it, and you said, ‘He’s xenophobic.’”
THE FACTS: Whenever challenged about his mishandling of the coronavirus disaster, Trump factors to considered one of his earliest choices — proscribing journey from China, the place the pandemic started. However, it was not the ironclad ban that he describes. The Jan. 31 order utilized solely to mainland China, not Hong Kong, and it allowed tens of 1000’s of Americans there to return to the U.S., the place screening of arrivals was spotty. Although the journey restrictions purchased a while earlier than the pandemic worsened right here, public well being consultants say Trump squandered that by failing to organize widespread testing and tracing to detect and isolate outbreaks.
Trump regularly claims that Biden opposed the restrictions and known as them “xenophobic.” He distorts the previous vp’s feedback. The day after Trump’s announcement, Biden tweeted that “we need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.” He didn’t point out the ban or journey from China.

No, the financial system isn’t again but.
TRUMP: “We’re doing record business.”
THE FACTS: Trump usually claims that the nation is shortly rebounding from the coronavirus disaster, which compelled tens of tens of millions of individuals out of their jobs. He calls it a “V-shaped” restoration — typically upgrading it to a “super V” — suggesting a steep decline adopted by a quick ascent.
There are positively some indicators that the financial system is on the upswing. The unemployment price reached 14.7% in April however has since fallen to eight.4%. However, that’s nonetheless almost as excessive as the height jobless price — 10% — in President Obama’s first 12 months, when the nation was clawing out of the worst monetary and financial disaster for the reason that Great Depression.
Any restoration could possibly be endangered by a renewed coronavirus outbreak, which might power extra restrictions on companies and public gatherings. Trump has regularly dismissed the necessity for social distancing or masks, and he’s holding rallies the place supporters are crowded collectively, most with out safety.

How a lot did Trump pay in federal revenue taxes in 2016 and 2017?
Trump: “Millions of dollars”
THE FACTS: It’s not possible for voters to guage as a result of Trump broke with a decades-long custom of White House candidates releasing their tax returns. He stated once more within the debate that he can’t make his returns public as a result of they’re underneath audit. But the Internal Revenue Service has stated audits don’t preclude taxpayers from releasing their very own returns.
The New York Times reported this week, primarily based on leaked copies of Trump’s returns, that the president paid solely $750 in federal revenue taxes for the 12 months he was elected and for his first 12 months in workplace — a startlingly low quantity for somebody who claims to be a billionaire working a profitable actual property enterprise. For 10 of the earlier 15 years, he paid no federal revenue taxes in any respect. Trump averted taxes by reporting steep losses, and the returns present he’s going through a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} in money owed which have positioned him in a monetary bind.

No, mail-in ballots don’t result in widespread voter fraud.
TRUMP: “This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen.”
THE FACTS: Ever since Trump started his first marketing campaign 5 years in the past, he’s baselessly claimed that U.S. elections are rife with fraud and rigged towards him. This election is not any completely different, and his allegations nonetheless don’t stand as much as scrutiny.
Trump singles out mail-in ballots, which voters are anticipated to make use of in a lot bigger numbers this 12 months due to considerations about contracting the coronavirus at crowded polling locations. The president says the ballots could possibly be cast by anybody, together with a international nation, however native election officers say that might be not possible given safeguards corresponding to bar codes on envelopes.
Trump additionally complained about “unsolicited” mail ballots. He exaggerates the variety of states that robotically ship ballots to voters; all the essential swing states, corresponding to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, require residents to request mail-in ballots. And he ignores the truth that such ballots have been used broadly in lots of states for years, and election consultants say there’s no proof of widespread fraud.

No, the commerce deficit with China isn’t larger now.
BIDEN: “We have a higher deficit with China now than we did before.”
THE FACTS: The United States has long term an enormous commerce deficit with China, importing extra Chinese items than it sells to the nation. Trump promised to shut the hole when he took workplace. During his first years in workplace he failed, and the commerce deficit grew from $346.eight billion in 2016 to $418.9 billion in 2018. However, as a result of Trump’s tariffs, the deficit fell final 12 months to $345.2 billion, roughly according to the determine within the 12 months earlier than Trump took workplace.

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