Incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden have attended their final presidential debate of an already controversial and contentious 2020 election campaign.
The two discussed some of the most significant national concerns such as the coronavirus pandemic and the potential economic crisis, as well as already-known conflicts such as the Mexican border.
Today, we’ll have a look at some of the most notable remarks of the two candidates and fact-check each of them.
Because YOU deserve to know the truth.
Statement #1: Trump said that the coronavirus is going away.
Truth: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hospitals are still overloaded with infected patients and the death rate remains alarmingly high.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD and leading infectious disease expert for the United States, also disagrees with Mr. Trump’s statement saying that America is turning a corner. In fact, he warns that the latest coronavirus statistics are nothing less than ‘disturbing.’
More precisely, the U.S. records an average number of 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 every single day. This is a dramatic increase compared to the 50,000 daily cases reported at the beginning of October, as per data from the Covid Tracking Project.
Hospital admissions have also noticed an increase of over 30% since the start of the month, while death rates have remained constant, at about 800 per day.
Statement #2: Biden says COVID-19 spikes are more common in red states.
Truth: New cases of coronavirus are raising dramatically in almost every state of the U.S., whether they are Republican (red) or Democratic (blue).
While Democratic candidate Joe Biden claimed that coronavirus cases are rising primarily in red states, official data says that COVID-19 cases are increasing in 40 US states.
This includes both Democratic and Republican states, with North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin recording the biggest spikes during the last week (Dakotas are led by Republican governors while Wisconsin and Montana are Democratic).
Mr. Biden further insisted that Republican States in the Midwest are reporting alarming numbers of new COVID-19 cases. However, Illinois, a Midwestern state with Democratic governors, is also recording its biggest number of new coronavirus infections daily.
Statement #3: Trump says that 2.2 million people were expected to die.
Truth: This is a misleading statement with information taken out of the context.
The numbers are coming from a study published by the Imperial College London at the beginning of the pandemic, back in March 2020, when knowledge of its transmission and effects were still in the early stages.
In the study, researchers explain that there would be expected 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone only in the ‘unlikely absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behavior.’
The study never says that specialists ‘expected’ 2.2 million U.S. residents to pass away from the new coronavirus infection.
Right now, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused more than 223,000 fatalities in America.
Statement #4: Biden says he commuted over more than 1,000 people’s sentences and reduced the federal prison system by 38,000 people during the Obama administration.
Truth: The number of federal commutations is real, but the federal prison reduction statement is false.
President Obama has commuted (or changed) more than 1,700 inmates’ sentences, with another 212 receiving a pardon.
However, during the last year in office for Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden (2016), the state recorded 16,500 fewer inmates in the federal prison system compared to 2009.
Statement #5: Trump blames the Obama administration for building the ‘cages’ where migrant children are held at the U.S. border with Mexico, saying that he only changed the policy.
Truth: Some data is used out of context; a certain number of migrant children were held in chain fenced facilities under the Obama administration; however, the law specifically said they couldn’t be detained for more than 72 hours before being transferred to local health authorities.
The issue of U.S. borders has been a highly debated topic for the past four years. Recently, the Trump administration issued a new policy which separated some children from their parents right at the U.S. border.
During the last Presidential debate, Mr. Trump blamed the situation on the Obama administration saying that they built ‘the cages’ where children were held.
This is partially true. During the Obama administration, facilities with chain link fencing were created to house unaccompanied children who entered the U.S. from Mexico until they were transferred to another facility.
Back in 2019, Jeh Johnson, head of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, insisted on the fact that barriers, fences or cages at the U.S. border were ‘not invented on January 20, 2017.’ (The date of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president)
However, he also pointed out that children couldn’t be held in those fenced facilities longer than 72 hours, as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act involved transferring minors to the health authorities as soon as possible.
Statement #6: Biden says Trump caused the China deficit to go up, not down.
Truth: The statement is not that correct.
In 2017, the trade deficit with China (the gap between exports and imports) recorded a promising rise only to fall after 2018 shortly after tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese products.
In 2019, it was somewhere at $308bn, just a little less than the $310bn reported in 2016.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the first half of 2020 witnessed a $130bn deficit in services and goods with China; this is $34 billion less than the first six months of 2019 and a surprising $53 billion less than in the first half of 2018.
As a general conclusion, both Presidential candidates made less-than-accurate statements as well as clever remarks we should take into account.
The only truth we’re certain of is that America’s future is now in our hands.
Who will you vote for? Share your thoughts about the last presidential debate in the comment section and let’s take action today for a better tomorrow!