AP FACT CHECK: Investigating claims from the latest Trump-Biden debate

WASHINGTON (AP) – The facts hit right out of the gate on Thursday night.

President Donald Trump’s first line of the night, on COVID-19 deaths, was false and set the tone when he and Democratic rival Joe Biden unleashed a shower of demands in their last presidential debate.

Trump has misrepresented the reality of the pandemic in numerous and well-known ways and insisted on the obvious reality that the pandemic is coming to an end. He also boasted of ‘clean’ facilities at the border for migrating children, while ignoring the dirty conditions under which they were held in 2018.

Biden was sometimes selective about the coronavirus and other issues, and at one point said that no one under Obamacare had lost private health coverage. Millions have.

A look at how some statements on stage in Nashville, Tennessee compare to the facts:


TROMP: “We turn the corner. We turn around the corner. It’s going away. ”

THE FACTS: No, the coronavirus does not go away. It’s coming back. New cases are increasing at their summer peak. Deaths are also increasing.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University through Oct. 21, the seven-day moving average for daily new cases in the U.S. has risen over the past two weeks from more than 42,300 on Oct. 7 to nearly 60,000 on Oct. 21.

During that time, the seven-day average daily deaths in the U.S. rose from 695 to 757.


TRUMP: “All he does is talk about closures. But forget about him. His Democratic governors Cuomo in New York, you look at what’s going on in California, you look at Pennsylvania, North Carolina. Democrats – all Democrats. They are so tightly closed and die. ‘

COMMANDMENTS: ‘Look at the states that have such an increase in the coronavirus. These are the red states. These are the states in the Midwest or the states in the Upper Midwest. This is where the peak occurs significantly. ”

THE FACTS: None of them are right. Coronavirus is not a red problem or a blue problem. It is a public health problem that affects people no matter where they live or what their politics are.

Some Republican-led states that were able to reopen quickly saw a surge in virus cases in the summer and are still struggling to lower their transfer rates. Florida’s test positivity rate is currently around 12%, a level that indicates widespread transmission. South Dakota is approaching 35%.

Democratic-led states like New York, which were hit hard in the initial wave, closed and dropped their virus transmission rates at very low levels. But they are now seeing riots in certain local communities, prompting them to target renewed restrictions.

Nevada and Pennsylvania are two states with Democratic governors and a high transfer rate of 20% and 10%, respectively, based on a 14-day trend.


TRUMP on the toll of COVID-19 in the US: “It is estimated that 2.2 million people, according to the model, would die, as you know.”

THE FACTS: That was his first rule in the debate, and it’s false. The U.S. death toll from the pandemic is not expected to be that high.

Such an extreme projection was merely a basis if nothing is done to fight the pandemic. Doing nothing was never an option, and public health authorities did not expect more than 2 million deaths.

Trump often mentions the number to shed more light on the reality of more than 220,000 deaths and to try to take credit for reducing the projected deaths.

At an April 1 briefing, when Trump and his officials discussed an actual forecast of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, the president had hopes of keeping deaths below 100,000. “I think we do better than that.” He repeatedly moved the goal posts to make the massive death and infection rates look better.


TRUMP, about children separated from parents on the border between America and Mexico: “They are cared for so well; they are in clean facilities. ”

THE FACTS: Not so.

At the height of the family separations in 2018, border patrol facilities were far beyond capacity with migrants detained in poor conditions, according to the watchdog reports and the lawyers responsible for a federal settlement that determines how children are cared for in immigration care. Long-term facilities for adults and children were in place, meaning the administration kept people in the small border stations much longer than the 72 hours the law normally allows.

The stations are hardly intended for long-term care. Children did not receive hot meals and families slept on the floor on top of Mylar blankets. Influenza and disease were rampant, and hundreds of small children were kept together without adequate care.


TRUMP, on immigrants being released from detention in the US to wait until they are allowed to stay: ‘They say they are coming back, less than 1% of people are coming back. We have to … send out Border Patrol to track them down. ‘

THE FACTS: This is false. There are far fewer exhibits for immigration trials among those who are released pending their case. According to Statistics from the Department of Justice, a majority come back for their hearings.


COMMANDMENTS: ‘Not one person with private insurance will, according to my plan, lose his insurance, nor under Obamacare; nor have they lost their insurance unless they choose to go somewhere else. ‘

THE FACTS: He’s wrong about Obamacare.

President Barack Obama, at the time, promised that if you liked your health insurance, you could keep it under his affordable care law, but that’s not what happened to some.

When Obamacare went into effect in 2014, several million people lost individual medical insurance plans that no longer meet the minimum standards set by law. A setback forced the White House to offer a solution, but the political damage was done.

Health insurance is such a complicated area that almost any action can have the possible consequences.


TRUMP: The Paris agreement meant “we will have to spend trillions of dollars…. They have done a great disservice. They’re going to take away our business. ‘

THE FACTS: The Paris Agreement, an international agreement that seeks to halt the rise in world temperature, is based on voluntary reduction of emissions. No nation has been forced to do anything.


PRAYER: “He says about the Poor Boys, last time we were here on stage, he said – I told them to stand up and be ready. Come. This man has a dog whistle as big as a dung beetle. ‘

THE FACTS: That’s not exactly what Trump said, and that’s not the name of the neo-fascist group.

During the last debate, Trump was asked if he would condemn the white supremacist and militia groups that turned up at some protests in the US. He said, “Give me a name,” and Biden said, “Proud Boys,” a reference to the extremist right-wing extremist group that turned up at protests in the Northwest Pacific.

“Proud boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said. He did not tell them to ‘be ready’, even if it was a question of whether there was a significant difference.


TRUMP on his taxes: ‘They’re constantly talking about $ 750, which I think is a filing fee. … Tens of millions of dollars (in income tax) I paid in advance. On his China bank account: “I was a businessman in 2013 and closed the account in 2015.”

THE FACTS: Trump is not honest about his taxes.

Reporting by The New York Times, which obtained its tax records, contradicts its claims.

The IRS does not charge taxpayers any tax money, but does tax. The $ 750 Trump paid in income tax in 2016 and 2017 was to the federal government, not a tax preparation service.

It’s not clear what Trump is talking about with the advance payment of his taxes, but what’s important is what he ultimately owes the government. Americans’ income tax payments are often deducted from their salary deduction. The Times reports that as of 2010, Trump has demanded and received a refund of income tax totaling $ 72.9 million, which was at the heart of an ongoing audit by the IRS. The Times said a ruling against Trump could cost him $ 100 million or more.

According to Alan Garten, a lawyer for Trump’s company, Trump also did not close his Chinese bank account. He told the Times that the account remains open, although the company’s office in China has been inactive since 2015.


TRUMP: “Joe received $ 3.5 million from Russia. And it came through Putin because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. … Your family received $ 3.5 million. One day you will have to explain why. ‘

THE FACTS: There is no evidence of this. Trump falsely characterizes a recent report by Republican Senator Ron Johnson, which examined Biden’s son, Hunter, and his business dealings in Ukraine.

The report does not claim that Joe Biden himself received $ 3.5 million, or that Russia, Vladimir Putin, had anything to do with such a payment. The report also does not claim that Hunter Biden pocketed the money himself. The report states that the amount rather went to an investment firm he co-founded with the founder. Hunter Biden’s lawyer said in a statement to reporters that his client had no interest in it and was not a founder of the firm.