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Presidential Debate

The first 2020 presidential debate fact check

Last night’s debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was chaotic, with some referring to it as 'an embarrassment for the United States of America'.

Update:
United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during the first of three scheduled 90 minute presidential debates with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
 Credit: Kevin Dietsch / Pool via CNP | u
Kevin Dietsch - Pool via CNPGTRES

President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden clashed in one of the most chaotic presedential debates ever seen. The debate, which took place over 90 minutes in Cleveland, Ohio, was chaotic and 'an embarrassment' from start to finish.

The debate started with the candidates’ views on the Supreme Court, Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett and a President’s constitutional obligation. The candidates managed to get their opening statements out without interruption but the civility of the discourse progressively worsened. What ensued will keep fact checkers busy for days to come.

Is Biden responsible for 308,000 veterans’ deaths?

Trump started off with his first accusation accusing Biden of being responsible for the deaths of 308,000 military men. According to Curt Devine at CNN, this may relate to an inspector general report in 2015 that examined a backlog of healthcare applications at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The report found more than 307,000 that were awaiting processing for people who had already died. At the time the VA was under much scrutiny as revelations were coming to light about mismanagement at the VA and veterans dying waiting for treatment.

The debate then moved onto the coronavirus public health crisis. Again the candidates began with little interruption in their opening statements. Biden started and in his opening statements he was critical of the President's record and took the opportunity to accuse Trump of panicking and that is why he lied to the American public. The President retorted by saying that under Biden it would have been far worse, that Biden would have left the country open and was critical of Biden’s response to the Swine Flu accusing him of the death of 14,000 people.

Are young children vulnerable to the coronavirus?

He went on to later state that children aren’t vulnerable to the coronavirus. For the most part children seem to be asymptomatic to the virus. However, there have been cases of children coming down with an inflammatory syndrome now called PMIS. 

The conversation then moved onto the vaccine for the virus. At this stage Chris Wallace felt compelled to start doing some fact checking of his own as Trump again stated that a vaccine would be available soon. However, most agree that the vaccine won’t be widely available until the summer of 2021. This lead to the effect the crisis is having on the economy where Trump insisted that he has done an outstanding job with the economy and that the U.S. would have a V-shaped recovery. He said that he is handling this crisis better than the Obama-Biden administration did the Great Recession say it was the “slowest recovery since 1929.”

Was the Great Recession the slowest recovery since 1929?

Trump has constantly talked about how when he came into office he fixed the failed policies of the Obama-Biden administration. Also how he has supercharged the U.S. economy to create the “greatest U.S. economy in history,” which in itself is not true. However, during the debate Trump said that the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession had been the slowest since 1929. However the facts don’t bear out.

Is Joe Biden against law and order?

When the debate got to their thoughts on race and violence in the cities Trump took the opportunity to attack Biden on the crime bill of 1994 to associate the term “super predator” with Biden. He says that he is letting people out of jail with his signing of the criminal justice reform that he signed into law in 2018, also known as the First Step Act. He continued by saying that he is the law and order president and that Joe Biden wants to defund the police saying that he is against law and order.

Election tampering

Two of the more outlandish moments of the night, both from the swing state of Pennsylvania, came when Trump made claims about ballots being discovered on the ground and poll watchers being turned away in Philadelphia. The first one involves a rather strange occurrence in where the Attorney General in Pittsburg put out a press release about an impeding investigation into mail-in ballot fraud, removed the original and then posted it again. The second was an accusation of a Trump poll worker being denied entry into a polling center in Philadelphia. Last Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced it had opened an inquiry into nine ballots that were found “discarded,” without elaborating on what exactly that meant. All nine ballots had been cast for Trump, the release said.

Donald Trump closed out his first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday night by repeating on national television his false claim that poll watchers had been blocked from observing the first day of in-person early voting in Philadelphia.

“Today there was a big problem,” Trump said in the closing moments of the debate. “In Philadelphia they went in to watch. They’re called poll watchers. A very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things.”

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