Fact Checking Joe Biden’s CNN Town Hall

Posted on Sep 18, 2020

BIDEN: “Look, there’s three things we should be doing. Number one, we should make sure that we have national standards laid out so how people can in fact go to work safely and have a national standard. You can’t mandate it. But as President of the United States, I’d lay out the broad strokes of what has to be done to make people safe in their workplace and safe in school.

And that requires us to have rapid testing, the protective gear available from the very beginning — like this President hasn’t done — making sure we provide for the ability for workplaces to have the wherewithal to provide for the safety that requires some Federal funding, particularly kids going back to school, making sure that we’re in a position that there’s testing and tracing and get testing quickly.

There’s a whole range of things we should have done. I laid it out all the way back in March how we should do that. The President has totally disregarded it.”


  • President Trump released guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” to help governors begin a phased reopening.
  • President Trump empowered states to make decisions based on the situation on the ground. Each state has different needs that require a different approach.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided comprehensive guidelines to schools on how to protect and identify high-risk individuals, prevent the spread of the virus, and conduct safe in-person teaching.
  • The President has called for Congress to pass $105 billion – $70 billion of which is for K-12 schools – to provide financial assistance and incentives to help schools implement safety measures in their resumption of in-person classes.
  • President Trump is also calling on Congress to pass the School Choice Now Act, which includes his groundbreaking Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, to give students and families the resources and power to select the right education setting for them.
  • President Trump delivered $13 billion in funding to states to support K-12 education, which can be used to help schools safely reopen.
  • The Trump Administration also applauds many States that have utilized Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to prioritize the safe reopening of schools.
  • The Trump Administration is also working on a plan to provide millions of reusable face coverings to States for students, teachers, and staff.

BIDEN:  “I was on one of your shows — all the way back in March, I was calling for the need for us to have masks, have the President stand and tell us what’s going on.”


  • February 29– Biden Public Health Advisory Committee member Dr. Zeke Emanuel said, “So, the public, running out and getting a mask is not going to help.”
  • March 9– Biden held an in-person rally indoors in Michigan.
  • March 12– Biden Public Health Advisory Committee member Lisa Monaco replied “no” when asked if President Trump’s 30-day ban on travel from Europe is the right move.
  • March 12– Biden tweeted, “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it.”
  • March 15– Appearing on CNN, Biden senior advisor Symone Sanders encouraged people to vote in person on March 17.
  • March 18– In response to President Trump’s tweet about his “very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China,” Biden tweeted, “Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering.”

BIDEN: “And we should be providing for the PPE, the protective gear that is needed. Look, you know what recently happened? The President of the United States said that no longer would we in fact provide masks for schools — for schools — for them to have the mask in school because it was not a national emergency. What is he talking about? It’s totally irrational.”


  • The Trump Administration sent 125 million coronavirus masks to schools across the U.S. to ensure that students and teachers could return to school safely.

BIDEN: “I think we should be requiring that you have — it’s estimated by superintendents around the country in order to make schools safe for returning, we need to spend about $200 billion to do that, to sanitize, to provide for more teachers on smaller classes and smaller mods, making sure the ventilation systems are functioning, dealing across the board to make it safer so that schools when they open, they are safer.” 

FACT: This is a blatant disregard for the facts.

  • The President has called for Congress to pass $105 billion – $70 billion of which is for K-12 schools – to provide financial assistance and incentives to help schools implement safety measures in their resumption of in-person classes.
  • President Trump is also calling on Congress to pass the School Choice Now Act, which includes his groundbreaking Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, to give students and families the resources and power to select the right education setting for them.
  • President Trump delivered $13 billion in funding to states to support K-12 education, which can be used to help schools safely reopen.
  • The Trump Administration also applauds many States that have utilized Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to prioritize the safe reopening of schools.

BIDEN: “And if President had done his job — had done his job from the beginning — all the people would still be alive. All the people — I’m not making this up, just look at the data. Look at the data.”

FACT: Biden is, in fact, making this up. There is no data to support this, even if the president had moved rapidly in January to deal with the coronavirus and been able to convince the Chinese leadership to be more forthcoming about the situation. Nations that have been publicized for their response have suffered some deaths.(South Korea, 372 deaths, New Zealand, 25, and Iceland, 10 deaths.)

BIDEN: “And the President referred to guys like my son — he won the Bronze Star and the Conspicuous Service Medal, referred to them as losers. Losers. Talk about losers.”

FACT: Currently 21 officials, including 14 who directly staffed President Trump on the Paris trip, have gone on the record refuting anonymous sources in false the Atlantic story. Additionally, White House email proves that a “bad weather call” was the reason for a canceled presidential trip to Aisne-Marne American cemetery in 2018.

BIDEN:  “I’m confident the vast majority of the police are prepared to sit down in the White House and a commission like Barack and I started to be able to sit down and layout with the minimum basic requirements are and what is out of bounds period. Including the ability for us to be able to go in and look at a pattern and practice with police departments so they’re completely transparent.”

FACT: The Obama-Biden 21st Century Policing Task Force was a dud. Despite being launched in 2014, by May 2016, just 15 police departments out of 18,000 had signed on to the Obama-Biden police reforms initiative. Analysts said it “failed to put muscle behind the rhetoric” and “failed to attack the heart of the problem.”

Also during Biden’s time as vice president, the Obama administration continually slashed police budgets. Despite Biden’s promise in 2008 to fully fund the COPS program, COPS funding dropped from $1.55 billion to $792 million during his tenure in office. At the time, police groups protested the Obama-Biden cuts, calling the funding reductions “simply irresponsible.”

BIDEN: “Well guess what we proposed the First Step Act. And what we did was in our administration, were 38,000 fewer federal prisoners than there were — when we start our administration. We moved to eliminate the disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. So, a black guy getting a nickel bag, and snorting coke, when mandatory to jail, someone who has did a line and in, you know, in Park Avenue, got arrested, they got probation. And so, we’ve tried to change their mistakes made. We’ve made significant changes, and we’ll make more. But look at what he’s done. Look at where we are. He has refused to do the kinds of things that need to be done to fundamentally change the criminal justice system, including making sure that there’s equal application of justice.” 

FACT: Via the Washington Post:

“Biden appeared to claim that the First Step Act, signed into law by Donald Trump in 2018, was merely an add-on to a bill passed during the Obama administration. The law was a bipartisan project, led by senators such as Booker, which overhauled federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws as well as some aspects of the federal prison system. It was intended to address problems identified in the 1994 crime bill signed by President Bill Clinton and long championed by then-Sen. Biden as the “Biden Crime bill.”

Booker looked at Biden with disbelief, and it’s easy to see why. A Biden aide said he was referring to a 2010 law passed under President Barack Obama that addressed the “100-1” rule, so named because it required a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking in 500 grams of powder cocaine or five grams of crack. The 2010 law narrowed it to 18-1, and the First Step Act made it retroactive.

But the First Step Act was a much broader piece of legislation — far more than an add-on to the 2010 law.”

BIDEN:  “But here’s the deal. I’ve condemned every form of violence, no matter what the source is. No matter what the source is. The President is yet to condemn, as you’ve probably noticed, the far-right and the white supremacist, and those guys walking around with the AK-47s and not doing a damn thing about them. This is absolutely — look, his own former press secretary Kellyanne Conway said, I’m paraphrasing, chaos and violence are good for our administration. They’re good for us.”

FACT: Via Factcheck.org:

“So, contrary to Biden’s claim that Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis,” in the course of two days, Trump did it twice. Nor was that the last time Trump condemned white supremacy by name…Biden went too far when he said Trump has “yet once to condemn white supremacy, the neo-Nazis. He hasn’t condemned a darn thing.” He has.”

BIDEN: “We’re in a situation in the United States where right away in our administration, violent crime went down 15%, we didn’t have to worry about protecting public buildings, we were able to do without sending in our military. Do you ever think you’d see a day?”


FACT: The murder rate (which is arguably a violent crime) was significantly higher under the Obama admin and dropped under President Trump. From Washington Post:

“Note that while Biden is discussing his record, he mentions violent crime. But when he discusses Trump, he talks about murders.

It turns out this selective presentation puts Biden in the best possible light and Trump in the worst possible light. As its source for the violent crimes stats, the Biden campaign pointed to a 2017 report by our colleagues at FactCheck.org on statistics about the Obama administration. Citing the FBI, FactCheck.org said: ‘The number of violent crimes per 100,000 population was nearly 16 percent lower in 2016 than in 2008, and the property crime rate dropped nearly 24 percent. But the murder rate didn’t drop at all — it was 5.4 per 100,000 both in 2008 and in 2016…’ Biden earns Two Pinocchios.”

Question: When asked, “Do you support the continuation of fracking safely and with proper guidelines, of course, and growing the industry (INAUDIBLE) additional jobs to our region?”

BIDEN:  “Yes, I do. I do.”

FACT: Biden has repeatedly stated that he would end fracking and fossil fuels.

  • In July 2019, Biden said when asked about coal and fracking, “We would make sure it’s eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either — any fossil fuel.”
  • During CNN’s Climate Townhall in September 2019, Biden said “I would not allow any more [fracking].”
  • At the same September 2019 event, Biden said, “I’ve argued against any more oil drilling or gas drilling on federal lands.” and that he would re-examine existing wells.
  • At an event in the fall of 2016, Biden told a voter, “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.”
  • In January 2020, during an exchange with a New Hampshire voter, Biden was asked, “What about, say, stopping fracking?” Biden responded, “Yes! Yes. Exactly.”
  • On February 18, 2020, Biden pledged to eliminate fossil fuel jobs.
  • During the February 2020 Democratic primary debate, Biden admitted he would sacrifice blue-collar jobs in the name of the Green New Deal.
  • In an exchange during the March 2020 debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he wanted to stop ‘fracking as soon as we possibly can,” adding he was “talking about telling the fossil fuel industry that they are going to stop destroying this planet—no ifs, buts, and maybes about it.” Biden responded: “So am I.”
  • During the same March 2020 debate, Biden clearly stated, “No more, no new fracking.”
  • Also during the March 2020 debate, Biden said, “No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill. Period. Ends.”
  • In a May 2020 interview with CNBC, Biden said he would stop fracking on federal lands.

BIDEN: “I’m the guy that ran the Recovery Act which invested over $90 billion in bringing down the cost of renewable energy. So it’s now more competitive than it is for coal, or for oil, or for gas…It’s not only good for the environment, it’s going to provide jobs and you’re not going to lose your jobs. You’re not going to lose your jobs. Not producing the same energy; producing a different kind of energy.”

FACT: Biden has openly admitted he wants to “end fossil fuel” and thereby destroy millions of U.S. energy jobs. While President Trump has helped make America an energy super-power, Biden’s radical energy policies, driven by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist Green New Deal, would kill jobs and leave the U.S. at the mercy of foreign energy producers. Biden has said he would “love to make sure we can’t use any oil or gas, period” and that he would “make sure” fossil fuels and fracking are “eliminated.” In March, Biden said he would ban any new fracking or future oil and gas development on federal lands. More than 10.3 million American jobs are supported by the oil and gas industry. Biden’s plan to ban new energy development on federal lands alone would threaten an estimated 268,000 jobs.

BIDEN: “And it’s been the failure of this president to deal, to deal with this virus … Imagine had he at the State of Union stood up and said, when back in January . . . Imagine if he had said something.”

FACT:  Trump directly mentioned the coronavirus during his State of the Union address in February.

  • On February 4, President Trump warned the American people about the coronavirus outbreak, pledging to take “all necessary steps” to safeguard the country at his State of the Union address.
  • Trump: “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases.  We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.”

BIDEN: “I’m not joking, like guys like me, with the first in my family to go to college…”

FACT: Biden not only isn’t the first in his family to go to college, he previously admitted he had lied when he made the same claim in 1987.

  • 33 years ago, Biden admitted that he was not the first person in his family to go to college.
  • At the Iowa State Fair in 1987, Biden plagiarized from a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock, lifting passages, mimicking the delivery of his speech, and even appropriating Kinnock’s experience as the first man in his family to go to college.
    • Kinnock: “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?”
    • Biden: Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?”
  • Biden later admitted that his tale was not true, that he used Kinnock’s material without attribution including his claim that he was the first member of his family to go to college.

BIDEN“How many of you all own stock? … In my neighborhood in Scranton not a whole lot of people own stock.”

FACT:  A majority of Americans own stock either directly or indirectly, meaning they are helped by a stronger stock market.

  • According to the Federal Reserve, a majority of Americans, 52 percent, directly and indirectly own stocks.
  • 55 percent of Americanspolled by Gallup say they have money invested in the stock market.
  • Under President Trump, a higher stock market has led to higher retirement account balances for America’s seniors and those planning for retirement.
  • Joe and Jill Biden own stocks through mutual funds and a variable annuity, meaning Biden himself has benefitted from the higher stock market. 

BIDEN: “We can put to work, right away, 250,000 people . . . capping those wells that are leaking methane and are a danger to the community.”

FACT: There is no independent estimate to support Biden’s claim, with studies showing such a policy would create only 5 or 10 percent as many jobs as Biden says.

  • study by Columbia University and Resources for the Future found that plugging “orphaned” wells in the U.S. would only create 13,500 jobs for just one year.
    • The study found the average cost of creating each one of those jobs would be between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • The left-wing Center for American Progress estimated that plugging abandoned wells would create at most 24,000 jobs, one-tenth of what Biden claims.


BIDEN: “Back in January, I wrote an article for USA Today saying we’ve got a real problem.”

FACT: Rather than laying out a detailed plan for action against a possible pandemic, Biden’s January 27 op-ed attacked President Trump and largely focused on the Ebola crisis.

  • The Washington PostFact Checker: Biden’s op-ed “was more of an attack on President Trump and a recollection of Obama administration steps taken against the 2014 Ebola outbreak than a detailed plan for action against a possible pandemic.”
  • Biden’s op-ed contains no specific policies on how to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Three days later, Biden called the China travel ban “hysterical xenophobia.”

FACT: Biden’s criticism directly contradicts what he did in early March, as he continued to hold in-person campaign events through March 10, and was not seen wearing a mask until April.