Fact Checking the Vice Presidential Debate

Pastor Pence:

  • Claim: Pastor Pence claimed the United States has the cleanest air and water.
  • Fact: Mostly true but despite Trump and Pence. We can thank the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on pollutants, which have tightened over the years. The Trump administration has sought to weaken or freeze those rules.
  • Claim: “Senator Kamala Harris was one of only ten members of the Senate to vote against the USMCA.”
  • Fact: True. Senator Harris voted against the USMCA (NAFTA 2.0)
  • Claim: “Before there were more than five cases in the United States … [Trump] suspended all travel from China … Joe Biden opposed that decision, he said it was ‘xenophobic’ and ‘hysterical.’”
  • Fact: Overstatement. The president’s Jan. 31 order only applied to the Chinese mainland, not Hong Kong, and tens of thousands of American travelers were allowed to return.
  • Claim: “President Trump and I have a plan to improve healthcare and protect pre-existing conditions for every American.”
  • Fact: If there’s a Trump plan to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions, the public hasn’t seen it. The president has spent years trying to undermine the law that currently guarantees coverage.
  • Claim: “On day one, Joe Biden’s going to raise your taxes.”
  • Fact: False. The vice president mischaracterized Biden’s plan, which would not raise taxes on earners making less than $400,000 a year. Biden would repeal the Trump tax cuts for those making more than that.
  • Claim: The American comeback is on the ballot. With four more years of growth and opportunity, four more years of President Donald Trump, 2021 is going to be the biggest economic year in the history of this country.
  • Fact: SO NOT TRUE! While U.S. employers added 11.4 million jobs in the last five months, that’s only about half of 22.2 million jobs that were lost in March and April, as the economy slid into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. What’s more, job gains have slowed for the last three months.

Senator Kamala Harris:

  • Claim: “Let’s take what he said about John McCain, a great American hero. And Donald Trump says he doesn’t deserve to be called a hero, because he was a prisoner of war.”
  • Fact: True. Trump said that. “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
  • Claim: “Donald Trump had talked at least six times to Vladimir Putin and never brought up the subject.”
  • Fact: True. Trump has never condemned Putin for his actions
  • Claim: “Donald Trump, the commander in chief of the United States of America, prefers to take the word of Vladimir Putin over the word of the American intelligence community.”
  • Fact: True. See his speech in Helinsky.
  • Claim: “For example, they created within the White House an office that basically was responsible for monitoring pandemics. They got rid of it.”
  • Fact: VERY TRUE. The team working on the unit was disbanded in May 2018, though a few of its members remained a part of the National Security Council.
  • Claim: “The president’s trade war with China — you lost that trade war. You lost it. What ended up happening is because of a so-called trade war with China, America lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Farmers have experienced bankruptcy because of it. We are in a manufacturing recession because of it.”
  • Fact: Exaggerated. The trade war depressed crop prices, and farm bankruptcies jumped 20% in 2019. Manufacturing has begun to recover from the punch thrown by the coronavirus pandemic, but factories still employed 647,000 fewer people in September than they did in February. Factories were in a slump even before the pandemic. 



LA Times:


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