Fact Checking the Two Presidents

AP Photo, File


Although news articles often call Donald Trump a “liar,” I don’t think I have ever seen that term used when discussing Joe Biden. Following the first presidential debate in June, fact-checkers at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal accused Trump of numerous falsehoods. But they couldn’t find a single Biden falsehood.

It’s worse than a double standard. It’s bizarre reporting. Concerning Trump, the critics often seize upon a single misstatement of fact, while ignoring the larger truth connected to that fact. For Biden, they can’t seem to find the misstatement to begin with.

With respect to Trump, they can’t see the forest for the trees. With respect to Biden, they can’t see the trees.

Immigration. Let’s start with the most blatant falsehood in the entire election season. Last January, Biden claimed, “I’ve done all I can do” to secure the border. He has taken almost 300 executive actions on immigration. Nearly all of these actions made immigration easier, including revoking some of Trump’s policies on his first day in office.

The second worst falsehood is his claim that he needs Congress to act. “Just give me the power I’ve asked from the very day I got into office,” he told reporters. Yet he operates under the same congressional laws as presidents Obama and Trump.

Trump states correctly that innocent young girls have been raped and killed by illegal immigrants. He is justified in saying that those girls would probably be alive today if the Trump immigration policies were still in place.

We are not vetting the immigrants we apprehend, to say nothing of all the got-aways. We don’t really know who they are or where they are. Some are connected to terrorist organizations. FBI Director Wray has testified that there is a serious fear of another 9/11.

Trump may exaggerate some facts. But in doing so, he is actually underestimating the seriousness of the threat.

Abortion. There are two extreme positions on abortion during pregnancy: that it should never be legal, or that it should always be legal. Ever since the original Roe v. Wade decision, polling has shown that the great majority of us are somewhere in the middle. However, the people who care most about the issue are at the extremes. Politicians in both parties are fearful of alienating the extremes.

In the presidential debate, Joe Biden should have been asked, “Is there ever a time when abortion should be illegal?” Most Democrats refuse to answer a question like that – reverting to something like “leave it up to the woman and her doctor.” A reasonable inference from that answer is that abortion should always be legal, regardless.

In the debate, Donald Trump claimed that Democrats in general and Biden in particular believe in the legality of killing babies after they are delivered. Even though a Democratic Virginia governor once seemed to suggest that, it is probably not factually correct. But it is very, very close to being correct. For most Democratic candidates, abortion should be legal one minute before delivery, and possibly even during delivery.

During the debate, Joe Biden seemed to be calling for a return to a national Roe v. Wade standard. But this falls way short of what most Democratic women’s groups want. Roe v. Wade allows for abortion to be outlawed once the fetus reaches the point of viability outside the womb. Fact-checkers should have noted that this more moderate approach to abortion is nowhere in the White House position paper on “reproductive rights.”

The War in Ukraine. Donald Trump says that there would have been no war in Ukraine had he been president. This is not a falsehood. It may not be true, but a very persuasive case can be made for it. Our withdrawal from Afghanistan signaled weakness and a lack of resolve. As Russia amassed troops and armor on the Ukraine border, Biden made confusing statements that Russia might have interpreted as indifference on our part. And, of course, Russia only invaded when Obama and Biden were presidents, and not when the president was Trump.

Deficit spending. Some fact-checkers claim that when Trump attacked Biden for running up debt, that was another falsehood. It is true that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget claims that Trump accumulated twice as much debt as Biden. Yet, this claim has been refuted by the House Budget Committee. Moreover, the official scorekeeper on this question is the Congressional Budget Office, whose ten-year projection finds that Biden’s policies will add far more to the national debt than Trump’s policies.

Corruption. The House Oversight Committee has documented that the Biden family has received more than $20 million – funneled through 24 shell companies. There is nothing wrong with Trump making an issue of this. It’s not a falsehood. Critics point out that there is no hard evidence that Joe Biden personally received any of this money (although there is circumstantial evidence). But that’s not the test. If money was given to influence policies, that’s illegal – even if the actual payment was made to family members, not the person making the policy decisions.

My suggestion to future fact-checkers: find the trees, but don’t miss the forest.


Read the original article on Townhall.com

John C. Goodman is President of the Goodman Institute and Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. His books include the soon-to-be-published updated edition of Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, the widely acclaimed A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and New Way to Care: Social Protections that Put Families First. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”

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