Biden makes misleading claims about debt added in Trump years: Even PolitiFact rated it 'half true'

According to an analysis published by left-leaning PolitiFact in March, Biden is "on pace to exceed Trump’s mark" on the national debt "by the time his term ends."

President Biden made some misleading statements at the White House related to the public debt that was added during former President Trump's first term, one of which left-leaning PolitiFact rated "half true."

"He increased the deficit more than any other president has in history," Biden said on Wednesday at the White House after progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, delivered remarks during an event about lowering health care and prescription drug costs.

During former President Obama's two terms in office when Biden was vice president, the national debt went up by more than $9.5 trillion, per U.S. Treasury figures.

Biden also left out that the Democratic-led House under then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the GOP-led Senate under then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., passed several economic stimulus bills after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. These bills were passed during Trump's first term and the spending programs in the legislation supercharged the national debt for the rest of his term.

In FY2020, the deficit reached a record-breaking high of $3 trillion, which was added to the national debt. For comparison, in FY2019, the deficit was $984.4 billion. The national debt was $27.7 trillion when Biden first took office on Jan. 20, 2021. The total national debt is currently $34.6 trillion, the latest U.S. Department of Treasury data.

Based on these figures, Biden has already added close to $7 trillion to the national debt, compared to $7.8 trillion for Trump's full first term. Treasury Department data shows that the debt increase by percentage under Barack Obama far outpaced Trump's by almost twice as much. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson lead the list by far, with 791% and 789% increases. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in February that the deficit will be $1.6 trillion for fiscal year 2024, the final fiscal year of Biden's first term. According to a PolitiFact analysis published in March, Biden is "on pace to exceed Trump’s mark" on the national debt "by the time his term ends."

In the analysis, PolitiFact concluded that Biden's previous claim that Trump "added more to the national debt than any presidential term in American history" was only "half true," noting that the debt added under Biden will soon exceed Trump's total.

Biden also repeated that same claim in his speech at the White House after Sanders addressed the audience.

Biden has also frequently said he reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion but the deficit went down as pandemic stimulus programs expired.