Reality check: 5 Biden whoppers
President Biden's town hall event on Wednesday featured dubious claims regarding the economy, crime and coronavirus.
During an appearance this week in Cincinnati for a sparsely attended (and viewed) CNN Town Hall, President Biden was caught making inaccurate and misleading claims on topics from COVID-19 to crime and the economy, including these five:
1. "Crime is down, gun violence and murder rates are up."
"Crime is down, gun violence and murder rates are up," Biden said. "Guns. I'm the only guy that ever got passed legislation when I was a Senator to make sure we eliminated assault weapons."
While other categories of crime such as drug offenses and property crimes may be contributing to an overall decrease in crime rates, deadly violent crime remains far above average. Homicides spiked by roughly 30% nationally in 2020 and climbed 24% more during the first part of 2021, according to New York Magazine.
"A big driver in the rise of crime is gun violence," White House press secretary Jen Pskai recently said. "That's a personal passion of [the president's] for decades."
Yet, major Democrat-run cities which already have some of the strictest gun laws in the country— including New York, Washington and Chicago — have experienced upticks.
2. Doesn't "know anybody, including Larry Summers" who is "worried about inflation"
Amid mounting fears — including within the Biden Administration itself — of rising prices, Biden claimed this week that former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is not concerned about inflation. However, the Democrat economist who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations has been critical of Biden's economic actions, calling the stimulus bill earlier this year the "least responsible" economic policy in 40 years.
Recent inflation "relates to what in fact, is now needed, because we're growing," Biden told host Don Lemon at CNN's town hall event. "I don't know anybody, including Larry Summers, who's a friend of mine, who's worried about inflation."
Just over a week ago, however, Summers took a stance on inflation that conflicts with Biden's recent assurance. "These figures and labor market tightness and the behavior of housing markets and asset prices are all rising in a more concerning way than I worried about a few months ago," Summers told Politico. "This raises my degree of concern about an economic overheating scenario. There are huge uncertainties in the outlook, but I do believe the focus of concern right now should be on overheating."
3. Covid-proof and risk-free, "if you have these vaccinations"
In an attempt to convince more Americans to get vaccinated, Biden repeatedly claimed that vaccinated people are Covid-proof and risk-free.
"If you're vaccinated, you're not going to be hospitalized, you're not going to be in an ICU unit, and you are not going to die," Biden said at the town hall.
"If you’re vaccinated, even if you do catch the 'virus' ... you're not likely to get sick," he claimed. You’re probably going to be symptomless. You're not going to be in a position where your life is in danger."
Later in the broadcast he made the even more sweeping claim that "you're not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations."
Yet, a growing number of "breakthrough cases" — those testing positive for the virus after being fully vaccinated — are being reported, affecting everyone from some of the truant Texas Democrat lawmakers photographed maskless on a charter flight to the nation's capital to White House aides whose identities are being shielded from public disclosure. And the CDC continues to report thousands of deaths and other adverse reactions to the COVID vaccines themselves thought its Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
4. "They're been working on" COVID vaccines "for two decades."
Biden claimed during the town hall that the vaccines have been in development for over 20 years. But while the mRNA technology underlying the vaccine has been studied for many years, the COVID-19 virus has been circulating for less than two years.
"Everybody talks about how, you know, this virus came, this — the drugs that are designed to kill the virus came along so quickly," Biden said. "They've been working on it for two decades. There's nothing quick about this. It's been over two decades."
Development of the COVID-19 vaccine began in early 2020, which did not allow for the 10-15 years typically allotted for studies and trials.
5. COVID claimed more American lives "than every major war we've ever fought in the United States of America."
"This pandemic was out of control," Biden said. "We've lost more people in the United States — over 630-some thousand people — than every major war we've ever fought in the United States of America. More people have died than all our major wars combined. Think about that."
However, the Civil War alone resulted in a conservatively estimated 620,000 U.S. military deaths, and World War II claimed the lives of more than 400,000, according to data website statista.