President Joe Biden stumbled through his Wednesday town hall with CNN, repeatedly making misleading or false claims that had to be amended later on.
Here are Biden’s shakiest answers from his performance alongside CNN host Don Lemon.
Republicans ‘Lying’ About Democrats Opposing Police
Biden argued in a response to questions from Lemon that Republicans who paint the Democratic Party as anti-police are “lying.”
“How do you respond to Republicans who try to paint you and your party as anti-police?” Lemon asked.
“They’re lying,” Biden said to applause from the audience. (RELATED: Don Lemon Promotes His Own Book As A Recommendation For White People)
Don Lemon: “How do you respond to Republicans who try to paint you and your party as anti-police?”
Pres. Biden: “They’re lying.” pic.twitter.com/3tPksfCYBV
— The Recount (@therecount) July 22, 2021
In fact, several Democratic politicians have supported defunding the police, including Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and innumerable state and local lawmakers.
“I believe the path toward justice is a long arc. Safety is not just an officer with a badge and a gun,” Ocasio-Cortez said in November, according to the New York Post. “Our [police budget] is too high,”
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform.
It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
Other Democrats, including Biden, recognized the party’s friendliness toward anti-police movements in the wake of the 2020 elections.
“We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again,” Virginia Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger reportedly said in November, adding that the party needs “to get back to basics” and that “if we run this race again we will get fucking torn apart again in 2022.”
Democratic Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin agreed, arguing that there are some serious problems with her party’s messaging and branding.
If Democrats themselves are criticizing their own party for being too anti-police, it is difficult to argue Republicans are “lying” when they make the same criticism.
Are Republicans ‘Abusing’ The Filibuster?
Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill have accused Republicans of “abusing” the filibuster and obstructing the passage of Democratic legislation for months, and Biden reiterated that point Wednesday.
A member of the audience asked Biden whether Republican voting reform measures justified abolishing the filibuster, to which Biden argued the filibuster should only be reformed.
“The abuse of the filibuster is pretty overwhelming,” Biden said, adding that decades ago, “if you were to filibuster, you had to stand on the floor and hold the floor.”
“So you had to take — there were significantly fewer filibusters in those days. In the middle of the civil rights movement.”
Biden says he wants to return to forcing senators to physically hold the floor to perform.
Don Lemon: “Why is protecting the filibuster, is that more important than protecting voting rights? Especially for people who fought and died for that?”
Joe Biden: “No. It’s not.” pic.twitter.com/K81OotmByj
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 22, 2021
This line of argument is misleading, however, due to the fact that Republicans have no more “abused” the filibuster under Biden than Democrats “abused” it under former President Donald Trump.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to break 314 Democratic filibusters seeking to block Trump’s nominees from being confirmed into their administration posts, the most by far of any president in history. In fact, nominees from all previous presidents combined faced just 244 roll coll votes to break through filibusters, according to Politico.
Are Republican Voting Bills ‘The Most Dangerous Threat’ To American Democracy?’
Biden doubled down on his argument that Republican voting reform bills in state legislatures across the country constitute the greatest threat to American democracy in its history.
He made the comments in the same discussion Lemon began over the filibuster, kicked off with Biden saying he stands by his past comments about Republican voting reform. He added that the laws are “Jim Crow on steroids.”
In reality, the Texas voting reform bill — the most recent of the Republican pieces of legislation — includes further protections for black and minority voters.
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) July 22, 2021
A similar reform bill in Georgia faced many of the same misleading criticisms from Democrats, who argued it was “Jim Crow 2.0,” but many of the Democrats’ criticisms of the legislation were outright false, such as the accusation that the bills withheld water from voters.
Democrats have painted Republican legislation containing voter identification laws as “voter suppression” that specifically targets minorities, despite voter ID laws existing in more than half of U.S. states.
Biden has a history of false statements regarding these Republican initiatives, arguing in late March that the Georgia bill would reduce the hours of early voting. The Washington Post gave the president four Pinocchios for the claim.
“One could understand a flub in a news conference. But then this same claim popped up in an official presidential statement,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote at the time. “Not a single expert we consulted who has studied the law understood why Biden made this claim, as this was the section of the law that expanded voting for many Georgians.”
Biden Overblows Vaccine Effectiveness
When discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, Biden overpromised on what exactly a vaccination does.
“If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit and you’re not going to die,” Biden began, going on to say regarding the new delta COVID variant that “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” (RELATED: ‘It’s Like His Mouth Is Falling Down The Stairs’: Critics Mock Biden’s CNN Town Hall)
None of these claims are wholly true. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledge that vaccinated people still face some risk of COVID-19 infection.
“Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19,” the CDC says on its website.
While vaccines are extremely effective in preventing Americans from contracting COVID-19, there have been occurrences of vaccinated people still contracting the virus and even rarer occurrences of vaccinated people suffering extreme cases.
Biden’s own White House has experienced several of these “breakout” cases in which a vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Such cases can be less severe than they might have been had the individual not been vaccinated.
The vaccines are also not a foolproof defense against the newer delta COVID variant, despite Biden’s statement. While the vaccines are largely effective against the new variant, early data shows that the delta variant is slightly more stubborn against certain vaccines.
Are Car Prices ‘Kind Of’ Back To Normal?
When an audience member asked Biden about growing inflation and prices for Americans, Biden argued that prices for automobiles are “kind of back to what it was before the pandemic.”
“The good news is the economy is picking up significantly. It’s rational when you think about it. The cost of an automobile bill, it’s kind of back to what it was before the pandemic. We compare what the prices were for the last year in the pandemic, and they are up. They’re up because, in fact, there was not much to call for,” Biden said in his response.
In reality, spiking auto prices have been a leading cause of inflation itself. The price of automobiles in June 2021 was 20% higher than in January 2020 and 19% higher than in June 2019, according to CNN.
Biden went on to make another misleading claim in his response to the inflation question, arguing that his administration has created more jobs in its first six months than any administration in history.
While the economy and jobs market has been surging back, that is due to the slow end of the COVID-19 pandemic than Biden’s policies themselves. Biden’s claim is also simply incorrect when adjusted for inflation, according to The Associated Press (AP).
President Jimmy Carter saw a 2.2% increase in jobs between February and June 1997, compared to Biden’s 2.1% in the same five months, AP reported.