Fact Checkers Call Out Joe Biden's False Coronavirus Claims

Fact Checkers Call Out Joe Biden’s False Coronavirus Claims

Joe Biden is playing revisionist history about the coronavirus.

June 4, 2020
Fact Checkers Call Out Joe Biden’s False Coronavirus Claims

Joe Biden is playing revisionist history about the coronavirus. In two of his rare public appearances, Biden has claimed that if President Trump had listened to him during January and shut down the country, tens of thousands of Americans would still be alive. He received two Pinocchios from the Washington Post fact check team for his claims, adding to the lies and falsehoods he has told about the situation surrounding the virus. 

The Breakfast Club: “Right now there is a study out at Columbia University and their disease control center up there. They pointed out that if he had listened to me and others and acted just one week earlier to deal with this virus, there’d be 36,000 fewer people dead.”

Biden’s claim originates from an op-ed that he wrote in late January in USA Today that charges Trump with being the wrong person to lead the nation during a pandemic. The op-ed was not a piece written in the interest of warning the nation of an upcoming pandemic or a prescription for how to respond to a crisis. Rather, it was a political attack in the latest string of attacks Biden had used against Trump. 

Washington Post:As we have previously noted, the USA Today article is more of an attack on Trump and a recollection of Obama administration steps taken against the 2014 Ebola outbreak than a detailed plan for action against a possible pandemic. But at the same time, Biden indicated that he took the threat seriously, even if he did not explicitly say a pandemic was on the way.”

The false claim from Biden adds to the mountain of false claims he’s made on coronavirus.

Four Pinocchios for Biden’s Campaign Editing a Video to Deliberately Misrepresent Comments by the President

Washington Post: “Over the next few seconds, the video shows a montage of intentionally unflattering clips of President Trump. So far, it looks like a standard Internet campaign ad. At the 10-second mark, the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying ‘coronavirus’ and then cuts to a wide shot where he says, ‘this is their new hoax.’”

The Truth:

Washington Post: “Both clips are from Trump’s Feb. 28 campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C., but he never said ‘coronavirus, this is their new hoax.’ Rather, Biden’s ad clipped a large part of Trump’s speech to make it seem as though he had.”

“Ultimately, the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that Trump had clarified his comments on the matter before the ad was released, and the blatant way the Biden camp isolated his remarks about the American Dream pushed us to Four Pinocchios.” 

Biden Butchered a Quote by President Trump to Make Trump’s Comments Seem Nefarious

Biden: “One of the Governors I spoke to, when they called and asked for help in terms of masks and other things, the President allegedly told her, ‘take care of yourself, that’s not my responsibility.’ I forget the exact phrase used.”

The Truth:

President Trump: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,’ Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times. ‘We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.’”

Mostly False: Biden’s Claim that the Trump Administration rejected WHO coronavirus test kits

Biden: “The World Health Organization offered, offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them.” 

The Truth:

Politifact: “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris. “This is consistent with experience since the United States does not ordinarily rely on WHO for reagents or diagnostic tests because of sufficient domestic capacity.”

“Biden’s emphasis on WHO offering kits is simply wrong. We rate this claim Mostly False.”

Three Pinocchios: Biden claimed the Trump Administration Had Not Made an Effort to Get “Our Experts” into China

Biden: “Early on in this crisis, I said, among others, that you know you should get into China and get our experts there. We have the best in the world. Get them in so we know what is actually happening. There was no effort to do that.”

The Truth:

Washington Post: “The administration at various levels sought access for CDC experts — and as noted earlier, an administration official, speaking not for attribution, says an offer to send staff was made at the presidential level”

White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien: “We continue to offer assistance to the Chinese. We have offered to send over the CDC and other US medical and public health officials…We have not heard back yet from the Chinese on the offers, but we are prepared to continue to cooperate with them.”

Biden said the Trump Administration Eliminated the Work of the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense

Biden: “The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to prepare for future pandemics like COVID-19. Donald Trump eliminated it — and now we’re paying the price.”

The Truth:

Washington Post Fact Checkers: “The office — as set up by Obama — was folded into another office. Thus, one could claim the office was eliminated. But the staff slots did not disappear and at least initially the key mission of the remained a priority. So one can also claim nothing changed and thus Biden’s criticism is overstated.”

Washington Post Opinion, Tim Morrison: “Because I led the very directorate assigned that mission, the counterproliferation and biodefense office, for a year and then handed it off to another official who still holds the post, I know the charge is specious.”

Four Pinocchios: ‘The Biden Campaign’s false claim a top CDC official was ‘silenced’’

Biden Advisor Ron Klain: “All the while, anyone who raised an alarm about this — a red flag — was silenced. Look no further than Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a career official at the Centers for Disease Control who was the first to raise the alarm. … Starting the next day, Dr. Messonnier no longer appeared at public briefings of the White House coronavirus task force. The president and the White House sent a clear message to scientists in the government — there would be a price for speaking out and speaking up.”

The Truth:

Washington Post: “Meanwhile, far from being silenced, Messonnier kept doing her telephone briefings with reporters — on Feb. 28, Feb. 29, March 3 and March 9. She also appeared in four videos shared on social media, such as this one from March 14.

“But that’s no excuse for this video to claim Messonnier was silenced when, in fact, she kept briefing reporters.”