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Double Check: Fact Checking the Vice Presidential Debate

Double Check: Fact Checking the Vice Presidential Debate

The Vice Presidential debate, between Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence took place last night. Here are some of our collected fact checks from the evening.

 

Vice President Pence declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power during the Vice Presidential debate.

TRUE 

VP Mike Pence avoided answering the question when asked what he would do if President Donald Trump refuses to step down if he loses the election. Instead, he said, “I must tell you, senator, your party has spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election.” At the first Presidential debate, Trump also declined to commit to accepting the outcome of the election should he end up losing.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Biden and Harris want to bury the American economy under a $2 trillion Green New Deal.

MISLEADING

The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution to combat climate change, calling on the federal government to wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy. It also aims to guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries. The resolution is not yet legislation, and there are no official government cost estimates. Multiple studies have been conducted to gauge the costs of the new Green Deal, but the range has differed widely. Noah Kaufman, a research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy told FactCheck that the deal is a set of ambitions, not policies, and how much things cost will depend on what the policies are. Any financial estimate should also be offset against the costs of not acting to combat the effects of climate change, monetary and otherwise.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Kamala Harris “did nothing” on criminal justice reform in California.

MISLEADING

Harris's criminal justice record as Attorney General of California has been filled with contradictions but she did implement some reform legislation. Harris has faced criticism for failing to intervene in several Civil Rights cases, including multiple police shootings and her choice to appeal a ruling which had overturned the death sentence of an African American inmate. However, in 2015, under Harris's jurisdiction, California became the first statewide agency to adopt a body camera program and also enforced a "first of its kind" law enforcement training regime. One of her most lauded initiatives was OpenJustice, a database that provided public access to crime statistics collected by the state. This included data about the use of force and won the support of some police groups as well as activists.

Read the full fact check here.

 

The President signed the Outdoors Act, the largest investment in our public lands and public parks in a hundred years

PARTLY TRUE

President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) after it received bipartisan support in August this year. Although the administration was lauded for passing the bill, Trump's previous budget proposals suggest he wanted to slash conservation funding. While Trump was praised for the introduction of the GAOA, his support for the legislation is a reversal of his previous desire to slash the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), according to The Hill. Trump had initially proposed slashing the LWCF’s funding by nearly 97 percent for next year's fiscal budget. The administration’s budget proposals from past years had also suggested significant cuts to the LWCF.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Biden opposed the raid against Bin Laden

MISLEADING

From anecdotal evidence of Obama officials and Biden's interviews, it can be concluded that Joe Biden was skeptical of the operation not opposed to it. Although some accounts of Biden’s position are contradictory, none of the descriptions indicate that he opposed the raid. He was reluctant initially and wanted more information, and confirmation of Bin Laden’s location before launching the raid. Mike Pence implied in his speech that Biden was wholly opposed to the raid, and we conclude that this claim is misleading.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Under President Trump, the US has reduced CO2 emissions more than countries still in the climate accord

FALSE

Climate Action Tracker (CAT) ranked U.S. Paris targets as “insufficient” and categorized the country’s efforts as “critically insufficient,” their lowest ranking, which they received under Trump. The current administration has attempted to roll back the Clean Power Plan; sought to relax vehicle efficiency standards to such an extent that even vehicle manufacturers have objected; and announced plans to weaken regulations to limit HFC emissions and regulation of methane leaks from oil and gas production. Moreover, out of the 20 countries that emitted the most Co2 in 2018, the US stood at number 2, after China. While it is true that the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions have declined by more than 10 percent in the past decade, more than a dozen other countries — including most of the European Union — have seen declines of more than twice that.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Biden has promised to abolish the production of American oil, coal, shale and natural gas

Biden's policy proposals do not indicate a complete ban on fracking or the abolishing of American oil, coal, shale and natural gas. Biden’s climate change plan would end new leases for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas on federal lands. Still, it would not ban existing fracking on public lands or new or existing fracking on private land. Biden’s climate plan would not ban oil drilling and does not bar any specific method for extracting fossil fuels.

Read the full fact check here.

 

The U.S.'s death rate is 2.5 times that of Canada

TRUE

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center data shows that Canada's deaths/100k population stands at 25.86 while the figure for the US is 64.46. A comparative analysis of Canada and the US's responses to the coronavirus by The Washington Post highlighted that even though Canada had spots where the breakouts were substantial, the country has fared better than the US. "The close allies share similar connections to initial hot spots in China and Europe, and they confirmed their first cases within a week of each other in January. But the United States has since reported more than three times as many total infections per capita, and nearly twice as many deaths," according to the report. 

Read the full fact check here.

 

The president was informed about the airborne nature of Coronavirus on January 28th.

PARTLY TRUE

President Donald Trump admitted he knew that the virus was airborne weeks before the first confirmed Coronavirus death in the country. As per journalist Bob Woodward’s book “Rage,” Trump was aware of the airborne nature of the virus, even before the first case surfaced in the country on Jan 20. In an interview with Woodward, Trump called the virus- “deadly stuff”. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in the Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” Trump had said. 

Read the full fact check here.

 

We're going through a pandemic that caused 22 million job losses at the height.

TRUE

Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick Kamala Harris claimed that more than 22 million Americans lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As per a US labour data report, More than 22 million people filed for unemployment aid in April due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, resulting in an unemployment rate of 14.7%, a level not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Read the full fact check here.

 

Joe Biden opposed President Trump's decision to suspend all travel from China.

MISLEADING

On January 31, Trump issued an executive order blocking entry to the U.S. from anyone who has been in China in the last 14 days. On February 2, 2020, Biden tweeted, "We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump's record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency." Biden never came out against Trump's decision to restrict travel from China. He was slow in staking a position on the matter, and criticised what he perceived as Trump’s xenophobia in enacting the ban and referring to the COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus,” but he supported travel restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Read the full fact check here.

 

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