Fact checking the CNN presidential debate | CNN Politics (2024)

CNN

Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump made false and misleading claims during CNN’s presidential debate on Thursday – but Trump did so far more than Biden, just like in theirdebates in 2020.

Trump made more than30 false claims at the Thursday debate. They included numerous claims that CNN and others have already debunked during the current presidential campaign or prior.

Trump’s repeat falsehoods included his assertions that some Democratic-led statesallow babies to be executed after birth, thatevery legal scholar and everybody in general wanted Roe v. Wade overturned, that there wereno terror attacks during his presidency, thatIran didn’t fund terror groups during his presidency,thatthe US has provided more aid to Ukraine than Europe has, thatBiden for years referred to Black people as “super predators,” that Biden isplanning to quadruple people’s taxes, thatthen-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned down 10,000 National Guard troops for the US Capitol on January 6, 2021,that Americans don’t pay the cost of his tariffs on China and other countries, thatEurope accepts no American cars, thathe is the president who got the Veterans Choice program through Congress, andthat fraud marred the results of the 2020 election.

Trump also added some new false claims, such as his assertions that the US currently has its biggest budget deficit and its biggest trade deficit with China. Both records actually occurred under Trump.

Biden made at least nine false or misleading claims in the debate. He used false numbers while describing two of his key Medicare policies, falsely claimed that no US troops had been killed on his watch, repeated hisusual misleading figureabout billionaires’ tax rates, baselessly claimed that Trump wants to eliminate Social Security, falsely said that the unemployment rate was 15% when he took office, inaccurately said that the Border Patrol union had endorsed him before clarifying that he was talking about agents’ support for the border bill he had backed, and exaggerated Trump’s 2020 comments about the possibility of treating Covid-19 by injecting disinfectant.

Here is a detailed fact check from CNN’s reporting team of some of those claims.

Trump on abortion policy after Roe v. Wade

Trump repeated his frequent claim that “everybody” wanted Roe v. Wade overturned and the power to set abortion policy returned to individual states. He said: “Everybody wanted to get it back to the states, everybody, without exception: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives. Everybody wanted it back. Religious leaders.” He also added: “Every legal scholar wanted it that way.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims arefalse. Poll after poll has shown that most Americans – two-thirds or nearly two-thirds of respondents in multiple polls – wish Roe would have been preserved. And multiple legal scholars have told CNN that they had wanted Roe preserved.

A CNN poll conducted by SSRS in April 2024 found 65% of adults opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe. That’s nearly identical to the result of a CNN poll conducted by SSRS in July 2022, the month after the decision. Similarly, a Marquette Law School poll in February 2024 found 67% of adults opposed the decision that overturned Roe.

A NBC News poll in June 2023 found 61% opposition among registered voters to the decision that overturned Roe. A Gallup poll in May 2023 found 61% of adults called the decision a bad thing.

And “any claim that all legal scholars wanted Roe overturned is mind-numbingly false,” Rutgers Law School professor Kimberly Mutcherson, a legal scholar who supported the preservation of Roe, said in April.

“Donald Trump’s claim is flatly incorrect,” another legal scholar who did not want Roe overturned, Maya Manian, an American University law professor and faculty director of the university’s Health Law and Policy Program, said in April.

Trump’s claim is “obviously not” true, said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, who is an expert on the history of the US abortion debate. Ziegler, who also did not want Roe overturned, said in an April interview: “Most legal scholars probably track most Americans, who didn’t want to overturn Roe. … It wasn’t as if legal scholars were somehow outliers.”

It is true that some legal scholars who support abortion rights wished that Roe had been written differently; the late liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of them. But Ziegler noted that although “there was a cottage industry of legal scholars kind of rewriting Roe – ‘what Roe should’ve said’ — that isn’t saying Roe should’ve been overturned. Those are very different things.”

You can read more here.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Trump on Democrats and abortion

Trump repeated his frequent claim that Democrats will kill babies in the “eighth month, the ninth month of pregnancy, or even after birth.” After Biden said that he would “restore Roe v. Wade” if reelected, Trump said, “So that means he can take the life of the baby in the ninth month and even after birth, because some states – Democrat-run – take it after birth.”Trump pointed to the former Virginia governor’s support of a bill that would loosen restrictions on late-term abortions as an example.

Trump also said later in the debate that some “Democrat-run” states allow babies to be killed after birth.

Facts First: Trump’s claim about Democrats killing babies after birth is nonsense; that is infanticide and illegal in all 50 states. A very small percentage of abortions happen at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy.

According to data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 0.9% of reported abortions in 2020 occurred at 21 weeks or later. (Many of these abortions occur because of serious health risks or lethal fetal anomalies.) By contrast, 80.9% of reported abortions in 2020 were conducted before 10 weeks, 93.1% before 14 weeks and 95.8% before 16 weeks.

Trump invoked controversial comments made in 2019 by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, as he voiced support for a state measure that would significantly loosen restrictions on late-term abortions when the fetus was not viable. Northam was not talking about infanticide, which Virginia continues to prohibit.

There are some cases in which parents decide to choose palliative care for babies who are born with deadly conditions that give them just minutes, hours or days to live. That is simply not the same as killing a baby.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Jen Christensen

Trump on the ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’ controversy

Trump denied that he had used the words “suckers” or “losers” to describe members of the US military who had been killed in action, after Biden pointed to the remarks to criticize his predecessor’s record on supporting veterans. And he claimed that the idea he had made these remarks was “made up by him,” Biden.

Facts First: Trump’s claim that Biden made up this story is false. The story was initially reported by The Atlantic. The magazine, citing four unnamed sources with “firsthand knowledge,” reported in 2020 that on the day Trump canceled a visit to a military cemetery in France where US troops who were killed in World War I are buried, he had told members of his senior staff, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” The magazine also reported that in another conversation on the same trip, Trump had referred to marines who had been killed in the region as “suckers.”

John Kelly, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff and secretary of Homeland Security, has said on the record that in 2018 Trump did use the words “suckers” and “losers” to refer to servicemembers who were killed in action. Kelly told CNN anchor Jim Sciutto for Sciutto’s 2024 book that Trump would say: “Why do you people all say that these guys who get wounded or killed are heroes? They’re suckers for going in the first place, and they’re losers.”

There is no public recording of Trump making such remarks, so we can’t definitively call Trump’s denial false. But it wasn’t Biden’s invention.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kaanita Iyer

Biden on his record as commander-in-chief

Biden claimed that he is the only president this decade “that doesn’t have any … troops dying anywhere in the world, like he did,” referring to Trump.

“Truth is, I’m the only president this century, that doesn’t have any, this decade, that doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like he did,” Biden said.

Facts First:Biden is wrong. US service members have died abroad during his presidency, including 13 troops killed in a suicide bombing during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Thirteen US service members — including 11 Marines, one Army special operations soldier, and one Navy corpsman — werekilled in the suicide bombingat the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Three US soldiers were alsokilled this yearat a small US outpost in Jordan in a one-way drone attack launched by Iran-backed militants.And two US Navy SEALsdied in Januaryoff the coast of Somalia while conducting a night-time seizure of lethal aid being transported from Iran to Yemen.

Other US service members have also died abroad in training incidents, includingfiveUS soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in November 2023 during a routine refueling mission, andeight US airmenwho died in a CV-22 Osprey crash in November 2023 off the coast of Yakushima Island, Japan.

From CNN’s Haley Britzky

Trump on Biden and the term “super predators”

Trump claimed that Biden called Black people “super predators” for a decade in the 1990s.

“What he’s done to the Black population is horrible, including the fact that for 10 years he called them ‘super predators’ – in the 1990s – we can’t forget that,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. Biden never publicly deployed the phrase “super predators” or endorsed the criminological theory behind it (which held that there was a new breed of highly and remorselessly violent young offenders), let alone do so for 10 years. Biden did refer to “predators on our streets” who were “beyond the pale” while promoting the 1994 crime bill, but he did not specify that he was talking about people of any particular race.

As reported by CNN’s KFILE in 2019, Biden said in a 1993 Senate floor speech in support of the crime bill that “we have predators on our streets that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created.” And he urged the government to focus on the people he said were in danger of becoming “the predators 15 years from now” if their lives weren’t changed – “the cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally … have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity.”

But Biden did not speak of “super predators.”

Four years later, in a 1997 hearing, he noted that the vast majority of youth criminal cases involved nonviolent offenses and said, “When we talk about the juvenile justice system, we have to remember that most of the youth involved in the system are not the so-called super predators.”

It was Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, who affirmatively used the phrase “super predators” as she argued in support of the 1994 crime bill (in 1996). She said in 2016 that she shouldn’t have used that language.

Trump wrote in a 2000 book that he supported tougher sentencing and street policing and warned of “wolf packs” of young criminals roaming the streets – and he cited a since-discredited statistical analysis that was linked to the “super predator” theory.

From CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Daniel Dale

Trump on Iran’s funding for Hamas and Hezbollah

Trump claimed that when he was president, Iran “had no money for Hamas” and no money “for terror.”

“Do you wanna know why? Because Iran was broke with me. I wouldn’t let anybody do business with them. They ran out of money. They were broke,” he said. “They had no money for Hamas, they had no money for anything. No money for terror. That’s why you had no terror, at all, during my administration. This place, the whole world is blowing up under him.” He added later that Iran also had “no money” for Hezbollah.

Facts First: Trump’s claims that Iran had “no money for Hamas,” “no money for terror” and no money for Hezbollah during his presidency is false. Iran’s funding for such groups did decline in the second half of his presidency, in large part because his sanctions on the country had a major negative impact on the Iranian economy, but the funding never stopped entirely, as four experts told CNN earlier this month.

Trump’s own administration said in 2020 that Iran was continuing to fund terror groups including Hezbollah. The Trump administration began imposing sanctions on Iran in late 2018, pursuing a campaign known as “maximum pressure.” But Trump-appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said himself in 2020 that Iran was continuing to fund terror groups. “So you continue to have, in spite of the Iranian leadership demanding that more money be given to them, they are using the resources that they have to continue funding Hezbollah in Lebanon and threatening the state of Israel, funding Iraqi terrorist Shia groups, all the things that they have done historically – continuing to build out their capabilities even while the people inside of their own country are suffering,” Pompeo said in a May 2020 interview, according to a transcript posted on the State Department’s website.

Trump could have fairly said that his sanctions on Iran had made life more difficult for terror groups (though it’s unclear how much their operations were affected). Instead, he continued his years-old practice of exaggerating even legitimate achievements.

You can read a more detailed fact check from earlier in June here.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Biden on drug prices

Biden touted two measures that his administration and congressional Democrats have enacted to reduce drug prices.

“We brought down the price of prescription drugs, which is a major issue for many people, to $15 for a insulin shot as opposed to $400. No senior has to pay more than $200 for any drug … beginning next year,” Biden said.

Facts First: Biden is wrong. He incorrectly described two key provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act that aim to reduce prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

Under the law, Medicare enrollees don’t pay more than $35 a month for each insulin prescription.

The law also placed a cap on Medicare’s Part D drug plans so that seniors and people with disabilities won’t pay more than $2,000 a year in out-of-pocket costs for medications bought at the pharmacy, starting in 2025. Biden corrected himself later in the debate to use the $2,000 figure when talking about the cap on those out-of-pocket costs.

From CNN’s Tami Luhby

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden take part in the CNN presidential debate on Thursday, June 27.

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First lady Jill Biden, right, joins her husband as he talks with moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash after the debate.

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People gather on the floor of the post-debate "spin room," which was held at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion across from CNN's headquarters.

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US Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential pick for Trump's running mate, waves in the spin room after the debate.

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The Bidens embrace after the debate.

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Trump and Biden were debating each other for the first time since 2020.

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Biden appeared to struggle with his delivery at multiple points during the debate. He cleared his throat or coughed multiple times, a condition that his doctor has previously stated is caused by acid reflux.His voice sounded hoarse and raspy, even more so than usual. He has been battling a cold in recent days, sources familiar with his debate preparations said.

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People watch the debate at Union Pub in Washington, DC.

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Photographers take photos of the candidates during the first of two commercial breaks.

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Trump makes a point early in the debate. Trump launched his bid to reclaim the White House in November 2022, aiming to become only the second commander in chief to win two nonconsecutive terms.

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People watch the debate in Washington, DC.

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Microphones were muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it was to speak.

Heading into debate night, the latest update to the CNNPollofPolls found a tight race with no clear leader.

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Biden, at 81, is the oldest president to ever hold office. He would be 86 at the end of a second term.

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Trump watches Biden answer a question.

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Biden watches Trump during the debate's first hour.

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Trump exits the stage during one of the commercial breaks.

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The candidates levied personal attacks against each other as they sparred over the economy, immigration, abortion and more.

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With less than five months until the election, the stakes were high asthecandidates made their pitch to voters. Another debate is scheduled for September 10.

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Biden looks at his notes during the debate.

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Trump responds to a question.

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The candidates are seen on monitors from the side of the stage.

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Biden's campaign won a coin toss before the debate to choose which side he would stand on. Trump's campaign then chose for the former president to deliver the last closing statement.

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Trump answers a question during the debate.

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Biden addresses Trump directly during the debate.

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Bash and Tapper are seen during the debate.

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Biden answers an early question.

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No props or pre-written notes were allowed on the stage. Candidates were given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water.

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A camera captures the debate from CNN's Atlanta studios.

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Trump speaks during the debate.

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Tapper looks at his notes during the debate.

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The debate rules are explained before Biden and Trump took the stage.

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Tapper and Bash prepare for the debate on Thursday.

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Supporters of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. protest outside the White House on Thursday. They were upset that Kennedy was not invited to the debate.

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MJ Lee, senior White House correspondent for CNN, prepares for a live shot in Atlanta before the debate.

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Biden greets supporters outside his hotel in Atlanta on Thursday.

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Trump arrives in Atlanta on Thursday.

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Kennedy supporter Burk Stringfellow protests outside the White House on Thursday.

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Debate banners hang from McCamish Pavilion across the street from the CNN campus in Atlanta.

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Satellite dishes are seen at CNN's Atlanta headquarters on Monday.

In pictures: Biden and Trump face off in CNN presidential debate

Biden on border crossings dropping during his administration

Biden said border crossings had dropped 40% since he took executive action to tighten the border in early June, arguing that the numbers are better than when Trump left office.

“What I’ve done since I changed the law, what’s happened? I’ve changed it in a way that now you’re in situation where there are 40% fewer people coming across the border illegally,” Biden said.

Facts First: This is misleading.

The number of daily encounters at the US southern border dropped 40% following Biden’s executive action restricting asylum access earlier this month. While there’s been a recent drop in border crossings, the number of people crossing the US-Mexico border was generally lower during the Trump administration.

From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez

Biden on support from the Border Patrol union

Biden said the Border Patrol union endorsed him, and then appeared to clarify and said the group “endorsed (his) position.”

Facts First: This is misleading. The National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents, backed a bipartisan border deal reached by senators that included some of the toughest security measures in recent memory, but didn’t endorse Biden. The deal failed in the Senate.

In a post on X, the union swiftly responded to the president Thursday: “To be clear, we never have and never will endorse Biden.”

From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez

Trump on the National Guard in Minneapolis

Trump said that he deployed the National Guard to Minneapolis in 2020 during the unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“When they ripped down Portland, when they ripped down many other cities. You go to Minnesota, Minneapolis, what they’ve done there with the fires all over the city – if I didn’t bring in the National Guard, that city would have been destroyed.”

Facts First: This is false. Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, not Trump, deployed the Minnesota National Guard during the 2020 unrest; Walz first activated the Guard more than seven hours before Trump publicly threatened to deploy the Guard himself. Walz’s office told CNN in 2020 that the governor activated the Guard in response to requests from officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul – cities also run by Democrats.

You can read more here.

From CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Daniel Dale

Trump on the European Union’s trade practices

Trump, complaining about the European Union’s trade practices, claimed that the EU doesn’t accept US products, including American cars. “They don’t wantanything that we have,” Trump said Thursday. “But we’re supposed to take theircars, their food, their everything, their agriculture.”

Facts First: It’s not true that the European Union won’t take American products, including American cars, though some US exports do face EU trade barriers and though US automakers have often had a hard time gaining popularity with European consumers.

The US exported about $368 billion in goods to the European Union in 2023 (while importing about $576 billion from the EU that year), federal figures show. According to a December 2023 report from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, the EU is the second-largest market for US vehicle exports — importing 271,476 US vehicles in 2022, valued at nearly 9 billion euro. (Some of these are vehicles made by European automakers at plants in the US.) The EU’s Eurostat statistical office says that car imports from the US hit a new peak in 2020, Trump’s last full year in office, at a value of about 11 billion euro.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Ella Nilsen

Biden on Black unemployment

Biden attempted to contrast himself with Trump on the economy. He said, “Black unemployment is the lowest level it’s been in a long, long time.”

Facts First: This is false. While the Black or African American unemployment rate hit a record low under Biden in April 2023, 4.8%, the rate was up to 6.1% in May 2024 – higher than in eight months of the Trump presidency.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kaanita Iyer

Trump on job growth during Biden’s presidency

Trump said of President Biden, “The only jobs he created were for illegal immigrants and ‘bounce-back jobs,’ a bounce-back from the Covid.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims that the job growth during Biden’s presidency has been all “bounce-back” gains where people went back to their old jobs is not fully correct.

Nearly 22 million jobs were lost under Trump in March and April 2020 when the global economy cratered on account of the pandemic. Following substantial relief and recovery measures, the US started regaining jobs immediately, adding more than 12 million jobs from May 2020 through December 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The recovery continued after Biden took office, with the US reaching and surpassing its pre-pandemic (February 2020) employment totals in June 2022.

The job gains didn’t stop there. Since June 2022, the US has added nearly 6.2 million more jobs in what’s become the fifth-longest period of employment expansion on record. In total under Biden, 15.6 million jobs have been added.

But it’s not entirely fair nor accurate to say the jobs gained were all “bounce-back” or were people simply returning to their former positions.

The pandemic drastically reshaped the employment landscape. For one, a significant portion of the labor force did not return due to early retirements,deaths, long Covidor caregiving responsibilities.

Additionally, because of shifts in consumer spending patterns as well as health-and-safety implications, public-facing industries could not fully reopen or restaff immediately. Some of those workers found jobs in other industries or used the opportunity to start their own businesses.

When the pandemic was more under control and in-person activities could fully resume, those industries faced worker shortages.

The pandemic recovery included what’s been called the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffling, where people – for a variety of reasons – switched jobs or careers.

From CNN’s Alicia Wallace

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Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden debate at CNN's Atlanta studios on June 27, 2024.

Trump on the Paris climate accord

Trump claimed that the Paris climate accord would have cost the US $1 trillion, that it was the only country that had to pay, and that China, India and Russia weren’t paying. Trump called the accord “a rip-off of the United States.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that the US would alone have had to pay $1 trillion as part of the Paris climate accord is wildly inflated.

As part of the Paris agreement, in 2009, the US and other developed nations, including Western European countries, committed to collectivelycontribute $100 billion per yearby 2020 to help poorer, developing countries, predominantly in the Global South, adapt to the impacts of climate change like sea level rise and worsening heat. Developed nationsmet their collective goal two years latein 2022, but the figure has never been as high as Trump was suggesting – and the US has certainly never paid $1 trillion in international climate finance.

Under the Obama administration, the US paid $1 billion of a $3 billion commitment it originally made in 2014. After Trump pulled the country out of the Paris accord, the US paid nothing to the global finance goal. And while Biden pledged $11.4 billion annually from the US, this level of funding hasn’t materialized. That’s because Congress, responsible for appropriating the nation’s budget, has allocated only a fraction of that – roughly $1 billion in 2022.

Trump is correct that countries including China, India and Russia have thus far not contributed to international climate finance. However, China’s position as the largest global emitter means many countries are pressuring it to contribute to international climate finance through a formal process.

From CNN’s Ella Nilsen

Trump on Biden and a Ukrainian prosecutor

Trump brought up an anti-Biden lie about Ukraine that has been a mainstay of both the2020and2024presidential cycles, plus Trump’s 2019 impeachment.

Trump slammed Biden for supposedly “telling the Ukrainian people” to “change the prosecutor, otherwise, you’re not getting $1 billion,” referring to Biden’s efforts to remove Ukraine’s top prosecutor in 2016. Trump also claimed the Ukrainian prosecutor’s ouster was related to Biden’s “son,” referencing Hunter Biden, who at the time was on the board for a prominent Ukrainian energy company.

“If I ever said that, that’s quid pro quo,” Trump quipped.

Facts First: Trump’s claims are false.

Since 2019, Trump and his Republican allies have falsely accused Biden of abusing his powers while serving as vice president to get a top Ukrainian prosecutor fired, supposedly because the prosecutor’s probe into the Ukrainian energy giant Burisma Holdings threatened his son, Hunter Biden.

This claim was never true and has been repeatedly debunked. Nonetheless, it is one of the most-cited talking points used by Republicans against Biden during any discussion about his ties to Ukraine.

In reality, Biden’s actions toward the prosecutor were consistent with bipartisan US policy, and was in lockstep with what America’s European allies were pushing for at the time. They sought to remove the prosecutor because he wasn’t doing enough to crack down on corruption in Ukraine – including at Burisma.

The Obama administration, career US diplomats, US allies, the International Monetary Fund and Ukrainian anti-corruption activists, and even Senate Republicans, among others, all made clear that they were displeased with the performance of Viktor Shokin, who became Ukraine’s prosecutor general in 2015.

It is not clear how aggressively Shokin was investigating Burisma or its oligarch owner – or if there was even an active investigation – at the time that Joe Biden successfully pushed for Shokin’s firing in 2016.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Senate Republicans led a probe to find evidence on whether Biden abused his position to help his family financially, but came up empty. As the 2024 campaign approached, House Republicans put these false claims at the center of their now-flatlined impeachment inquiry into Biden.

From CNN’s Marshall Cohen

Trump on tariffs

Trump claimed that his proposal to impose a 10% tariff on all goods coming into the US would not raise prices on Americans and instead cost other countries.

“It’s just going to cost countries that have been ripping us off for years, like China, and many others,” Trump said.

Facts First:This is false.Studyafterstudyincludingone from the federal government’s bipartisan US International Trade Commission(USITC), have shown that American consumers and industries bear almost the entire cost of US tariffs, including those duties previously imposed by Trump.

When the US puts a tariff on an imported good, the cost of the tariff comes directly out of the bank account of an American importer when the foreign-made product arrives at a US port. It’s possible that some foreign manufacturers lowered their prices to stay competitive in the US market after Trump raised tariffs – but not enough to keep the cost paid by American importers the same as before.

As of June 12, American importers have paid more than $240 billion for tariffs that Trump imposed – and Biden mostly left in place – on imported solar panels, steel, aluminum, and Chinese-made goods, according toUS Customs and Border Protection.The USITCfoundthat US importers, on average between 2018 and 2021, ended up paying nearly the full cost of the tariffs because import prices increased at the same rate as the tariffs. For each 1% increase in the tariff rate, the price paid by the American importer also went up 1%.

Once an importing company pays the tariff, it can decide to eat the cost or pass all or some of it to the buyer of its goods – whether that’s a retailer or a consumer. For example, American shoe seller Deer Stags, which imports most of its product line from China, decided to do a little bit of both.

It was harder to get customers to pay more for existing styles that Deer Stags had carried for a long time, company president Rick Muskattold CNN.So the company ended up eating the cost of the tariffs placed on some older styles and charging more for some new items.

Economistsgenerally agreethat tariffs drive up prices . ThePeterson Institute for International Economicsrecently estimated that Trump’s proposed 10% across-the-board tariff, together with his proposal to impose a 60% tariff on all imports from China, would cost the typical middle-income household at least $1,700 a year. AndJP Morgan economistsestimated in 2019 that the tariffs Trump imposed on about $300 billion of Chinese-made goods would cost the average American household $1,000 a year.

From CNN’s Katie Lobosco

Trump on hiscriminal cases

Trump repeated his frequent claims that Biden and his Justice Department were behind Trump’s four indictments, including the Manhattan hush money case in which Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

“He indicted me because I was his opponent,” Trump said of Biden.

Of the Manhattan conviction, Trump said: “That was a case that was started and moved. They moved a high-ranking official at DOJ into the Manhattan DA’s office to start that case.”

Facts First: There is no evidence supporting either of Trump’s claims.

Grand juries made up of ordinary citizens – in New York, Georgia, Florida and Washington, DC – approved the indictments in each of Trump’s criminal cases. There is no basis for the claim that Biden ordered Trump to be criminally charged or face civil trials.

There is also no evidence that Biden or the federal Justice Department had any role in launching or running Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution – and Bragg, a Democrat, is a locally elected official who does not report to the federal government. The indictment in the case was approved by a grand jury of ordinary citizens.

Trump’s two federal indictments were brought by a special counsel, Jack Smith. Smith was appointed in November 2022 by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, but that is not proof that Biden was involved in the prosecution effort, much less that Biden personally ordered the indictments. Garland has said that he would resign if Biden ever asked him to actagainst Trump but that he was sure that would never happen.

As he did during the debate, Trump has repeatedly invoked a lawyer on Bragg’s team, Matthew Colangelo, while making claims about the Justice Department’s involvement in the New York case. Colangelo left the Justice Department in 2022 to join the district attorney’s office as senior counsel to Bragg. But there is no evidence that Biden had anything to do with Colangelo’s employment decision. Colangelo and Bragg had been colleagues before Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney in 2021.

Before Colangelo worked at the Justice Department, he and Bragg worked at the same time in the office of New York’s state attorney general, where Colangelo investigated Trump’s charity and financial practices and was involved in bringing various lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Trump on other countries doing business with Iran during his presidency

Trump claimed that China, among other countries, “passed” on doing business with Iran during his presidency after he vowed that the US would not do business with any country that does so.

“Iran was broke. Anybody that did business with Iran, including China, they couldn’t do business with the United States. They all passed,” Trump said.

Facts First: This is false.

China’s oil imports from Iran did briefly plummet under Trump in 2019, the year his administration made a concerted effort to deter such purchases, but they never stopped – and then they rose sharply again while Trump was still president.

“The claim is untrue because Chinese crude imports from Iran haven’t stopped at all,” Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, a market intelligence firm, told CNN in November.

China’s official statistics recorded no purchases of Iranian crude in Trump’s last partial month in office, January 2021, and none in most of Biden’s first year in office. But that doesn’t mean China’s imports ceased; industry experts say it is widely known that China has used a variety of tactics to mask its continued imports from Iran.

Smith said Iranian crude is often listed in Chinese data as being from Malaysia; ships may travel from Iran with their transponders switched off and then turn them on when they are near Malaysia, Smith said, or they may transfer the Iranian oil to other ships.

Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, said in a November email: “China significantly reduced its imports from Iran from around 800,000 barrels per day in 2018 to 100,000 in late 2019. But by the time Trump left office, they were back to upwards to 600(000)-700,000 barrels.”

Vaez’s comments were corroborated by Kpler data Smith provided to CNN. Kpler found that China imported about 511,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude in December 2020, Trump’s last full month in office. The low point under Trump was March 2020, when global oil demand crashed because of Covid-19. Even then, China imported about 87,000 barrels per day, Kpler found. (Since data on Iranian oil exports is based on cargo tracking by various companies and groups, other entities may have different data.)

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kaanita Iyer

Trump on the impact of immigration on Medicare and Social Security

Trump said at least twice during the debate that Biden will destroy Social Security and Medicare by puttingmigrants entering the US onthe benefits.

“These millions and millions of people coming in, they’re trying to put them on Social Security. He will wipe out Social Security. He will wipe out Medicare,” Trump said.

Facts First:Trump is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true, particularly in the near term, multiple experts say. Many undocumented immigrants work, which means they pay much-needed payroll taxes, and this bolsters the Social Security and Medicare trust funds and extends their solvency. Immigrantswho are working legally typically won’t collect benefits for many years. As for those who are undocumented, some are working under fake Social Security numbers, so they are paying payroll taxes but don’t qualify to collect benefits.

The Social Security Administration looked at the effects of unauthorized immigration on the Social Security trust funds. It found that in 2010, earnings by unauthorized workers contributed roughly $12 billion on net to the entitlement program’s cash flow. The agency has not updated the analysis since, but this year’s Social Security trustees report noted that increasing average annual total net immigration by 100,000 persons improves the entitlement program’s solvency.

“We estimate that future years will experience a continuation of this positive impact on the trust funds,” said the report on unauthorized immigration.

Meanwhile, unauthorized immigrants contributed more than $35 billion on net to Medicare’s trust fund between 2000 and 2011, extending the life of the trust fund by a year, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“Immigrants tend to be younger and employed, which increases the number of workers paying into the system,” said Gary Engelhardt, a Syracuse University economics professor. “Also, they have more children, which helps boost the future workforce that will pay payroll taxes.”

“Immigrants are good for Social Security,” he said.

However, undocumented immigrants who gain legal status that includes eligibility for future Social Security and Medicare benefits could ultimately be a drain to the system, according to Jason Richwine, a resident scholar at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower immigration.

“Illegal immigration unambiguously benefits the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, but amnesty (legalization) would reverse those gains and add extra costs,” Richwine wrote in a report last year.

From CNN’s Tami Luhby

Trump on the 2020 election

Trump reiterated election lies, claiming that he didn’t accept the results of the 2020 election because of voter fraud.

“I would’ve much rather accepted these, but the fraud and everything else was ridiculous,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump’s election claims remain false.

The 2020 election was not rigged or stolen, Trump lost fair and square to Biden by an Electoral College margin of 306 to 232, his opponents did not cheat, and there is no evidence of any fraud even close to widespread enough to have changed the outcome in any state.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kaanita Iyer

Trump on his own comments after 2017 Charlottesville march

Biden denounced Trump forsayingin August 2017 that “very fine people” were among the participants in a hateful “Unite the Right” event days prior in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event was organized by White nationalists after the city decided to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park. The participants included neo-Nazis,one of whom murdered a counter-protester, and prominent public racists.

But Trump claimed that Biden’s recall of his remark was “made up” and a “nonsense story.”

Facts First:Trump’s claim that Biden’s description of his comments is a “nonsense story” is itself false. Biden fairly characterized Trump’s comments about the events in Charlottesville.

The claim that Trump’s “fine people” comment is a “hoax” and “nonsense story” is based on the inaccurate premise that there were peaceful non-racists attending anaggressively hateful marchthat was held in Charlottesville the night before the main daytime protest that featuredprominent White nationalists as advertised speakers.

And supporters of the “hoax” claim have noted that, when Trump told reporters days later that “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he had also said “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally” – and had specified that he was talking about other unnamed people he claimed had been at the nighttime march “protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”

But there hasnever been evidencethat such a benign group was present at the march. The march – whichtestimonyin a 2021 civil trial showed was organized by White nationalists – was abigoted gatheringat which participantschanted Nazi and White nationalist slogans targeting Jews and others, and displayed Nazi symbols, whilecarrying Tiki torches.

CNN correspondent Elle Reeve, who has extensively reported on the Charlottesville gathering, noted that the torch march was organized quietly in White nationalist “alt-right” online spaces and intended to be a surprise event that was known in advance only to a select group of like-minded people.

So, it’s not clear how people who were not supportive of White nationalism might have come to be part of the crowd or why such people would have remained there if they had somehow stumbled in. And Trump has never identified any non-racists who participated.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Chandelis Duster

Trump on the United States’ trade deficit with China

Trump claimed that under Biden, “We have the largest deficit with China.”

Facts First: This is false. Even if you only count trade in goods and ignore the services trade – in which the US traditionally runs a surplus with China – the deficit with China fell to about $279 billion in 2023, the lowest since 2010.

In 2018, under Trump, the goods deficit with China hit a new record of about $418 billion before falling back under $400 billion in subsequent years.

From CNN’s Katie Lobosco

Trump on terror attacks during his administration

In discussing the Middle East and Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, Trump claimed that there was “no terror at all during my administration.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false, and it remains false even if he was referring specifically to attacks by Islamic extremists. There were various terrorist attacks during the Trump presidency. In fact, in his State of the Union address in 2018, Trump blamed immigration policies for “two terrorist attacks in New York” in “recent weeks.”

Trump’s own Justice Department alleged that a mass murder in New York City in 2017, which killed eight people and injured others, was a terrorist attack carried out in support of ISIS; Trump repeatedly lamented this attack during his presidency. Trump’s Justice Department also alleged that a 2019 attack by an extremist member of Saudi Arabia’s military, which killed three US servicemembers and injured others at a military base in Florida, “was motivated by jihadist ideology” and was carried out by a longtime “associate” of al Qaeda.

In addition, there were a variety of other terrorist attacks during Trump’s presidency. Notably, Trump’s Justice Department said it was a “domestic terrorist attack” when one of Trump’s supporters mailed improvised explosive devices to CNN, prominent Democratic officials and other people in 2018. In 2019, a White supremacist pleaded guilty to multiple charges in New York, including first-degree murder in furtherance of an act of terrorism, for killing a Black man in March 2017 to try to start a race war. And Trump’s Justice Department described a 2019 shooting massacre at a Walmart in Texas as an act of domestic terrorism; the gunman who killed 23 people was targeting Latinos.

From CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Daniel Dale

Trump on his tax cuts

Trump once again claimed that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was the biggest tax cut ever.

“I gave you the largest tax cut in history,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump is wrong. Analyses have found that the act was not the largest in history either in percentage of gross domestic product or inflation-adjusted dollars.

The act made numerous permanent and temporary changes to the tax code, including reducing both corporate and individual income tax rates.

In a report released earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office looked at the size of past tax cuts enacted between 1981 and 2023. It found that two other tax cut bills have been bigger – former President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 package and legislation signed by former President Barack Obama that extended earlier tax cuts enacted during former President George W. Bush’s administration.

The CBO measured the sizes of tax cuts by looking at the revenue effects of the bills as a percentage of gross domestic product – in other words, how much federal revenue the bill cuts as a portion of the economy – over five years. Reagan’s 1981 tax cut and Obama’s 2012 tax cut extension were 3.5% and 1.7% of GDP, respectively.

Trump’s 2017 tax cut, by contrast, was estimated to be about 1% of GDP.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found in 2017 that the framework for the tax cuts would be the fourth largest since 1940 in inflation-adjusted dollars and the eighth largest since 1918 as a percentage of gross domestic product.

From CNN’s Tami Luhby

Trump on his own comments on January 6

In response to a question about his actions – and inaction – on January 6, 2021, while his supporters stormed the US Capitol, Trump defended the incendiary speech he delivered before the attack.

“I said, ‘Peacefully and patriotically,’” Trump said.

Facts First: This is highly misleading. He did say those words during his speech on the Ellipse on January 6, but he also told his supporters that they “wouldn’t have a country anymore” if they didn’t march to the US Capitol and “fight like hell” against a “rigged” election.

CNN has previously fact-checked this self-serving quotation from Trump about his January 6 speech.

During his speech, Trump said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

But on the debate stage Thursday night, Trump omitted the fact that later in his January 6 speech, he told his supporters to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to give GOP lawmakers the “boldness that they need to take back our country.” He also told the crowd at the Ellipse, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” and encouraged Republican lawmakers to stop fighting like a boxer “with his hands tied behind his back.”

Last year, a civil court in Colorado, and the Colorado Supreme Court, closely examined Trump’s speech as part of a lawsuit that tried to disqualify him from office under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”

The Colorado trial judge concluded that “while Trump’s Ellipse speech did mention ‘peaceful’ conduct in his command to march to the Capitol, the overall tenor was that to save the democracy and the country the attendees needed to fight.”

From CNN’s Marshall Cohen

Trump on abortion medication

Trump claimed, “The Supreme Court just approved the abortion pill.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim about the abortion drug is false. The Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the case and approve mifepristone, one of the pills used in a medication abortion. It sent the case back to the lower courts for additional proceedings.

The court earlier this month rejected a lawsuit that challenged the US Food and Drug Administration’s approach to regulating mifepristone.

The court did not “approve” the drug, as Trump claimed; instead it ruled that the doctors and the anti-abortion groups that had challenged access to the drug did not have the standing to sue. The reasoning of the court in this decision, scholars say, could encourage other mifepristone challenges in the future.

Medication abortion is now the most common method of abortion in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the formal US health care system – about 63% – were medication abortions in 2023.

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Trump onPelosi and January 6

Trump once again tried to blame former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, saying that the California Democrat had turned down his offer of 10,000 National Guard troops to protect the Capitol that day and had admitted this in video taken by her own daughter.

“Nancy Pelosi, if you just watched the news from two days ago, on tape to her daughter, who is a documentary filmmaker … but she’s saying, ‘Oh, no, it’s my responsibility, I was responsible for this,’ because I offered her 10,000 soldiers, or National Guard, and she turned them down,” Trump said.

He added, “And I offered it to her. And she now admits that she turned it down.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims about Pelosi’s role in Capitol security and in the deployment of the National Guard are false. The speaker of the House is not in charge of Capitol security; that is overseen by the Capitol Police Board, a body that includes the sergeants at arms of the House and the Senate. And the House speaker does not have power over the District of Columbia National Guard, which is under the command of the president. While there is no evidence Pelosi ever received a Trump offer of 10,000 soldiers on January 6, she would not even have had the power to turn down such an offer even if she had received one.

Trump also overstated what Pelosi said in a video recorded by her filmmaker daughter Alexandra Pelosi on January 6 and later obtained by House Republicans, who posted a 42-second snippet on social media earlier this month. Pelosi was shown expressing frustration at the inadequate security at the Capitol, and she said at one point, “I take responsibility for not having them just prepare for more.” But the short video doesn’t show her absolving Trump of responsibility or admitting she was the person in charge of Capitol security – and Pelosi continues to say it’s not true she turned down an offer of National Guard troops..

After Trump began referring to this clip earlier in June, Pelosi spokesperson Aaron Bennett said in an email to CNN: “Numerous independent fact-checkers have confirmed again and again that Speaker Pelosi did not plan her own assassination on January 6th. Cherry-picked, out-of-context clips do not change the fact that the Speaker of the House is not in charge of the security of the Capitol Complex — on January 6th or any other day of the week.”

In fact, another part of the video appears to undermine Trump’s frequent claims that Pelosi was the person who turned down a National Guard presence in advance of January 6. She said, “Why weren’t the National Guard there to begin with?”

The House select committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol found “no evidence” Trump gave any actual order for 10,000 Guard troops to anyone. Christopher Miller, Trump’s acting defense secretary at the time of the attack on the Capitol, testified to the committee that Trump had, in a phone call on January 5, 2021, briefly and informally floated the idea of having 10,000 troops present on January 6 but did not issue any directive to that effect. Miller said, “I interpreted it as a bit of presidential banter or President Trump banter that you all are familiar with, and in no way, shape, or form did I interpret that as an order or direction.”

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Trump on migrants and crime

Trump claimed that migrants were entering the United States and killing women, saying that “these killers are coming into our country, and they are raping and killing women.”

Facts First: This needs context. Preliminary statistics show that crime in the US dropped significantly in 2023 and in the first quarter of 2024, with a steep drop in murders and other violent offenses, even as the number of people crossing the southern border spiked. While some undocumented immigrants have been charged with high-profile crimes during the Biden presidency, some undocumented immigrants committed serious crimes under Trump and previous presidents as well. And research has generally found no connection between immigration levels and crime – and has sometimes found that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than people born in the US.

Charis Kubrin, co-author of the 2023 book “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock” and professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine, told CNN’s Catherine Shoichet early this year:

“Across a variety of studies that use different years of data that focus on different areas of the United States — with some exceptions, there’s some nuance there. I don’t want to deny the nuance — in general, on average, we do not find a connection between immigration and crime, as is so often claimed. The most common finding across all these different kinds of studies is that immigration to an area is either not associated with crime in that area or is negatively associated with crime in that area. Meaning more immigration equals less crime. It’s rare to find studies that show crime following increases in immigration or with larger percentage of the population that are immigrants.”

Kubrin’s co-author, Graham Ousey, professor of sociology and criminology at the College of William & Mary, added: “A lot of people when you say that will then say, ‘Oh, well, but what about undocumented immigration?’ And there’s less research on that topic. But that body of research is growing, and it pretty much reaches the same conclusion.”

From CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Daniel Dale

Trump on the US share of NATO funding

During a dispute over who would do a better job countering Russia’s war in Ukraine, Trump criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and how it is funded by its members, claiming he had learned after taking office that “almost 100% of the money was paid by us.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false.

Official NATO figures show that in 2016, the last year before Trump took office, US defense spending made up about 71% of total defense spending by NATO members – a large majority but not “almost 100%.” And Trump’s claim is even more inaccurate if he was talking about the direct contributions to NATO that cover the alliance’s organizational expenses and are set based on each country’s national income; the US was responsible for about 22% of those contributions in 2016.

The US share of total NATO military spending fell to about 65% in 2023. And the US is now responsible for about 16% of direct contributions to NATO, the same as Germany. Erwan Lagadec, an expert on NATO as a research professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and director of its Transatlantic Program, said the US share was reduced from 22% “to placate Trump” and is a “sweetheart deal” given that the US makes up more than half of the alliance’s total GDP.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Marshall Cohen

Trump on the cost of food

Trump claimed that Biden caused inflation and that it’s “killing” Americans, who “can’t buy groceries anymore” because the cost of food has “doubled and tripled and quadrupled.”

Facts First: Trump’s claims of food prices doubling, tripling and quadrupling are not entirely factual and could use some context.

Inflation’s rapid ascent, which began in early 2021, was the result of a confluence of factors, including effects from the Covid-19 pandemic such as snarled supply chains and geopolitical fallout (specifically Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) that triggered food and energy price shocks. Heightened consumer demand boosted in part by fiscal stimulus from both the Trump and Biden administrations also led to higher prices, as did the post-pandemic imbalance in the labor market.

Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022, hitting a 41-year high, and has slowed since (the Consumer Price Index was at 3.3% as of May 2024). However, it remains elevated from historical levels. Three-plus years of pervasive and prolonged inflation has weighed considerably on Americans, especially lower-income households trying to afford the necessities (food, shelter and transportation).

Food prices, specifically grocery prices, did outpace overall inflation. However, they didn’t rise to the extent that Trump claims. Annual food and grocery inflation peaked at 11.4% and 13.5% in August 2022, respectively. Through the 12 months ending in May, overall food and grocery prices were up just 2.1% and 1%, respectively.

Certain food categories saw much greater inflation: Notably, egg prices were up 70% annually in January 2023. However, the underlying cause of that sharp increase was a highly contagious, deadly avian flu. Food prices are highly volatile and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including disease, extreme weather events, global supply and demand, geopolitical events, and once-in-a-lifetime pandemics.

From CNN’s Alicia Wallace

Biden on taxing billionaires

Biden claimed that there are a thousand billionaires in the country who are “in a situation where they, in fact, pay 8.2% in taxes.”

Facts First: Biden used this figure in a way that was misleading. As in previous speeches, including the State of the Union address in March, Biden didn’t explain that the figure is the product of an alternative calculation, from economists in his own administration, that factors in unrealized capital gains that are not treated as taxable income under federal law.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the alternative calculation itself; the administration economists who came up with it explained it in detail on the White House website in 2021. Biden, however, has tended to cite the figure without any context about what it is and isn’t, leaving open the impression that he was talking about what these billionaires pay under current law.

So, what do billionaires actually pay under current law? The answer is not publicly known, but experts say it’s clearly more than 8%. “Biden’s numbers are way too low,” Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute think tank, told CNN in 2023. Gleckman said that in 2019, University of California, Berkeley, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman “estimated the top 400 households paid an average effective tax rate of about 23% in 2018. They got a lot of attention at the time because that rate was lower than the average rate of 24% for the bottom half of the income distribution. But it still was way more than 2 or 3,” numbers Biden has used in some previous speeches, “or even 8%.”

In February 2024, Gleckman provided additional calculations from the Tax Policy Center. The center found that the top 0.1% of households paid an average effective federal tax rate of about 30.3% in 2020, including an average income tax rate of 24.3%.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Fact checking the CNN presidential debate | CNN Politics (42)

Trump speaks during the CNN Presidential Debate in Atlanta on Thursday.

Biden on unemployment when he took office

In defending his record on the economy, Biden said that when he took office, “the economy was flat on its back. Fifteen percent unemployment. (Trump) decimated the economy. … That’s why there was not inflation at the time. There were no jobs.”

Facts First: Biden’s claim that the US unemployment rate was 15% when he took office is incorrect.

In January 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.4%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The unemployment rate did near 15%during Trump’s presidency, but that occurred during April 2020, when the global and national economy were crushed by the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the US lost more than 20 million jobs, resulting in unemployment skyrocketing from 4.4% in March 2020 to 14.8% in April 2020.

After peaking in April 2020, the unemployment rate declined substantially as the nation recovered those lost jobs (reaching pre-pandemic levels in June 2022) and gained millions more. The nation’s jobless rate is in the midst of a 30-month streak of being at or below 4%.

From CNN’s Alicia Wallace

Trump on Biden’s tax plans

Trump claimed that Biden is proposing to multiply Americans’ taxes by four times.

“He wants to raise everybody’s taxes by four times,” Trump said.

Facts First: This is false, just as it was when Trump made the same claim during the 2020 election campaign and in early 2024.

Biden has not proposed to quadruple Americans’ taxes, and there has never been any indication that he is seeking to do so. The nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center think tank, which analyzed Biden’s never-implemented budget proposals for fiscal 2024, found this: “His plan would raise average after-tax incomes for low-income households in 2024, leave them effectively unchanged for middle-income households, and lower after-tax incomes significantly for the highest-income taxpayers.”

The Tax Policy Center found that Biden’s proposal would, on average, have raised taxes by about $2,300 – but that’s about a 2.3% decline in after-tax income, not the massive reduction Trump is suggesting Biden wants. And critically, Tax Policy Center senior fellow Howard Gleckman noted to CNN in May that 95% of the tax hike would have been covered by the highest-income 5% of households.

The very biggest burden under the Biden plan would have been carried by the very richest households; the Tax Policy Center found that households in the top 0.1% would have seen their after-tax incomes decline by more than 20%. That’s “a lot,” Gleckman noted, but it’s still nowhere near the quadrupling Trump claims Biden is looking for. And again, even this increase would have been only for a tiny subset of the population. Biden has promised not to raise taxes by even a cent for anyone making under $400,000 per year.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Trump on funding for Ukraine

Trump claimed that the US has given more in aid to Ukraine than European countries put together.

“The European nations together have spent $100 billion, or maybe more than that, less than us,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. From just before Russia’s invasion in early 2022 through April 2024, European countries contributed more aid to Ukraine than the US, according to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany.

The Kiel Institute, which closely tracks aid to Ukraine, found that from late January 2022 (the month prior to Russia’s invasion) through April 2024, the European Union and individual European countries had committed a total of about $190 billion to Ukraine in military, financial and humanitarian assistance, compared with about $106 billion committed by the US. Europe also exceeded the US in aid that had been “allocated” to Ukraine – defined by the institute as aid either delivered or specified for delivery – at about $109 billion for Europe compared with about $79 billion for the US.

Additionally, Europe had committed more total military aid to Ukraine, at about $76 billion to about $69 billion for the US. The US narrowly led on military aid that had been allocated, at more than $50 billion for the US to less than $48 billion for Europe, but even that was nowhere near the lopsided margin Trump suggested.

It’s important to note that it’s possible to come up with different totals using different methodology. And the Kiel Institute found that Ukraine itself was getting only about half of the money in a 2024 US bill that had widely been described as a $61 billion aid bill for Ukraine; the institute said the rest of the funds were mostly going to the Defense Department.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kaanita Iyer

Trump on the Veterans Choice program

Trump took credit for the passage of the Veterans Choice health care law, referring to “Choice, that I got through Congress.”

Facts First:Trump’s claim is false. The Veterans Choice program was actually signed into law in 2014 by his predecessor, President Barack Obama. Trump signed a law in 2018, the VA MISSION Act, that expanded and modified the program established under Obama, and, as Trump has said, made the initiative permanent.

During Trump’s presidency, he falsely took credit for the Choice law more than 150 times.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale

Trump on lowering the cost of insulin

Trump again tried to take full credit for lowering the cost of insulin for older Americans.

“I’m the one that got the insulin down for the seniors,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump’s claim that he was the one who reduced the cost of insulin for seniors is exaggerated. The former president did get a $35-per-month out-of-pocket cap on insulin for some seniors through a voluntary program that Medicare prescription drug plans could choose to participate in. But Biden ensured that all 3.4 million-plus insulin users on Medicare got $35-per-month insulin — through a mandatory cap that not only covers more people than Trump’s voluntary cap, but also applies to a greater number of insulin products and stays in effect at a level of individual drug spending at which Trump’s cap disappeared.

Trump could fairly say he played a role in lowering insulin costs and that Biden does not deserve sole credit. The Biden-era federal government has acknowledged that his mandatory $35 monthly cap, signed into law in his Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, “closely aligns with” the voluntary $35 monthly cap in the Trump-created model that was announced in 2020 and launched in the final month of the Trump presidency in 2021.

But Biden’s policy does more than Trump’s did in several substantive ways.

The Inflation Reduction Act measure applies the $35-per-month cap to every insulin user in Medicare Part D. Trump’s policy didn’t.

Biden’s policy imposes the mandatory $35 monthly cap on insulin taken via a pump, which is obtained through Medicare Part B. Under Trump’s program, the voluntary $35 monthly cap only applied to insulin obtained via Medicare Part D drug plans, such as insulin that is injected or inhaled.

The Inflation Reduction Act measure requires a $35 cap on all covered insulin products. Trump’s policy only required it on some.

Under Biden’s policy, people in Medicare Part D no longer have to make any payments for covered prescription drugs, including insulin, once they reach a very high level of annual drug spending known as the “catastrophic” level. Under Trump’s voluntary insulin program, the $35 monthly cap didn’t apply to those whose spending reached the “catastrophic” threshold, though many people likely paid less than $35 per month for insulin at that point regardless.

From CNN’s Daniel Dale and Tami Luhby

Trump on funding HBCUs

Trump made a claim during the debate that he “funded” historically Black colleges and universities.

“When they see what I did for criminal justice reform and for the historically Black colleges and universities where I funded them and got them all funded,” Trump said.

Facts First: Trump is exaggerating here and his claims need context.

In 2019, Trump signed the FUTURE Act (Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education), a bipartisan bill aimed at strengthening HBCUs as well as other minority-serving institutions by providing $255 million annually.

“HBCUs have been underfunded for over 150 years, since inception. President Trump did sign measures into law that helped HBCUs tremendously (FUTURE Act and the first two COVID 19 packages). However, he never set out to do it,” Monique LeNoir, vice president of branding, marketing and communications for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), told CNN. “Congress took the lead on putting the HBCU funding in those bills and passing them. The third COVID-19 bill, passed under President Biden, included as much funding for HBCUs as both of the first two COVID-19 bills under President Trump.”

Marybeth Gasman, executive director of the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, echoed LeNoir, adding that Congress, during former President Barack Obama’s administration, also allocated funding to HBCUs.

“HBCUs are strong and resilient institutions, and they are that way because of Black people, Black leaders, Black alumni, Black students. They face obstacles but continue to persevere. They were not at risk of being out of operation — that’s a big overstatement,” Gasman told CNN.

The Trump administration also had a frayed relationship with HBCUs, and Trump’s views on funding for HBCUs have also not been consistent. In 2017, Trump questioned the constitutional basis for federal funding for HBCUs, saying, according to NPR, that “it benefits schools on the basis of race.”

CNN’s Chandelis Duster and Owen Dahlkamp

This article has been updated with additional information.

Fact checking the CNN presidential debate | CNN Politics (2024)
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