Fact Check: What the Democrats didn't say, and what Donald Trump did

Even Biden, a gaffe machine in the old days, displayed that control. The off notes came largely from what Democrats didn't say.
Joe Biden and fellow Democrats spun an assortment of facts to their benefit in their national convention, omitting inconvenient truths such as Barack Obama's record of aggressive deportations and swift action by a Republican president to save the auto industry more than a decade ago.

Meantime President Donald Trump flooded the zone with falsehoods, some so apparent that anyone with access to the internet could see the folly of them at a glance. Witness his reference to New Zealand's massive breakout of Covid-19, which does not exist.

The virtual, socially distanced Democratic National Convention was unique in history but conventional in this sense: The nominee and his supporters at times exaggerated the good, played down the bad and glossed over important context.

But overall the discipline was discernible, as it usually was for the biggest speeches of Republican and Democratic leaders alike before the rise of Trump.

Even Biden, a gaffe machine in the old days, displayed that control. The off notes came largely from what Democrats didn't say.

A sampling from the past week's rhetoric as the Republican National Convention prepares to affirm Trump as the 2020 nominee in coming days:

Immigration

Barack Obama: We are born of immigrants. That is who we are. Immigration is our origin story. convention video Wednesday celebrating immigration, showing historical scenes and one that appeared to be of Trump's border wall.

Barack Obama: I understand why a new immigrant might look around this country and wonder whether there's still a place for him here. convention speech Wednesday.

The Facts: The facts here are not in dispute. But an omission stands out: Obama aggressively enforced border controls and deported nearly 3 million people.

He changed his approach, acting without Congress in 2012 to let people who came to the U.S. illegally as children stay and work legally in the country.

Still, that year was Obama's high mark for deportations, more than 400,000, far outpacing Trump's deportations in each of his first three years.

This whole immigration video was like putting salt on the wound, tweeted Erika Andiola, an advocate from RAICES, an immigration legal services group in Texas.

Michelle Obama, on Americans: They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages. Democratic convention Monday.

The Facts: The reference to cages is misleading and a matter that Democrats have persistently distorted.

Trump used facilities that were built during the Obama-Biden administration to house children at the border. They are chain-link enclosures inside border facilities where migrants were temporarily housed, separated by sex and age.

At the height of the controversy over Trump's zero-tolerance policy at the border, photos that circulated online of children in the enclosures generated great anger.

But those photos, by The Associated Press, were taken in 2014 and depicted some of the thousands of unaccompanied children held by Obama.

When that fact came to light, some Democrats and activists who had tweeted the photos deleted their tweets. But prominent Democrats have continued to cite cages for children as a distinctive cruelty of Trump.

The former first lady was correct, however, in addressing the removal of children from parents at the border.
The Obama administration separated migrant children from families under certain limited circumstances, like when the child's safety appeared at risk or when the parent had a serious criminal history.

Family separations as a matter of routine came about because of Trump's zero tolerance enforcement policy, which he eventually suspended because of the uproar. Obama had no such policy.

Trump: Joe Biden has pledged to abolish immigration enforcement. rally Tuesday in Yuma, Arizona.

The Facts: No he hasn't. Biden has been notably outspoken in arguing that crossing the U.S. border illegally is a crime and should remain punished as such in federal court. He did not endorse immigration plans supported by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and other former presidential candidates that sought to decriminalise illegal border crossings and make doing so only a civil offense.

Trump: They want to take the wall down, they don't want to have borders. Arizona rally.

The Facts: No, Biden is not pushing to take down the wall or erase borders.

Biden's immigration plan does not include money for new border fencing, and he isn't calling for any new walls. But he hasn't proposed taking down what's there.

Pandemic

Trump on New Zealand and coronavirus: "They had a massive breakout yesterday. remarks Thursday in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.

Trump: False. New Zealand has had nothing resembling a massive outbreak or, as he also put it during the week, even a big surge or a big outbreak. New Zealand reported five to 13 new cases each day in the past week, as of Friday. The U.S. reported an average of some 46,000 per day during the week.

Trump is unhappy that New Zealand's success in controlling the virus, through its tight and early rules on distancing and closures, has been used for unfavorable comparisons with his pandemic response.

New Zealand went for several months without any new, confirmed cases of locally spread Covid-19 before infection started showing up again in small numbers.

The infection, as of Friday, had killed 22 people in New Zealand and 174,000 in the U.S.

That's a rate of 4.5 deaths per million in New Zealand and 532 per million in the U.S.

Economy

Biden: Nearly one in six small businesses have closed this year. acceptance speech Thursday.

The Facts: That appears to be in the ballpark but is misleading. What he didn't say is that most of those businesses planned to reopen or already have.

In a MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey at the end of July, 86 per cent of small businesses reported that they were fully or partially open.


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