The Washington Post‘s fact-checker column slapped former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House campaign with four Pinocchios for its misleading attack ad about President Trump’s comments about the coronavirus, writing it presents “a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred.”
The Biden ad accuses President Trump of dismissing the deadly illness as a “hoax” during a recent campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. However, Washington Post fact-checker Meg Kelly explained the video clip is a “blatant” misrepresentation of the president’s remark.
“At the 10-second mark [of the ad], the camera shows a tight shot of the president saying ‘coronavirus’ and then cuts to a wide shot where [Trump] says, ‘this is their new hoax.’ 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,” Kelly writes. “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.”
“Campaigns must be willing to make their case without resorting to video manipulation,” she added.
A Biden aide sidestepped the Post’s refutation of the ad and instead resorted to an ad hominem attack against the president, calling him the “most dishonest president in American history.”
“We don’t trust his next-day cleanup attempt, and he has made many comments in that same vein. And the claim that the American Dream was ‘dead’ in the final year of the Obama administration — during the longest streak of job growth in American history — is categorically untrue and another reminder of Donald Trump’s deep cynicism,” Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates said.
The Post’s fact-check column regularly grades statements by lawmakers, which range from one to four Pinocchios—with one counting as a minor offense to four being a certifiable falsehood.
On Thursday, Biden delivered a speech addressing the deadly outbreak in which he described the Trump administration’s coronavirus response as a “colossal” failure.
“The administration’s failure on testing is colossal. And it’s a failure of planning, leadership and execution,” the former vice president said. “By next week, the number of tests should be in the millions, not the thousands.”
“Neither should we panic or fallback on xenophobia,” he added. “Labeling COVID-19 a ‘foreign virus’ does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration. Let me be crystal clear: the coronavirus does not have a political affiliation.”
Biden’s speech came one day after his campaign unveiled that it plans to create a “Public Health Advisory Committee” to provide guidance on how to combat the deadly illness that originated in Wuhan, China.
On Wednesday evening, President Trump delivered an Oval Office address to the nation about his administration’s efforts to fight coronavirus, announcing that the United States would bar travel from European countries for a month.
“After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans,” he stated. “These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”