Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning for a “surprise” interview with Andrea Mitchell, ahead of President Donald Trump’s anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday evening.
Biden, appearing from his Wilmington, Delaware, home, said that he would be a fact-checker for Trump when they debated one another, dismissing suggestions that he should decline debates unless Trump’s claims were fact-checked in real time onstage.
But it is Biden who might need professional fact-checking intervention, judging by his performance in the interview, when he made several demonstrably false claims that Mitchell never bothered to correct or to ask him to justify or clarify.
Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax. Biden again claimed falsely that President Trump had referred to neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people.” This is a lie that has been debunked repeatedly — and yet Biden persists with it, even though he has been challenged directly about the fact that he is misquoting Trump, who said the neo-Nazis and white supremacists should be “condemned totally.” The “very fine people” were non-violent protesters on either side of the issue of the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a local park, not the extremists.
Biden claimed that President Trump is doing “nothing” about coronavirus. This is a nonsense claim. Biden could have criticized specific things Trump has done, but the idea that he has done “nothing” is ludicrous. From the China travel ban — which Biden opposed; to the coronavirus task force; to the CARES Act; to the Payment Protection Program; to Operation Warp Speed on vaccines (see below); to invoking the Defense Production Act to manufacture much-needed ventilators and personal protective equipment; to the mobilization of military hospitals and ships; Trump has done plenty of things.
Biden claimed the Republican National Convention (RNC) “didn’t speak about COVID.” Several speakers at the RNC spoke about the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the president specifically honored medical professionals on the front lines. First Lady Melania Trump shared the grief of those families who have lost loved ones to the disease, as did Vice President Mike Pence. Biden’s statement is utterly indefensible and suggests he did not watch the RNC, but had it summarized for him.
Biden claimed that Trump talked about “injecting bleach.” Trump never said that. He talked about injecting ultraviolet (UV) light, a long-used disinfectant, into the lungs as an experimental therapy. When a journalist asked whether he meant to encourage injecting bleach, Trump specifically said no. “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area.” Trump’s remarks were widely misconstrued, and Biden continues to misquote him.
Biden claimed that the Trump administration had no plan for distributing a vaccine for coronavirus. The plan is called Operation Warp Speed, and the president talks about it frequently. The goal of the plan is to distribute 300 million doses of vaccine to the entire country — something Biden specifically claimed Trump had no plan to do. The plans and documents are available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services, and have been available there for months.
Biden claimed that there were no race riots during the Obama-Biden administration and the National Guard was never called. He seemed to have forgotten that the Black Lives Matter movement started in 2014, and rioted in Ferguson, Missouri; or that the National Guard were called in to quell race riots in Baltimore, Maryland after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015; or that five police were murdered in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter march in 2016.
Biden claimed that Kellyanne Conway said Republicans were encouraging violence because it helped them politically. Her exact quote was: “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.” Biden omitted the context, in which Conway had pointed out that Democrat mayors and governors had refused President Trump’s offers to send help to stop the violence and the looting.
“Jacob Blake was never mentioned in any of the speeches at the Republican convention.” This last lie was told by Mitchell herself. The opening speech of the second night of the RNC referred to Blake specifically. Pastor Norma Urrabazo offered an opening prayer in which she said: “Lord, we come before you to ask for your spirit of peace to come over hurting communities in Wisconsin tonight. We pray for healing and comfort to Jacob Blake and his family. We pray for your protection over those who put their lives in harm’s way to bring safety and security to our streets.” Mitchell was wrong.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.