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Fact check: A look at Biden’s first year in false claims

Biden's imaginary or ornate stories about his own history were the most memorable lies in his first year in office. However, they were not the only ones.

The president also made several false allegations on important political issues, most notably including three topics that occupied much of his time: the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the economy, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Biden was incorrect on several occasions when he ad-lived on a wide range of facts and figures - sometimes in a way that seemed unintentional, but other times in a way that helped him come up with a political point.

So Biden is no Trump. That said, dozens of false claims by the President of the United States are nothing. And given that Biden added dozens more allegations that were misleading or missing in important contexts, he provided more than enough material to keep fact-checkers on their toes.

Here is a summary of Biden's first year in inaccuracy. The White House declined to comment for this article; it has previously commented on individual fact checks on some of the false allegations we discuss again below.

False claims about his own past

Biden made a number of claims about his own past that were just not true. It was these easy-to-understand, hard-to-defend personal lies - more than his false claims about complex political issues or obscure statistics that supporters could more easily dismiss as misconceptions - that provided the best ammunition for opponents who want to portray him as misleading.
And like some of Trump's lofty stories about his past, Biden tended to be peripheral to his message. In other words, he wounded his reputation for little possible gain.
While talking to technical college students standing near a truck in November, Biden claimed, "I used to drive a tractor-trailer," though only "part of a summer." This was similar to something he had said at a Mack Trucks facility in July, when he claimed, "I used to drive an 18-wheel drive man," adding, "I got to." There is no evidence that Biden has ever driven a large truck; The White House previously remarked to CNN that he once had a job driving a school bus (which is not an 18-wheeler or a tractor-trailer) and that as a senator in 1973 he spent a night driving a truck (does not run it).
Biden repeatedly told a story about a presumed conversation during his vice presidency with an old friend, an Amtrak train conductor, that could not possibly have happened because the man was dead at the time. He repeatedly boasted that he had traveled "17,000 miles" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, though that figure is not even close to correct.
Biden distracted himself from his suffrage announcement with the baseless claim last week that he had made before that he had been arrested during a civil rights protest; in some of the earlier versions of the story, he had merely claimed that a police officer had taken him home from a protest. (There is evidence that Biden participated in some civil rights activities in his youth, but no record of any arrest.)

And Biden told two different inaccurate stories while trying to emphasize his connection to the Jewish community.

At an event in September in honor of the holy days, Biden told Jewish leaders that he remembered to "spend time" and "go to" Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, the site of an anti-Semitic massacre in 2018; he had spoken on the phone with the synagogue's rabbis in 2019, but never left. At a Hanukkah event in December, Biden claimed that the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir had invited him to meet with her during the 1967 Six-Day War (he actually met with her weeks before the Yom Kippur War six years later) and, more importantly, that she had wanted him to be "the connection between her and the Egyptians about Suez, and so on and so forth."
There is no evidence that Meir ever wanted to use a 30-year-old novice U.S. senator as a "connection" with a major opponent.

False claims about Afghanistan

The bite was confused over the summer by its chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. And he made a number of false allegations as he tried to defend his handling of the situation - further undermining his authority on an issue where he was already struggling to persuade the public.
In August, the president said, "What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this time when al Qaeda is gone?" Al Qaeda had been degraded in Afghanistan, but it was not "gone" - as a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged on camera the same day. In an interview this week, Biden defended the US withdrawal in part by claiming that the concept of nation-building in Afghanistan "never made sense to me" - even though he had actually explicitly advocated nation-building in the early years of the war, both in Afghanistan and beyond. in general.
In July, when Biden was under pressure to quickly relocate Afghans who had helped American troops, he said "the law does not allow" Afghan translators to come to the United States to await the processing of their visa applications. But immigration law experts immediately said this was not true, given the administration's authority to grant "probation," and in fact the Biden administration ended up using probation later in the summer to do what Biden had claimed was not allowed.
In December, Biden said in another interview that "I have been against that war in Afghanistan from the very beginning." Although he eventually became an opponent of the war, he was not against it from the start - as fact checkers pointed out when he had made similar remarks during his presidential campaign.

False claims about the economy

The state of the economy was an important rhetorical battlefield between Biden and his critics: He claimed it was flourishing; they claimed it failed. And although both sides often cited valid data points, the president also made some false claims to bolster his case.

Biden occasionally overestimated progress and underestimated problems. Asked at a CNN town hall in July about car price inflation, he claimed the price of a car was "kind of back to what it was before the pandemic"; costs had actually increased significantly since the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. In an economic speech in November, he sharply exaggerated the extent of the fall in unemployment during his tenure.
In an attempt to sell his economic policies, Biden sometimes made inaccurate statements about what experts had said about them. In May alone, he erroneously claimed that there was agreement among economists on how many jobs his US job plan would create, he significantly overestimated how many jobs Moody's Analytics predicted the plan would create, and erroneously claimed that the last five Federal Reserve executives had said the plan would create economic growth - and erroneously described both the content and the authorship of an article actually written by five former Internal Revenue Service executives.
Later that year, Biden misleadingly framed another Moody's job estimate. And he repeatedly omitted the "long-term" key phrase from a claim by Nobel laureates economists that his $ 1.9 trillion Build Back Better agenda would "ease long-term inflationary pressures" - leading Americans to believe that these economists could have said his agenda would reduce inflation hurting their bank accounts today.

False allegations about the Covid-19 pandemic

Many of Biden's first-year speeches were devoted to the Covid-19 pandemic. The bite was almost incomparably more accurate on this topic than Trump was, and tended to factually convey the seriousness of the situation instead of matching his predecessor's amazing rhetoric about how bad numbers were actually not bad numbers and how the virus would just disappear .

But Biden also made a bit of false claims on this subject.

At CNN City Hall in July, Biden made the imprecise categorical promise that "you will not get Covid" if you are vaccinated. It was clear even before the advent of the Omicron variant that vaccinated humans were still infected with the virus, although the vaccines made them much less likely to become seriously ill; vaccinated persons on the president's own staff had been infected. Biden also went too far at City Hall when he categorically promised that "if you are vaccinated, you will not be hospitalized, you will not be in the intensive care unit, and you will not die"; these outcomes also occur, although they are much less common among vaccinated people.
Biden sometimes exaggerated his administration's work to get Americans vaccinated - in a misleading way, downplayed the Trump administration's own vaccine purchases and exaggerated in May how the U.S. vaccination rate compares to the rest of the world. And he made various mistakes by discussing pandemic-related facts and figures.
In February, Biden claimed that "suicide is on the rise" in the midst of the pandemic; experts said at the time that the claim was premature and it turned out to be incorrect (although the suicide rate increased for some specific demographic groups). In October, the president erroneously told the Americans that there were "over 800,000" vaccination sites in the country; he had added an extra 0 to the correct number he normally used, 80,000.

False claims in unwritten settings

When Biden stuck to prepared speeches examined by his staff, he tended to be factual (though he certainly was not perfect). When he adlived or participated in unwritten exchanges with journalists and citizens, he was more likely to sprinkle inaccuracies - with false or misleading claims about everything from his handling of the southern border situation to Virginia's political history to gun laws to the size of a tax relief for people who own racehorses.
During Biden's first 100 days in the Oval Office, he was repeatedly wrong or misleading in his description of the Trump administration's actions.
And he made a particularly remarkable misleading claim in the early period. In a heated moment of the national debate over the Georgia Republicans' new election law, Biden did a television interview in which he criticized the law in part by misunderstanding what it says.
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