A stream of lies: 5 of Trump’s biggest lies in the presidential debate

A stream of lies: 5 of Trump’s biggest lies in the presidential debate

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - JUNE 27: President of the United States Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump participate in the first Presidential Debate at CNN Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on June 27, 2024. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images)

By Keya Vakil

June 28, 2024

Donald Trump delivered 90 minutes of lies on Thursday, spreading crazy conspiracy theories about babies being aborted after birth, lies about his felony conviction, and brazen falsehoods about drug costs, taxes, and Social Security. 

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump took part in the first presidential debate on Thursday, a night that saw Trump unleash an absolute firehose of unchecked lies and Biden struggle with a raspy voice and verbal miscues. 

While the two men’s performances are certain to draw the most attention, the debate moderators’ failure to do their jobs is also drawing scrutiny, as CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Dana Bash provided zero real-time fact checking on what was 90 minutes of lies, mischaracterizations, and at some points, conspiracy theories.

While Biden had his share of slip-ups, Trump’s lies were so egregious they prompted one reporter to describe the night the following way: “Trump is just machine gun farting lies like a lunatic, the moderators are letting it all go, and Biden is unable to make an appropriate response.”

To help make up for that lack of fact checking, we took a look at five of Trump’s most egregious lies from Thursday’s debate: 

Trump’s crazy lies about abortion

Trump, who appointed the justices that overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, spent much of Thursday’s debate dodging, weaving, and outright lying about abortion: 

  • Trump claimed that “everybody,” including “every legal scholar,” wanted Roe v. Wade overturned. In reality, a majority of Americans opposed the decision overturning Roe.
  • He said that in some states, babies are being aborted after birth. This is a favorite lie of his, but it’s complete nonsense. Infanticide is illegal everywhere in the US.
  • Trump also argued that the country was coming together on the issue of abortion, even as the nation is a patchwork of bans, restrictions, and rights. 

On Thursday, the former president tried to paint himself as more moderate on the issue, but Trump—whose allies are plotting ways to restrict abortion access if he wins in November—has previously said he would allow individual states to enforce abortion restrictions, no matter how extreme. 

Under a second Trump term, he told Time Magazine in April, Republican-led states with strict abortion regulations would be free to track pregnancies and even criminally prosecute providers or even patients.

Trump’s lies about his felony conviction and investigations into him

Much like he’s done for months, Trump spent Thursday night lying about the investigations into him, claiming that Biden and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) were involved in the state-level cases against him in New York and Georgia.

“He basically went after his political opponent because he thought it was going to damage me,” Trump said during the debate. 

“We have a system that was rigged and disgusting. I did nothing wrong,” he continued. 

In May, Trump became the first-ever American president to be found guilty of a crime when a jury of 12 of his New York peers found him guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records tied to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. 

Still, Trump has repeatedly argued—without presenting any evidence—that the investigation, the trial, and the jury’s verdict is all part of a conspiracy directed by Biden. 

In reality, Biden and the DOJ had nothing to do with the case, which was brought by New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg.

Trump also faces dozens of charges across the three other cases he’s been indicted in. He faces both a federal and state-level inquiry into his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as well as charges over his mishandling of classified documents that he kept after leaving office.

Here’s what is true: A DOJ-appointed special counsel is overseeing the two federal investigations into Trump—into his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as well as charges over his mishandling of classified documents that he kept after leaving office. But there is no evidence that Biden has any involvement whatsoever in the cases and he has repeatedly emphasized the independence of the Justice Department.

Trump tries to take credit for $35 insulin price cap

Trump on Thursday once again took credit for lowering insulin costs, repeating a lie from earlier this month.

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

In reality, Trump’s time in the White House saw no changes to the staggering cost of insulin for patients, and it was two laws signed by Biden that helped lower insulin costs for millions of Americans.

Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act implemented a $35 monthly cap on insulin for Medicare recipients. His American Rescue Plan also played a major role in lowering insulin costs for diabetics. The 2021 law reformed the rules guiding the Medicaid health insurance program to remove a cap on the penalty drug companies pay for raising list prices above the rate of inflation.

This prompted the nation’s three major insulin makers to drop their prices for the life-saving drug. Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk—which make up roughly 90% of the market—all began offering price caps and savings programs in January to lower the cost of some of their most widely-used insulin products to only $35 per month.

Trump’s lies about immigrants and Social Security

Like he often does, Trump lied about undocumented immigrants on Thursday, claiming they are getting Social Security benefits because of Biden.  

“But Social Security, he’s destroying it because millions of people are pouring into our country and they are putting them onto Social Security,” Trump said. 

In reality, only people who pay into the Social Security system can receive benefits, which actually means that undocumented workers actually often pay taxes that help fund Social Security. 

Trump’s lies about Biden’s tax plan

Trump—who passed a giant tax cut for billionaires and corporations in 2017 and is promising more if they donate to his campaign this year—claimed on Thursday that Biden “wants to raise your taxes by four times.” 

That is not the case. Biden has actually promised not to raise taxes on anyone earning under $400,000 per year and in fact proposed a budget this year including tax cuts for those making under that amount. Biden does want to raise taxes on corporations and billionaires to offer universal pre-kindergarten, provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and create a new tax break for first-time home buyers. 

These efforts would be funded by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Biden has also called for a Billionaire Minimum Tax of 25% on America’s wealthiest individuals and increasing the tax on stock buybacks from 1% to 4%.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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