By Matt Pearce Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) So how did the candidates do? Reporter Matt Pearce does some fact-checking on multiple issues including Trump's response to the pandemic and taxes.
Salt Lake City
After President Donald Trump repeatedly disrupted last week's first presidential debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden with a near-nonstop flurry of jeers and lies, Wednesday night's vice presidential debate between their ticket-mates was expected to offer viewers a more traditional and, on balance, fact-based encounter.
However, based on his past comments, Vice President Mike Pence is likely to echo some of the president's misleading and false claims on a range of topics. We'll also be listening closely to California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee. We'll fact-check them both right here, throughout the debate.
1. No, Trump did not ban all travel from China as the pandemic began. "Before there were more than five cases in the United States ... (Trump) suspended all travel from China ... Joe Biden opposed that decision, he said it was 'xenophobic' and 'hysterical.' " -Mike Pence
Pence is overstating what Trump did in the pandemic's early days. The president's Jan. 31 order only applied to the Chinese mainland, not Hong Kong, and tens of thousands of American travelers were allowed to return.
Screening was spotty, and the outbreak took hold in the United States anyway. The day after Trump's announcement, Biden tweeted that "we need to lead the way with science, not Donald Trump's record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fearmongering." He did not mention the ban.
2. No, the Trump administration isn't protecting coverage for preexisting medical conditions. "President Trump and I have a plan to improve health care and protect preexisting conditions for every American." -Mike Pence
If there's a Trump plan to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting medical conditions, the public hasn't seen it. The president has spent years trying to undermine the law that currently guarantees coverage.
Administration lawyers and a coalition of Republican-led states have gone to the Supreme Court asking it to strike down the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era law that included the protection for those with preexisting ailments. Trump and Republicans in Congress tried and failed to repeal the law in 2017. Trump, facing criticism, signed an executive order on Sept. 24 promising "a steadfast commitment to always protecting individuals with preexisting conditions." Substantively, it has no effect.
3. No, Biden's plan wouldn't raise taxes on middle-class families. "On day one, Joe Biden's going to raise your taxes." -Mike Pence
Pence made the remark while talking about Biden's proposal to repeal Trump's tax cuts enacted in late 2017. While most Americans saw their taxes go down, the benefits went overwhelming to the richest Americans and corporations. The vice president mischaracterized Biden's plan, which would not raise taxes on earners making less than $400,000 a year. Biden would repeal the Trump tax cuts for those making more than that. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.