Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama granted pardons and reduced sentences for criminal charges to 18,000 people in his NBC town hall Monday night.
Defending his inaction on criminal justice reform, Joe Biden falsely claimed "18,000 people got clemency" while he was Vice President.
Actually, 18,000 were *denied* clemency while he was Vice President. Oops! pic.twitter.com/iCQVKm1upQ
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) October 6, 2020
The blunder occurred when town hall host NBC News’s Lester Holt asked Biden a question about his record with criminal justice reform during his time in the White House with Obama.
“He points to the Criminal Justice Reform Bill. As you and Barack Obama served at a time when you had both houses of Congress and still couldn’t get some of these things done,” Holt noted.
Biden quickly interjected and attempted to defend himself.
“Yeah we did,” Biden insisted. “We led…18,000 people got clemency.”
Records from the United States Department of Justice demonstrate, however, that only 1,715 people were granted reduced sentences and only 212 were pardoned by former President Obama and former Vice President Biden over their eight years in office together. Contrary to Biden’s exaggerated claims, the Obama administration actually denied forms of clemency such as commutations and pardons to over 20,000 people.
Despite Biden’s incorrect overstatement of his clemency-granting record, his false comments received no pushback from Holt.
Biden has a history of failed criminal reform. As a Senator, Biden was the architect of the 1994 crime bill which many point to as the catalyst for mass incarceration and the reason the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Biden’s VP pick Sen. Kamala Harris has a bad track record as well.
Former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard pointed out some of Harris’s failures on criminal justice at the Democratic Debate in July 2019.
“Senator Harris said she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president. But I’m deeply concerned about this record,” Gabbard said, pointing out that Harris “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she’d ever smoked marijuana.”
Gabbard also noted that Harris “blocked evidence that would have freed a man from death row until the courts forced her to do so” and “kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”
Harris also helped fund a program that bailed out violent criminals and even registered sex offenders from jail after being arrested at riots in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.