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Why The ‘Biden Stumbled But Trump Lied’ Narrative Is A Myth

John Dickerson
Image CreditX/CBS Sunday Morning

Yes, the president stumbled. He also lied. A lot.


Joe Biden may have stumbled in the face of Donald Trump’s torrent of falsehoods last week, explains CBS News’ John Dickerson, but which is worse, a liar or a fragile truthteller? This is the false choice many in political media have come up with to help mitigate the fallout from the president’s historically disastrous debate performance.

Trump lied. And, yes, Biden stumbled — and blatantly and repeatedly lied.

For starters, Biden’s personal accusations about Trump’s alleged nihilism and extremism were all based on debunked claims. Like Trump or hate him, he never told Americans to inject themselves with “bleach” and he never called tiki-torch cosplay Nazis “very fine people” and there is no evidence he ever said, “Hitler has done some good things.”

It just got worse. We know Biden lied when claiming Trump “did nothing” about Iran, because after the Republican withdrew the United States from Barack Obama’s giveaway to the mullahs in 2017, Biden condemned the move publicly on numerous occasions. Biden did the same thing when Trump atomized Iranian terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani, who was behind the murder of hundreds of American servicemen.

Was Biden telling the truth when he said inflation was at 9 percent when he entered into office? Because it was 1.4 percent. Surely Dickerson remembers the president assuring the country that price spikes under his watch were just a transitory glitch, to give cover to Democrats who worked to ram through the largest spending bill in history despite warnings from economists.

Biden claimed he was the “only president this … decade” who “doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world,” when everyone knows 13 were killed during the administration’s embarrassingly incompetent Afghanistan withdrawal. That was a lie. As was Biden’s contention that the Border Patrol union endorsed him or that border crossings were down 40 percent since Trump left office.

These are lies about defining issues of Biden’s presidency. Inflation. The border. Foreign policy. We also shouldn’t forget that Biden would be impelled to lie a lot more if he were regularly asked tough questions.

Trump’s maximalist rhetoric — with his “everythings” and “everyones” and “bests” and “worsts” — is meticulously fact-checked by the media. And that’s fine. Trump, for instance, was wrong to say “every” legal scholar believed Roe v Wade was a garbage decision. Then again, many law experts, right and left, believed Roe was poorly decided, including one-time constitutional expert Laurence Tribe and top law school graduate Joe Biden.

Biden’s lies about abortion policy are more consequential to voters. In a barely coherent answer, the president said he supported Roe and that Roe didn’t allow elective third-trimester abortions. But that’s not true. And no matter how many times the media fact-checks those who point this out, or tell us how “rare” late-term procedures are, Democrats do not support any legal restriction on abortion.

Dickerson says one of the big issues facing the country is “protecting democracy.” It’s weird, then, that reporters don’t ask the president why he keeps circumventing Congress and unconstitutionally “forgiving” student loans, among other executive abuses. Or why does he delegitimize the Supreme Court? Why does no one ask Biden why he called Trump an “illegitimate president?” Or why he refuses to accept the results of the 2000 election. Or why, in the run-up to the 2022 midterms, he preemptively claimed that the election wouldn’t be “fair” unless the filibuster was blown up and Democrats could pass election “reform?”

Let’s not forget, either, that Biden lied about his knowledge of the family’s influence-peddling business. Why isn’t he asked to explain? Only recently Biden lied about what was said in a conversation between him and Special Counsel Robert Hur — who was only half right when describing the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

And that’s another angle Biden’s defenders have taken. We keep hearing how the president is a good and decent man, unlike his opponent. As with most praise of Biden, there is scant evidence to back it up.

No president in modern history has lied about his personal life more than Joe Biden. There is no evidence his son Beau’s death had anything to do with his deployment in Iraq, as the president claimed during the debate. And I’ll save readers all the fairy tales that mar Biden’s mendacious career, but they could fill a book.

If you want to support Biden after seeing his mental acuity on display, go for it. But no one is buying your canonization efforts.    

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