President Biden’s first 100 days as president fact-checked


By Reality Check team
BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

Joe Biden has been US president for 100 days, focusing on a series of issues facing the country – from immigration and the economy to Covid and the climate.

We have fact-checked some of the claims he has made during his first months in charge.

Claim: An increase in border migration ‘happens every year… in the winter months’

Verdict: The number fluctuates widely – but there is not always a significant increase during the winter months.

At a press conference in March, he said: “There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year.”

The US Customs and Border Protection agency releases monthly figures on the number of “encounters” at the south-west land border.

In January and February 2021, 78,442 and 100,441 people were encountered – a significant increase on the figures for the same two months in the previous year, which were each just over 36,000.

Since President Biden made the claim, the count for March has been released – 172,331, the highest in recent years.

In 2020, encounters at the border fell slightly between January and March.

In 2018, they remained relatively steady.

image copyrightReuters
image captionMigrants crossing into the US are stopped by a border guard in Texas

Claim: ‘When I took office… this country did not have a plan or enough vaccines’

Verdict: President Biden has repeatedly criticised the previous administration’s vaccine rollout – but he is wrong to say the US “did not have a plan” under Donald Trump.

However, as we’ve reported previously, there were complaints about a lack of funding from the federal government, which led to logistical problems at the local level once vaccines had been delivered, and some states appealed for more supplies.

image copyrightReuters
image captionMr Biden received his first vaccine dose in December

When it comes to whether there were “enough” vaccines, the Trump administration secured:

  • 200 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech
  • 200 million doses from Moderna
  • 100 million doses from Johnson & Johnson
  • 300 million doses from AstraZeneca
  • 100 million doses from Novavax
  • 100 million doses from GSK and Sanofi

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were approved in the US before Mr Biden took office, with the initial 400 million doses set to be delivered by July.

And while these doses alone are not enough to fully vaccinate the entire US population (both vaccines require two doses), the orders allowed the US to ramp up its vaccination programme faster than many other developed countries.

When Mr Trump left office, in January, the US had vaccinated more than 16 million people – the fourth highest per capita after Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.

Claim: ‘America represents less than 15% of the world’s emissions’

Verdict: This is correct in terms of carbon emissions – the US produces just under 15% of the global total.

President Biden said this at the recent climate summit, where he encouraged the largest economies to work together to tackle global warming.

China produces by far the most carbon emissions overall, following its rapid economic growth over the past couple of decades.

The US is the next largest emitter, although its carbon emissions have been steadily declining in recent years.

When you look at emissions per person, the US produces considerably more CO2 than China and many other rich countries, and well over the global average.

It generates the most per head for a country of its population size.

Claim: ‘It’s sick – deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock [in Georgia], when working people are just getting off work’

Verdict: It is not true that voting now has to finish at 17:00, as stated on several occasions by President Biden.

The law allows counties to set voting hours anywhere between 07:00 and 19:00 for early voting or on election day, as was the case previously.

image copyrightGetty Images

It stipulates the hours required as a minimum on election day, saying: “Voting shall be conducted beginning at 09:00 and ending at 17:00”.

That’s pretty much unchanged because “during normal business hours” was the minimum requirement under the old law, widely interpreted as 9am-5pm.

For early voting, the new law is similarly more explicit, with minimum voting hours up until 5pm set as the default position but with the flexibility of ending at 7pm.

Critics have called the new language more restrictive.

Claim: ‘As you know, the fastest-growing population in the US is Hispanic’

Verdict: This is not right. Hispanic Americans actually represent the second fastest growing demographic over the past two decades, after Asian Americans.

President Biden made this claim when addressing the Mexican president in March.

The Hispanic American population grew by 70% during the same period, to more than 60 million.



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