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Biden & Trump Said *A Lot* Of Questionable Stuff In The Debate. Let’s Fact-Check Them

On the evening of June 27, 2024, the first presidential debate of the 2024 election took place between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Although viewers have expressed multiple concerns and complaints about the debate — from the unsettling demeanors of both candidates to their personal attacks on one another in place of discussing actual issues — one piece of criticism has risen above all the rest: the false claims made on the debate stage that went unchecked by the candidates and the debate’s moderators, news anchors Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.

According to CNN, Trump made at least 30 false claims (that’s one false claim for every three minutes in a 90-minute debate), and Biden made at least nine (one false claim for every 10 minutes). And while there was some real-time fact-checking happening on platforms such as PolitiFact and even social media, the lack of truth and transparency on the stage has many worried about the spread of misinformation this debate has caused.

Especially for young voters — many of whom may be eligible to vote for the first time this election season — these false claims can be deeply confusing, frustrating, and scary, leaving many unsure of who to trust and what to believe.

Below, check out 13 of the most egregious false claims made during the first 2024 presidential debate, along with some background fact-checking to reveal the truth behind the statements. Keep in mind, this isn’t an exhaustive list; just some of the big ones to look out for as you prepare to vote this November.

1. Trump’s claim that Democrats will kill babies “in the eighth month, ninth month, or even after birth”

In case this wasn’t glaringly obvious: Infanticide is illegal in every U.S. state, even under Roe v. Wade. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, infanticide is “regarded as an undifferentiated subclass of homicide.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has made this claim. In a Fox News interview on June 5, Trump said, “Hard to believe, they have some states passing legislation where you can execute the baby after birth. It’s crazy.” 

It feels obvious to say, but just for the record: This claim is false. No state is passing or has passed a law allowing the execution of a baby after birth. 

Further, according to the CDC, only 0.9% of abortions in 2020 occurred at 21 weeks or later — many due to serious health risks. 

2.  Trump denying usage of the terms “suckers” and “losers” in reference to U.S. soldiers killed in action

There is no public record of Trump saying this; however, former White House chief of staff and secretary of homeland security John Kelly has said on the record that in 2018, Trump used the terms “suckers” and “losers” to refer to service members who were killed in action. 

The Atlantic cited four unnamed sources with firsthand knowledge, reporting that Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers,” to senior staff members upon canceling a visit to a military cemetery in France where U.S. soldiers are buried. 

3. Biden’s claim that he is the only U.S. president in history who has not had troops die under his command

This is false. Multiple U.S. service members have died abroad during Biden’s presidency. Thirteen troops were killed in a suicide bombing during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, three were killed by a one-way drone attack launched by Iran-backed militants in Jordan in 2024, and two U.S. Navy SEALs died in Somalia while seizing lethal aid being transported from Iran to Yemen, also in 2024. 

Additionally, other U.S. service members have died abroad in training incidents, such as airplane and helicopter crashes.

4. Trump’s claim that Biden referred to Black people as “super predators”

False. This claim was first made on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Trump in November 2020.

In a 1993 speech, Biden said that the country needed to focus on young people without supervision, structure or opportunities, stating that a portion of them would “become the predators 15 years from now.” Biden did not single out a racial or ethnic group. Rather, the term “super predator” was used by Hilary Clinton in 1996. She said in 2016 she shouldn’t have used that language.

5. Trump’s claim that the Supreme Court “approved” the abortion pill

False. The Supreme Court did not approve mifepristone, one of the drugs used in a medicated abortion. Instead, SCOTUS ruled that there were no grounds for the anti-abortion groups and doctors against access to the pill to challenge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with a lawsuit regarding the pill.

6. Biden’s claim that he was endorsed by the Border Patrol Union

This is false. The Border Patrol Union immediately responded to Biden’s claim on X, saying “To be clear, we never have and never will endorse Biden.”

7. Trump’s claim that “everybody” wanted Roe v. Wade overturned

On average, two-thirds of respondents to polls conducted by multiple sources (including CNN, Marquette Law School, NBC News, and Gallup) have stated they wish Roe v. Wade had *not* been overturned.

8. Trump denying his claims about Charlottesville, Virginia

Trump did claim that there were “very fine people, on both sides,” at a Unite the Right rally that turned violent in Charlottesville in August of 2017. He specified that these very fine people were “silently protesting the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” but there is no evidence that such a group was present.

9. Biden’s claims on bringing down the price of prescription drugs

“We brought down the price of prescription drugs, which is a major issue for many people, to $15 for an insulin shot, as opposed to $400. No senior has to pay more than $200 for any drug … beginning next year,” Biden said during the debate.

This is not true. Under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, those enrolled in Medicare do not pay more than $35 a month for each insulin prescription. Additionally, the law states that seniors and people with disabilities will not pay more than $2,000 a year for out-of-pocket costs for medication, starting in 2025. Biden used this figure later in the debate, correcting himself.

10. Biden’s statement that “Black unemployment is the lowest level it’s been in a long, long time”

This is not true. According to CNN, the Black unemployment rate was 6.1% in May 2024, which is higher than the record 4.8% set by the administration in April 2023. The previous record was 5.3% in 2019, under the Trump administration.

11.  Trump’s claim that he deployed the National Guard in Minneapolis in response to the unrest following the murder of George Floyd

“If I didn’t bring in the National Guard, that city would have been destroyed,” Trump said, in reference to Minneapolis during George Floyd-related protests and unrest.

This is false. Trump did not bring in the National Guard — but Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, did. 

12. Trump’s claim that Biden wants to “raise everybody’s taxes four times”

This is false, and it was also false in 2020 when Trump first made this claim. Biden has not suggested that he wants to quadruple Americans’ taxes, and there is no evidence that he plans to do so.

13. Trump’s claim that “there was no terror at all” during his administration

Yeah, no. There were various terrorist attacks on the United States during the Trump presidency — some of which he even addressed in his 2018 State of the Union. Trump’s Justice Department alleged that a 2017 mass murder in New York City was a terrorist attack carried out in support of ISIS. The same Justice Department alleged that an attack on a Florida military base in 2019 carried out by an extremist member of Saudi Arabia’s military “was motivated by jihadist ideology.”

Staying informed is key to making important decisions when it comes time to vote. For more on Her Campus’s content surrounding the 2024 election, check out our Election hub.

Cate Scott

Syracuse '26

Cate Scott is a third-year Syracuse University student pursuing a dual degree in journalism and creative writing. Actively contributing to multiple campus publications and constantly learning about the journalism field in her courses, she is dedicated to expanding her writing skills across various disciplines and formats. She is currently based in Greater Boston and is interested in exploring magazine writing, politics, investigative work, and culture. Cate has been reading and writing poetry and personal essays for years. She hopes to pursue creative writing as well as her journalistic passions in her future career. Beyond her academic pursuits, Cate is a runner and seasoned music nerd. She is on her school's club sailing team and is a proud and active sorority member. The highlights of her weeks include hosting her college radio show, exploring Syracuse, finding time to play her guitar, and doing it all with her roommates and best friends. A native New Englander, Cate spends her summers taking the train into Boston and hiking with her German Shepherd, Maggie.