Democrat Joe Biden is set to deliver controversial remarks in his annual address to Congress on Wednesday evening ahead of his 100th day in office.
"100 days since I took the oath of office — lifted my hand off our family Bible — and inherited a nation in crisis," Biden claimed in prepared remarks. "The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War."
"Now — after just 100 days — I can report to the nation: America is on the move again," Biden claimed. "Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength."
Analyzing Biden's remarks:
1. That he inherited a nation dealing with "the worst pandemic in a century."
It is true that the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China, is the worst pandemic that the world has faced in more than 100 years. However, context is important in analyzing his remarks because Biden seeks to cast the situation that he inherited as being as dire as possible.
The Biden administration has made false statements about the situation that they inherited, including falsely claiming that they were "starting from scratch." Former COVID testing czar Brett Giroir slammed Biden, saying that Biden was "completely rewrit[ing] history," adding, "we had already given a pace of one million [vaccinations] per day by the time the inauguration hit."
The Washington Post reported on January 22:
Even with vaccine shortages and bottlenecks in delivery, the pace needed to meet the new administration's goal — 1 million doses administered per day — was already achieved Friday and four other daysof the previous eight, according to Washington Post data. The accelerating speedof the program undercuts assertions by some Biden advisers that they were left no plan by the Trump administration and suggests they need only to keep their feet on the pedal to clear the bar they set for themselves.
To ensure success, top Biden aides have presented unflattering portraits of the state of the immunization campaign begun by their predecessors and promised to overhaul the use of the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law used to compel production of critical items.
But the Trump administration used the law 18 times in relation to vaccine production, according to current and former officials.
It is also worth noting that by the time Biden took office, coronavirus infections had already peaked at 312,024 cases on January 8 and had fallen to 188,391 on the day that Biden was sworn in.
2. That he inherited "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
Had Biden stepped into office a year ago, then he could make this claim. However, the economy had already started to recover by the time that he took over.
National Review reports that Biden's claim has "no basis in reality," writing:
It's true that last spring, the unemployment rate had hit 13.3 percent. But in January 2021, it had been cut in half, and was 6.3 percent. You don't have to go back to the 1930s to find that kind of joblessness — the unemployment rate was higher than 6.3 percent for the first five years of the Obama-Biden administration.
It's true that the economy contracted severely in last year's second quarter. But in the third quarter of 2020, real GDP increased 33.4 percent. And in the fourth quarter — which concluded just before Biden took office — growth was 4 percent.
3. That he inherited a nation that had suffered "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War."
CNN's Jim Acosta highlighted on Twitter: "Biden to refer to Jan 6 insurrection as 'the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War' in speech tonight."
However, in the portion of the remarks that were released, Biden does not specifically refer to the January 6 riot.
Assuming, as Acosta did, that Biden was referring to the January 6 riot, gets Biden into trouble because there are several events that, by objective measures, were worse than the January 6 riot.
Five people died during the January 6 riot, which experts have estimated caused $30 million dollars in damage.
The riots that broke out in 2020 over the death of George Floyd were estimated to have caused up to $2 billion in damage,and those are numbers that only span May 26-June 8, 2020. Those numbers do not include attacks on the federal courthouse in Portland or the violent riot that broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in September 2020. The Guardian noted last year that "at least 11 Americans have been killed while participating in political demonstrations this year and another 14 have died in other incidents linked to political unrest." The Major Cities Chiefs Association said that more than 2,000 law enforcement officers had been injured during the protests and riots.
Others online quickly pointed out that the loss of life and damage caused during the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks and the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 were both substantially higher than the January 6 riot.
Biden to refer to Jan 6 insurrection as "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War" in speech tonight. pic.twitter.com/rW6L2ybDRQ— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 28, 2021