The nation’s fact-checkers had their work cut out for them in the first presidential debate Tuesday night.

It was difficult following the constant cross-talk and Donald Trump’s signature pin-ball style of quickly darting between subjects. Nevertheless, the New York Times and Washington Post had soon after  double-checked the claims of both candidates. Here’s are the most prominent falsehoods they found:

Donald Trump

“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen. … It’s a rigged election.”

Trump has repeatedly suggested that widespread voter fraud will invalidate any election results that don’t go his way. While isolated cases do exist, they are so rare as to be functionally nonexistent for the purposes of election results. The Brennan Center for Justice notes that you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud. 

An expansive study by News21 found ballot fraud constituted only 24.2% of prosecuted voter fraud between 2000 and 2012. Voter fraud overall is so rare that less than 500 cases were found during that period, out of literally billions of votes cast. 

“There aren’t 100 million people with preexisting conditions.”

This is false. A 2018 report by consumer group Avalere reported that 102 million Americans have preexisting conditions. Should the Affordable Care Act be repealed or struck down, however, not all of them are certain to see their rates go up. 

“They said it would take a miracle to bring back manufacturing. I brought back 700,000 jobs. They brought back nothing. They gave up on manufacturing.”

At its very highest point during the Trump administration, U.S. manufacturing added 480,000 jobs, not 700,000. That buffer was annihilated by the COVID-19 pandemic,  and the number currently sits at a net loss of 252,000 under Trump’s administration.

US President Donald Trump was combative through much of his first debate with Joe Biden US President Donald Trump was combative through much of his first debate with Joe Biden Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

“About the Green New Deal. And it’s not two billion or 20 billion, as you said, it’s 100 trillion dollars I’m talking about. They want to write down buildings and rebuild the building instead down the street. That is not where airplanes are out of business, where two car systems are out, where they want to take out the cows. Not you know, that’s not true either.”

Joe Biden never endorsed the Green New Deal, and the Green New Deal never contained language about airplanes or cows. Those were found in a  sentence in a fact sheet that was quickly retracted and disowned by the office of Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., one of the submitting members of the non-binding resolution. Biden’s own climate plan is substantially more limited, with a 30-year timeline rather than 10-year timeline toward net-zero emissions.

“Drug prices will be coming down 80 or 90 percent. ... Nobody’s done it. … I’ll give you an example. Insulin, it’s going to — it was destroying families, destroying people. … I’m getting it for so cheap, it’s like water. You want to know the truth? So cheap.”

Insulin prices remain high for the vast majority of patients. Most users require multiple vials a month at $300 a vial. His administration announced plans to cap insulin prices at $35 for a small subset of seniors who have the most expensive health care plans. The Trump administration has overall been ineffective at reducing drug prices, with the Consumer Price Index showing a 3% hike in rates since Trump took office.

“Seattle, they heard we were coming in the following day and they put up their hands and we got back Seattle, Minneapolis. We got it back, Joe, because we believe in law and order.”

A familiar assertion from Trump, who has alleged before that only him threatening Seattle officials with federal action prompted them to clear out protesters. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told the Washington Post, “It just never happened. I don’t know what world he’s living in.” The state of Washington’s governor is responsible for calling in the national guard and had called on them to assemble beforehand. 

“Portland, the sheriff just came out today and he said ‘I support President Trump.’”

Joe Biden

“We have a higher deficit with China now than we did before.”

Data from the Commerce Department suggests this is false, the U.S.’s trade deficit falling from $380 billion to $308 billion in 2019 due to Trump’s trade war. That number continued to fall in the first half of 2020. 

It is far less settled whether trade deficits are the universal ills that Trump characterizes them as. Michael Froman, former U.S. trade representative and a distinguished fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, said in 2017 that “every legitimate economist states that measuring trade policy by the size of the goods deficit is probably not a passing grade in a basic economics class.”