Before President Donald Trump began reading out a list of policy positions he called “extreme,” he said: “These are actual key elements of the Biden-Sanders unity platform.”
Actually, many of them were not.
In a rambling Tuesday speech in the White House Rose Garden, Trump systematically twisted and exaggerated the policy recommendations made by the “unity task forces” appointed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his longest-lasting rival in the party primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Many of the proposals were further to the left than Biden’s own proposals during the primary, when he was running as a relative moderate against the democratic socialist Sanders and other ardent progressives. But while Trump accurately described some of the new proposals – such as ending cash bail, mandatory minimum sentences and the death penalty, providing free community college tuition to all students regardless of immigration status, and transitioning to a zero-emissions government vehicle fleet – he wrongly described numerous others.
And Trump made his false and misleading claims while reading from a prepared text, creating the inaccurate impression that he was reciting the actual words of the task force document.
What Trump claimed the task forces said: “Abolish immigration detention. No more detention. You come in here illegally, no more detention.”
What the task forces actually recommended: Abolishing for-profit immigration detention centers, not all immigration detention.
The task forces did advocate reducing the use of immigration detention, treating it as “a last resort, not the default,” but never proposed doing away with it entirely.
What Trump claimed the task forces said: “Abolish all charter schools.”
What the task forces actually recommended: Banning for-profit charter schools from receiving federal funding, not abolishing all charter schools.
The task forces did take a generally skeptical approach to charter schools, calling for “conditioning federal funding for new, expanded charter schools or for charter school renewals on a district’s review of whether the charter will systematically underserve the neediest students.”
What Trump claimed the task forces said: “Mandate net-zero carbon emissions for homes, offices, and all new buildings by 2030.” He added, “That basically means no windows, no nothing.”
What the task forces actually recommended: Setting a “goal,” not imposing a mandate, of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030. This would not mean an end to windows: buildings with a whole bunch of windows can have net-zero emissions, which means they produce as much renewable energy as the energy they consume.