FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, has rounded up a dozen of the year’s worst false and misleading claims in “The Whoppers of 2023,” including claims by President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
According to FactCheck.org, Biden expanded on a past whopper about reducing the federal deficit, Trump claimed without evidence that countries are sending inmates and people with mental illness to the United States illegally, and Kennedy, a well-known vaccine critic, wrongly said that vaccines are not tested for safety in clinical trials.
FactCheck.org also spotlights misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war, Hunter Biden and the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Here are excerpts of three FactCheck.org items (which are presented in no particular order):
Emptied prisons and “insane asylums.” In his speech announcing his candidacy for president in June 2015, Donald Trump famously said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume are good people.” For his 2024 campaign, Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric, demonizing immigrants even further with unsubstantiated claims that a surge in unauthorized border crossings under Biden is the result of countries around the world “emptying out their prisons, insane asylums and mental institutions and sending their most heinous criminals to the United States.” Immigration experts we talked to said there’s simply no evidence that is happening. One expert told us Trump’s claim appeared to be “a total fabrication.”
More deficit deception. Biden continued to misleadingly claim that his administration’s policies reduced the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion, a claim that made our 2022 Whoppers list. He doubled-down again this year, claiming to have “cut the federal deficit” by making some corporations pay a 15% corporate alternative minimum tax. In fact, the deficit in fiscal year 2023, when the tax went into effect, increased to about $1.7 trillion — up from nearly $1.4 trillion the previous year.
RFK Jr.’s misinformation campaign. This year, after announcing his bid for the presidency, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. took his years-long effort to spread misinformation about vaccines and health to the campaign trail. Now running as an independent, Kennedy has repeated so many false and misleading claims to voters that we ran a three-part series on what he gets wrong.
Read FactCheck.org’s full list of the year’s whoppers.