PolitiFact Unfairly Rules Pence's Accurate Quotation of Biden Was 'Mostly False'

July 23rd, 2020 10:57 PM

So far in July, Joe Biden's ratings on the PolitiFact "Truth-0-Meter" look like this: Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly False, Mostly True. But Republicans speaking against Biden won't receive such generosity.

For example, Vice President Mike Pence drew a "Mostly False" recently for telling a Philadelphia gathering of police officers and their supporters that "I heard that, just yesterday, Joe Biden said that well-armed police, in his words, ‘become the enemy’ and he said that he would ‘absolutely cut funding for law enforcement.’" 

PolitiFact writers Louis Jacobson and Tom Kertscher quote from Biden's interview with radical-left activist Ady Barkan on the NowThis video channel. Try to figure out where Pence is false: 

Barkan said deadly police encounters with citizens could be reduced if some police funding were redirected to social services, mental health counseling and affordable housing. 

"Are you open to that kind of reform?" he asked.

Biden replied: "Yes. I proposed that kind of reform." 

Biden said he has called for more mental health funding, as well as police reforms such as transparency in officer misconduct records. He did not speak directly about reducing police funding. 

Wait, wait. If you're asked if you would "redirect" police funding to other social programs, how on Earth is that not speaking directly about reducing police funding?? If you told liberals you wanted to "redirect" funding from Planned Parenthood to somewhere else, they wouldn't play dumb like this. 

The "fact checkers" continued: 

Biden then talked about police using military equipment in their communities, which is where the "enemy" comment came up:

"Surplus military equipment for law enforcement — they don't need that. The last thing you need is an up-armored Humvee coming into a neighborhood; it's like the military invading. They don't know anybody; they become the enemy, they’re supposed to be protecting these people." 

Barkan then interjected, asking: "But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?"

Biden replied: "Yes. Absolutely." 

It's easy for an objective journalist to rule on Pence here: he quoted Biden accurately! 

But PolitiFact let Biden spin away from all this by claiming he said some other stuff that wasn't in the NowThis video: 

The Biden campaign gave PolitiFact an audio recording of that portion of the interview. After, "Yes. Absolutely," according to the recording, Biden said, "And by the way, not just redirect, condition them." He offered holding up federal law enforcement grants if agencies used no-knock warrants or did not eliminate choke holds.

So, Biden said he "absolutely" would shift some funds from police to other services, but he has also proposed adding funding for community policing.

If Biden's proposed adding money for community policing, it did not come on this video, which was what Pence was quoting. The ending PolitiFact summary is their familiar pro-Democrat refrain -- "context" is inadequate! 

Pence said Biden "said that well-armed police in his words ‘become the enemy’ and he said that he would ‘absolutely cut funding for law enforcement.’" 

Biden said police become the enemy when they use military equipment in a way that’s like invading a neighborhood. That context is missing from Pence’s portrayal.

Biden also said he is open to redirecting some police funding to social services, but he has stated opposition to fully defunding the police. In fact, he has proposed more funding for community policing and using federal funding to incentivize police reform.

The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

We rate this is a deeply distorted fact-check. You can take action by protesting their unfair rulings on PolitiFact's Facebook page.