Democrat Joe Biden claimed during Thursday night’s presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee, that a Republican Congress foiled the Obama administration’s plans for criminal justice reform.
There’s just one problem: The Republicans controlled Congress for only the final two years of Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency.
Biden and President Donald Trump were debating the former vice president’s support of the 1994 crime bill, which has been denounced by many black Americans, when Biden said he plans to ensure that those convicted of drug crimes go to rehabilitation rather than prison.
The president then prodded Biden about why he did not already do what he thought was right when he had the opportunity.
“But why didn’t he do it four years ago? Why didn’t you do that four years ago? Even less than that. Why didn’t you when you were vice president? You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do, and you’re going to do this, but you were there just a short time ago and you guys did nothing,” Trump said.
“You know Joe, I ran because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job. If I thought you did a good job, I would’ve never run. I would’ve never run. I ran because of you. I’m looking at you now, you’re a politician, I ran because of you,” he said.
Biden discussed the crime bill and rehabilitation for drug offenders a few minutes later in the debate, sparking a response from the president.
“Let me ask one question: Why didn’t you do it in the eight years, a short time ago? Why didn’t you do it?” Trump said. “You just said, ‘I’m going to do that, I’m going to do this.’ You put tens of thousands of mostly black young men in prison, now you’re saying you’re going to get, you’re going to undo that. Why didn’t you get it done? You had eight years with Obama.
“You know why, Joe? Because you’re all talk and no action.”
“We had a Republican Congress,” Biden said, followed by a long pause. “That’s the answer.”
Twitter bristled to correct Biden.
Joe Biden tried to blame his 47 years of failure on a Republican Congress that only lasted 2 years.
— JT Lewis (@thejtlewis) October 23, 2020
Biden says he had a Republican congress. False. Obama had a Democrat congress until 2010. They had a super majority for the first part of the Obama’s first year until special elections. Absolutely lie.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) October 23, 2020
Biden’s assertion that Republican Congress stood in the way of criminal justice reform is 100% wrong. I was the lead sponsor of the bill and was pleading with Democrats to join us. Dems did not want Republicans to succeed with this bill. #BidenDidNothing
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) October 23, 2020
Trump responded to his opponent’s comment by saying, “You gotta talk them into it, Joe” — a sentiment shared by many on social media.
What’s even more hilarious about this is Mr. “I Will Be The President of All Americans” can’t get anything done with…Republicans?
Biden’s admitting he’s totally inept!
He doesn’t want to work with the other side. He wants to pack the court and usher in one-party Democrat rule pic.twitter.com/vFaOcz7lMv
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) October 23, 2020
“We had a Republican Congress,” Biden says of his inability to do more while he was VP.
— POLITICO (@politico) October 23, 2020
Joe Biden just told you he can’t work across the aisle. If ANY part of his Presidency sees a Republican Congress, he will abdicate his responsibilities.
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) October 23, 2020
When Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had a 257-178 majority in the House and a 56-42 majority in the Senate, according to The Spokesman-Review.
The House went into Republican hands in the 2010 election. The Senate followed suit in 2014, meaning that 2015 and 2016 were the only years when the Obama administration faced a Republican Congress.
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