How do you defend the indefensible? It is a question that Democrats and their media friends deal with on a daily basis.
And it was a question The Washington Post was faced with Tuesday when it attempted to fact check President Donald Trump.
The fact check was on a statement the president made about Democrats and late-term abortion, and even though the statement was factual, The Post’s fact-checker rated it false (“Three Pinocchios”).
This was Trump’s statement that was examined: “Virtually every Democrat candidate has declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”
The president was correct, but Rizzo did mental gymnastics to rate his statement false.
“Most abortions are performed in the earlier stages of pregnancy. About 1 percent happen after the fetus reaches the point of viability,” Rizzo said.
“In short, the president is describing something that rarely happens and that no Democrat is calling for anyway,” he said.
Rizzo went on to say former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, “does not take such a sweeping position” on abortion.
He also said Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — two of the last candidates to drop out of the race — favor having no restrictions on abortion, and he admitted the president has not made the statement since Biden took control of the race on Super Tuesday.
The president never said, “Joe Biden supports abortion until the time of birth.” He said almost all the Democratic candidates did so.
Rizzo’s argument that late-term abortions are rare is irrelevant to Trump’s statement that Democrats support it. Abortions in the case of rape are rare, but that is used as an argument to keep all abortions legal.
“A Trump campaign official said ‘almost all of the 2020 Democratic candidates refused to endorse any limits on abortion, even when pressed,’” Rizzo said.
The fact-checker wrote that the Trump official pointed to this line from a New York Times story that mentioned former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and Hawaii Rep Tulsi Gabbard:
“Asked if they supported restrictions after 24 weeks — roughly when a healthy fetus can survive outside the womb, though viability varies from pregnancy to pregnancy — only Mr. Sestak said yes. (Ms. Gabbard, who did not complete the survey, has also said she supports restrictions in the third trimester.)”
But Rizzo insisted that there was “more to the story,” saying Sanders and Warren both said “they would codify Roe. And they both co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which prohibits states from banning abortion before the fetus reaches viability.”
Um, OK? And how does that make what the president said false? Rizzo made the case for Trump’s statement being accurate.
In his conclusion, Rizzo wrote, “The statistics hardly justify Trump’s description of babies being ripped from the womb — a horror story he has repeated dozens of times. About 1 percent of abortions happen after the point of viability, so the cases at issue in this debate would be relatively rare.
“Trump also grossly exaggerated. Supporting abortion rights is not the same as supporting abortions. The Democrats in the presidential race appeared to be somewhat divided on abortion regulations, with some saying they favored no restrictions and others saying they favored limits based on settled law and Supreme Court rulings. They were not all marching in lockstep, as Trump invariably claims. Biden never went that far.
“It’s good to see that the president seems to have dropped this line after Super Tuesday, but the instances before that get Three Pinocchios. We hope he doesn’t dust off this line when the rallies resume.”
Three Pinocchios means “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. This gets into the realm of ‘mostly false.’ But it could include statements which are technically correct (such as based on official government data) but are so taken out of context as to be very misleading.”
How are the president’s claims “mostly false” or even misleading? Trump told the truth about the stated views of the candidates at the time, yet Rizzo found a way to claim the president was lying.
The best Rizzo could do was say that Biden does not support those extreme measures, but Trump never directly accused Biden of supporting abortion until the time of birth.
We rate this fact-checker a partisan con man.
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