Home 2020 Election Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims Trump ‘Did Not Want to Answer Any...

Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims Trump ‘Did Not Want to Answer Any Questions’ in Debate


CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden said President Donald Trump “did not want to answer any questions” in the first presidential debate.

VERDICT: FALSE. If anything, it was Biden who avoided questions — especially on the Supreme Court.

A voter asked Biden at an NBC town hall Monday night in Florida whether Trump had knocked him “off your game” at the first presidential debate last week.

Host Lester Holt followed up by noting that Biden had called the president names. Biden responded: “The one thing that became absolutely clear: he didn’t want to answer any questions. He did not want to talk about substance. If you notice, not one single time that I can recall did he offer a substantive answer or criticism related to a policy matter.”

That is false. Trump provided several substantive answers. It was Biden who avoided questions.

In fact, on the question of whether he would “pack” the Supreme Court — expand the number of seats and fill them with liberal justices, as some Democrats openly threaten to do — Biden flatly refused to answer the question. Nor would he provide a list of potential nominees.

While Holt described such exchanges as “ugly,” they made clear who did, and did not, want the question answered:

Moderator: So my question to you is, you have refused in the past to talk about it, are you willing to tell the American tonight whether or not you will support either ending the filibuster or packing the court?

Biden: Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.

Trump: Are you going to pack the court?

Biden: Vote now.

Trump: Are you going to pack the court?

Biden: Make sure you, in fact, let people know, your Senators.

Trump: He doesn’t want to answer the question.

Biden: I’m not going to answer the question.

Trump: Why wouldn’t you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices. Radical left.

Biden: Will you shut up, man?

Trump: Listen, who is on your list, Joe? Who’s on your list?

On other issues, Biden was more forthcoming, but his dodge on the Supreme Court was one of the highlights (or lowlights) of the evening.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.