42ºF

Trust Index: Fact-checking Trump-Biden final debate comments on race relations

Candidates make claims about work for Black Americans, anti-drug bill, Central Park Five, cages at border

Race and race relations remained a major point of contention during this latest and final presidential debate Thursday night.

This particular portion of the debate was largely devoid of talk of the recent protests or far-right or white nationalist groups. Instead there was a lot of talk of the candidates' history.

Trump’s claim on what he’s done for Black Americans

We’re starting with a claim the President has made frequently at rallies and speeches over the course of his time in office.

“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done,” Trump said.

The Trust Index team is labeling this one “be careful.”

Be Careful

After reviewing this topic, we've found some issues - Be Careful.

What is the Trust Index?

While it’s hard to quantify an individual President’s impact on any community, presidential historians generally disagree with the President’s self-assessment. According to one study from professors at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, which ranked presidents based on editorials and endorsements from Black newspapers, Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Abraham Lincoln topped the list. President Trump ranked 15th out of 20, sitting below President Richard Nixon.

Biden’s anti-drug bill claim

Next is a claim Biden made about a controversial anti-drug bill in the 1980s.

“In the 80s, we passed 100% -- all 100 senators voted for a bill on drugs -- and how to deal with drugs,” he said.

This is not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?

While Biden doesn’t name the bill, he does say it involved cocaine vs. crack sentencing, which means he’s likely talking about the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. According to records from the time, the bill passed 97 to 2 with one senator not voting.

Trump’s Central Park Five death penalty stance

Next is this claim Biden made about the President.

“This is a guy who went to Central Park Five, five innocent Black kids, to continue to push for making sure that they got the death penalty,” Biden said.

This is true.

It's True

We’ve reviewed information surrounding this topic and confirmed that It’s True.

What is the Trust Index?

In 1989 Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty to be used on the five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a jogger. Their sentences were vacated in 2002. The President has refused to apologize for running the ads.

Who built cages at the border

Finally, one last one from the President on who built cages for migrant children.

“And they said look at these cages, President Trump built them. And then it was determined they were built in 2014. That was (Biden),” Trump said.

This is true.

It's True

We’ve reviewed information surrounding this topic and confirmed that It’s True.

What is the Trust Index?

Chain-link holding cells were built during the Obama administration. The President is specifically referencing photos of cages in Arizona. According to records from the Obama administration, the cells were only used for 72 hour holds and not intended for long term separation.


More fact checks from the final presidential debate:


Presidential Town Hall fact checks from the Trust Index:


First Presidential debate fact checks from the Trust Index:


About the Author: