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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., Thursday, July 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Sophie Austin
By Sophie Austin July 10, 2020

Editor’s note: PolitiFact’s Stump Speech Analyzer looks at the content and accuracy of candidate stump speeches. Following our summary of the speech’s main themes, we present fact-checks of specific talking points. Read our previous stump speech analyzers for Joe Biden and the Democratic primary field.

The speech: Biden’s 30-minute speech in Dunmore, Pa., July 9, 2020.

Leaning into his background as a Scranton, Pa., native, former Vice President Joe Biden laid out his plans to help small businesses and families recover from the pandemic at a stump speech in the state. 

Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, criticized President Donald Trump on the economy, called out his divisive rhetoric and challenged his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Donald Trump may believe that pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him," Biden said in a speech in Dunmore, Pa. "We have a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, a climate crisis. We need to come together to solve these crises, to solve them as Americans."

Biden is proposing a $15 minimum wage, advancing the country's manufacturing sector and tightening "Buy American" rules.

He also pushed for paid family and medical leave and improved sanitary conditions for workers. He said he wants the U.S. to spend $45 million on Title I schools, which have high numbers of children from low-income families.

Biden focused on the impact of the pandemic on women and people of color and said he wants to make it easier for families to afford child care and fight for fairer wages for caretakers of children and older people.

"This is our moment to imagine and to build a new American economy for our families and for our communities. An economy where every American, every American has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in," Biden said.

Fact-checking Biden’s statements

"An economy that says investing in American people and working families is more important than the nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks predominantly handed out to the super wealthy."

This amount needs context. Biden is referring to the 2017 Republican-backed tax law that was projected to add $1.8 trillion to the national deficit over 10 years, according to a 2019 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed in Congress without a single Democratic vote, benefits wealthier Americans disproportionately, but the tax bill does give tax cuts to every income group, on average. (Some taxpayers in each group will not get a tax cut, depending on their own financial circumstances, but on average, each of the income ranges do.)

People who made between $100,000 and $200,000 saw the largest tax cuts, and people making $200,000 to $500,000 saw the second largest share of reductions. People with incomes below $50,000 collected 6.6% of the bill’s tax gains.

"When it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing other than predicting the virus would disappear or maybe if you drank bleach you may be okay, Trump has simply given up."

This is exaggerated. Trump didn’t say that people infected with COVID-19 would be healed if they drank bleach. He did, however, ponder the idea of applying disinfectants to the site of virus infection inside a person’s body. Following Trump’s statements, medical experts and the maker of Lysol warned that disinfectants should not be used inside one’s body.

Says "360,000 Pennsylvanians fought on the side of the Union to defeat the flag, that Confederate flag, including more Black soldiers coming from the state of Pennsylvania than any other state in the nation."

He’s largely right: More Black Pennsylvanians fought in the Civil War than soldiers from any other free state in the Union. But a touch of clarification is needed.

Biden didn’t explain the distinction between Black Union soldiers who fought in states where slavery was illegal or legal, or Black soldiers who fought for the Confederate states.

During the war, 360,000 Pennsylvanians fought for the Union Army, and 8,612 Black men from Pennsylvania served in the United States Colored Troops or the United States Colored Infantry. In total, about 185,000 Black troops served in the infantry.

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