WASHINGTON — The Washington Post crowned President Biden Monday with its Trump-era “bottomless Pinocchio” rating after he told multiple untruths and committed several gaffes ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
It’s the first time the newspaper has “awarded” Biden the not-so-coveted rating, which it defines as a statement repeated at least 20 times that is so false that it has received either “three Pinocchios” or “four Pinocchios” on prior occasions.
The statement in question is Biden’s oft-repeated claim that he has spent “more time with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping than any other head of state,” traveling “17,000 miles with him.” The statement has been proven false, with the White House in February 2021 telling the newspaper it was “a reference to the total travel back and forth — both internally in the US and China, and as well as internationally — for meetings they held together.”
But even that claim proved to be inaccurate.
“There is no evidence Biden traveled that much with Xi, the president of China — and even if we added up the miles Biden flew to see Xi, it still did not total 17,000 miles,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote Monday.
Biden made the comment for the 20th and 21st times during political events in California and New Mexico last week.
The newspaper created the “bottomless” rating during the Trump administration to describe “false or misleading statements repeated so often that they became a form of propaganda.” Trump earned 56 such ratings by the time he left office in January 2021.
Kessler also called out the president for claiming that “the most common price of gas in America is $3.39 — down from over $5 when I took office,” which he said Oct. 27.
Biden repeated the claim on Twitter Sunday, noting that the “most common price at gas stations across the country is $3.19.”
The issue is with Biden’s use of the term “most common” — which does not equal the “average.” The average price at the pump when he took office was about $2.48, according to the Energy Information Administration.
While it’s true that the most common price for gas — or the mathematical “mode” of all prices — was about $3.19, according to the GasBuddy App, the average price of gas was about $3.80 per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA.
By referring to the most-often-seen price, Biden sidestepped having to incorporate some of the highest prices seen in the US in his tally.
The Washington Post also criticized the White House for touting both in public remarks and a since-deleted Nov. 1 tweet that seniors were “getting the biggest increase in their Social Security in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership.”
While the remark is technically true, it’s not because of some tremendous feat by the administration. The reason for the hike is soaring inflation: A 1972 law holds that Social Security must be adjusted each year to keep up with inflation rates.
Thus, seniors over 65 and other eligible recipients next year will see about an 8.7% increase in benefits, according to the Social Security Administration, which will cost taxpayers around $100 billion.