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Politifact VA: Joe Biden on COVID-19 Impacting Police, His Income

Joe Biden being sworn in
Joe Biden made claims about his income and the risks COVID-19 poses to law enforcement, which Politifact VA analyzed. (Photo: Chad J. McNeeley/Public Domain)

CRAIG: Warren, you have a couple of fact-checks this week on Joe Biden.

WARREN: That’s right. The first one is on a comment he made to steelworkers in Detroit on September 9th, while talking about his tax plan.

Biden wants to repeal most of President Trump’s tax cuts and put a heavier burden on the wealthy. Among other things, he’d raise Social Security taxes on couples earning more than $400,000. 

He told the steelworkers, “No one making under $400,000, which is more money than I’ve ever made,  is going to have to pay more taxes."

PolitiFact looked into Biden’s claim that he’s never made more than $400,000 a year.

CRAIG: Is it accurate?

WARREN: Well, it was for most of Biden’s career, when he was a senator and vice-president, and his wife, Jill, was a teacher.

The Biden’s tax returns show there was only one year - 2013 -   when their total income   was above $400,000. That year, they reported making $407,000. 

But when Biden left the vice-presidency in 2017,  the money began pouring. 

He wrote a book and  - according to his disclosures - had more than 50 very profitable speaking gigs.  And by very profitable,  I mean usually leaving with a six-figure check in  his pocket.

For 2017, the Bidens reported making $11 million. For 2018 - the latest year available - they reported making $4.5 million.

Biden’s campaign says his claim he never made more than $400,000 refers to his days as a public official. 

But Biden never delineated that, and PolitiFact rated his statement Mostly False.

CRAIG: All right. Let’s move on to the second Biden claim.

WARREN: Sure. This one’s from August 31 - right after the Republican Convention - where Trump cast himself as a friend to police and a leader in the fight against COVID.

We’ve got Biden’s comment on tape:

"More cops have died from COVID this year than have been killed on patrol."

CRAIG: Warren, does Biden have this right?

WARREN: For the most part. But it depends on your definition of a cop. 

Records from the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund show 101 law enforcement officials had died of COVID when Biden made his statement, andd87 from all other    work-related causes - including shootings  and accidents.

The Officer Down Memorial Page has similar figures .

So clearly,  COVID outweighs all other causes of deaths combined for on-duty law enforcement officials.

But about one-third of this group includes prison guards and detention officers, who are especially exposed to the virus. And not everyone considers them “cops,” which is the term Biden used. 

If you exclude prison and detention officials from the count - you find that COVID is a big threat to cops. But it’s not bigger than the causes of all cop  deaths combined, as  Biden says.

So because of the definition problem, PolitiFact rated this Biden statement Mostly True.