Posts Spread Fake Biden Tweet About Coca-Cola, Diversity Training

Quick Take

A popular image is made to appear as if President Joe Biden posted a racist tweet discussing Coca-Cola and “cultural reappropriation.” There is no record of Biden ever posting that tweet.

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An image circulating on social media is made to look like a tweet from President Joe Biden discussing Coca-Cola and diversity training. But it’s bunk: There is no record of Biden ever tweeting the message in question.

The purported tweet, dated Feb. 21, reads: “I’m proud to see Coca-Cola educate their staff in cultural reappropriation. The disconnect is because the way white people talk leaving minorities confused. Black people communicate a certain way and me and my staff know how those kinds of people talk and it’s time white people learn to do the same #justforthetasteofit #dietcoke.”

But as we said, there is nothing to suggest Biden posted that tweet.

On Feb. 21, we found, his verified @JoeBiden Twitter account — the one used in the bogus screenshot — didn’t post any direct tweets that day. Instead, it only retweeted two posts from the official presidential account, @POTUS, about the late Rep. John Lewis and COVID-19. We also checked a log of deleted tweets from Biden maintained by ProPublica and didn’t find the supposed Coca-Cola tweet there, either.

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Biden Hasn’t Reduced COVID-19 Testing at the Border

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The Biden administration has made no changes to COVID-19 testing policies for either U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Patrol. But a claim circulating online falsely suggests that the administration has stopped testing detained immigrants before they are released.

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A Texas sheriff told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Feb. 9, “it’s absolutely true” that immigrants detained after crossing the border have been released into the U.S. without being tested for COVID-19.

The sheriff, A.J. Louderback, then cited and misrepresented a memo issued by David Pekoske, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on the first day of President Joe Biden’s term.

That exchange was highlighted in a story on a conservative website, The Political Insider, with the headline: “Texas Sheriff Claims Biden Admin Releasing Illegal Immigrants Into U.S. Without COVID Testing.”

It’s true that Louderback made the claim — but the claim itself is false.

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Biden’s Misleading Vaccine Boasts

In remarks at a Pfizer manufacturing site, President Joe Biden made misleading claims while boasting about his administration’s progress in getting Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

Biden claimed that the Trump administration had “failed to order enough vaccines.” It had contracts in place for plenty of vaccines for all Americans, provided other vaccines gained authorization; Biden increased the orders from the two companies with authorized vaccines.The president claimed there was “no real plan to vaccinate most of the country” when he took office. There was indeed a plan to acquire and distribute vaccines. The Biden administration has done more on increasing vaccination sites and vaccinators.Biden exaggerated when he claimed that vaccinations have “nearly doubled” on his watch. Even measured at its peak, the seven-day rolling average has gone up 67%.He said Moody’s Analytics estimated that if his full COVID-19 relief plan becomes law, “the economy will create 7 million jobs this year.” But the financial services firm said 3.5 million of those jobs would be created regardless.Biden said without his COVID-19 relief plan, 40 million Americans would lose their benefits under the federal nutrition program. To add context, Biden’s plan would extend a 15% benefit increase enacted in December for an additional three months.

Biden spoke on Feb. 19 at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, manufacturing site.

Ordering Enough Vaccines

Biden claimed that the previous administration had “failed to order enough vaccines.” But that’s misleading.

The Biden administration increased the federal government’s vaccine orders with Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. But the Trump administration had options in place to order more from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.

The Trump administration also had contracted for even more doses from other companies, but that plan depended on those vaccines getting Food and Drug Administration authorization.

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Biden Administration Approved Texas Power Request, Contrary to False Claim

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The U.S. Department of Energy approved a request to allow power plants in snowstorm-battered Texas to temporarily bypass some environmental limits during its energy crisis, in order to produce more power. Viral headlines falsely claim the department rejected the request.

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On Feb. 14, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy requesting an emergency order to permit power plants in its market “to operate up to their maximum generation output levels,” within some limitations.

ERCOT runs the grid that serves the vast majority of Texas, and the state was facing down an energy crisis brought on by freezing temperatures and a severe winter storm — which left millions without power.

Later that same day, Acting Secretary of Energy David Huizenga issued an order approving ERCOT’s request.

On social media, however, viral headlines and social media posts are falsely proclaiming that the department rejected the request.

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Wind Turbines Didn’t Cause Texas Energy Crisis

A steep decline in energy generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power plants was largely responsible for the power outages in Texas during the deep freeze that recently gripped the state, according to the operators of the state’s power grid.

Despite that fact, several high-profile conservative figures — including the state’s governor — have wrongly placed the blame for power outages on wind turbines and have tied the issue to the Green New Deal, legislation Democrats proposed in 2019 with the aim of creating jobs and significantly reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. It didn’t pass in either the House or the Senate, but its tenets are still popular among progressives. President Joe Biden has supported its framework.

Electric service trucks line up after a snow storm on Feb. 16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Feb. 16, “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. … Our wind and our solar, they got shut down and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power in a statewide basis.”

The host of another Fox News show went even further. Tucker Carlson started a segment on his Feb. 15 show, saying, “The Green New Deal has come, believe it or not, to the state of Texas.” Meanwhile, a graphic showing a frozen water feature in the “splash and play kids zone” of a Dallas-area hotel played over his shoulder — it looked vaguely like a windmill.

Later, Carlson said, “Green energy inevitably means blackouts. … Green energy means a less reliable power grid. Period. It means failures like the ones we’re seeing now in Texas. … It’s science.”

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Viral Posts Attribute Fake Tweet to Cruz

Quick Take

A screenshot purports to show a 2016 tweet from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz concerning climate change. Cruz’s office said the tweet was fake, and there is no record of Cruz ever posting it. The phony screenshot went viral anyway.

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As critics lambasted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun, Mexico, for a family trip amid a winter storm emergency in his state, social media users widely shared a supposed 2016 tweet from the Republican concerning his views on climate change.

“I’ll believe in climate change when Texas freezes over,” the purported tweet reads.

But there is no record of Cruz ever posting that tweet.

The image shows the tweet being posted at 5:44 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2016. We searched on Twitter and found no trace of Cruz posting the tweet then — or at any other time. Nor did we find the post in an archived version of his Twitter account from Sept. 9, 2016.

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FactChecking Biden’s Vaccination Goal

President Joe Biden this week boasted on Twitter about his promise to administer 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office, “With the progress we’re making I believe we’ll not only reach that, we’ll break it.” But as some critics have noted, it was a pretty low bar to begin with.

On the day Biden was inaugurated, the U.S. administered nearly 1.5 million shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker. On that day, the seven-day average for the previous week was about 966,000 shots a day. In other words, the U.S. was already virtually at the pace Biden set as his goal before he took any action as president.

By Biden’s second day in office, the seven-day average was at the 1 million doses per day average needed to meet his 100-day goal.

Before I took office, I set a big goal of administering 100 million shots in the first 100 days. With the progress we’re making I believe we’ll not only reach that, we’ll break it.

— President Biden (@POTUS) February 16, 2021

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Posts Mislead on Biden’s Response to Texas Emergency

Quick Take

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Texas after a winter storm began wreaking havoc, and held a call with its governor as the state experienced power outages. But Facebook posts misleadingly claim there has not been “one word” on the emergency from Biden.

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On Feb. 14, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Texas following the start of a severe winter storm that crippled the state.

Yet thousands of Facebook users have shared posts implying that Biden has ignored the matter.

“4 million freezing Texans without power…not one word from Joe!” one Feb. 17 post, shared more than 4,000 times, reads. Another post from the same day, shared by more than 3,000 users, similarly says: “4 million without power and not a peep from Joe. Anyone surprised?”

We didn’t find direct, public remarks from Biden about the crisis in Texas prior to Feb. 17 — such as, say, on Twitter or during his Feb. 16 CNN town hall event. But the claims mislead by disregarding the fact that he approved the emergency declaration days earlier — and also held a Feb. 16 call with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and the governors from six other states, to discuss the extreme weather conditions.

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Instagram Post Makes Invalid Comparison Between COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines

Quick Take

A tweet shared on Instagram baselessly claims that a person is 300 to 900 times more likely to die “after getting the #Covid vaccine than the flu vaccine.”  But the comparison is faulty — and there is no proof that people are dying from COVID-19 vaccines.

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A Feb. 15 tweet, subsequently shared on Instagram, cites unvetted information submitted to a federal database to baselessly claim that COVID-19 vaccines are significantly more dangerous than influenza vaccines. Experts, however, say that’s a misuse of the numbers — and the suggestion that COVID-19 vaccines are killing one in every 10,000 immunized people is groundless.

“How much more likely are you to die after getting the #Covid vaccine than the flu vaccine?” the tweet, from novelist and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, begins.

“300-900 times, based on federal VAERS reports. Yes, 900,” he answers, referring to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, adding that for COVID-19 vaccines, it’s “1 death reported per 35,000 shots or 10,000 completed vaccinations (so far),” but for flu “1 death per 9,000,000 vaccinations.”

“That’s a safe vaccine,” Berenson then says of the flu vaccine. “Those deaths are likely coincidental, a simple result of the number of shots given. The #Covid vax, not so much.”

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FactChecking Biden’s Town Hall

President Joe Biden got some facts wrong and spun others in a Feb. 16 town hall that aired on CNN.

He said it was “not true” that he had revised his 100-day school reopening goal, saying it “was reported” that he meant a majority of schools only need to be open one day a week. That’s exactly what his press secretary had said.Biden left the false impression that the preceding administration had contracted for fewer COVID-19 vaccines than it actually had.The president wrongly claimed that Federally Qualified Health Centers would now receive 1 million vaccines per week. That’s the total number of vaccines that they will receive, not the weekly amount.He claimed, without evidence, that racehorse owners receive tax breaks worth almost $9 billion.Regarding his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, Biden said there is “consensus among economists left, right, and center” that “we can’t spend too much.” But some center-left economists say the plan may be too large.The president wrongly said the federal minimum wage of $7.25 would be $20 if it had been indexed for inflation; he instead meant if it had been indexed for worker productivity.Biden wrongly claimed the “vast majority” of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally are not “Hispanics,” but “people who came on a visa … and didn’t go home.” Most of the unauthorized population came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico and other Latin American nations.

The town hall was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Biden Clarifies School Reopening Goal

Biden said it was “not true” that he had revised his 100-day school reopening goal to mean a majority of schools only need to be open one day a week, claiming that was “what was reported.”

It’s what was reported because that’s exactly what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

As we noted in our story “Biden’s Underwhelming School Reopening Goal,” two studies that looked at random samples of school districts around the country estimated that a majority of schools were already offering in-person school at least one day a week, and had been doing so before Biden took office.

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Video Airs False, Misleading Claims About Face Masks

Quick Take

Evidence of the efficacy of face masks to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus has grown since the start of the pandemic. But a Facebook video, viewed tens of thousands of times, uses false and misleading claims to tell viewers that masks are “unsafe” and “ineffective.”

This image from the National Institute of Standards and Technology illustrates airflow when coughing with and without a mask. Credit: M. Staymates/N. Hanacek/NIST

Full Story

A Missouri-based chiropractor — who has been previously warned by federal officials to stop spreading misleading content regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments — is now wrongly telling Facebook users that face masks have been proven “unsafe” and “ineffective.”

In a Feb. 11 video live-streamed on Facebook and viewed more than 70,000 times, Eric Nepute rattles off a list of 20 arguments against wearing face masks — claiming, for example, that they cause cavities and “facial deformities” and increase the chances of contracting the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

But many of Nepute’s claims are false, misleading or unsupported. And a central takeaway — that masks are “ineffective” — is rebuffed by recent evidence to the contrary.

Two doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently summarized the growing evidence that masks can help to control community spread of the virus. In a piece for the Journal of the American Medical Association, they wrote: “Compelling data now demonstrate that community mask wearing is an effective nonpharmacologic intervention to reduce the spread of this infection, especially as source control to prevent spread from infected persons, but also as protection to reduce wearers’ exposure to infection.”

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Graham Twists Facts on Harris Support for Protesters

Last year, before she was vice president, Kamala Harris used her social media accounts to encourage donations to a Minnesota nonprofit “to help post bail” for individuals arrested in the state while protesting the death of George Floyd.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham twisted those facts to claim “she actually bailed out rioters,” one of whom, he said, “went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open.”

We found no evidence that happened.

Graham made those remarks during a Feb. 14 interview on “Fox News Sunday,” in which he discussed the Senate vote the day before to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Graham said Trump’s second impeachment trial, which the South Carolina senator called “a joke” based on “hearsay upon hearsay,” had “opened Pandora’s box.”

“If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House, because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open,” Graham said.

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SciCheck Video: The Facts About Fauci and Masks

In this video, we explain how accumulating scientific evidence ultimately led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change its guidance on the wearing of face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, continues to be criticized for saying in a March 2020 interview that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” But his comments were in line with CDC guidance at the time. The CDC recommended the use of face masks by those who had COVID-19 and their caregivers.

Then, in April, after health officials learned more about how much the virus was being transmitted by people without symptoms, the CDC reversed course and began recommending that everyone wear face coverings in public. At that point, Fauci, too, began encouraging universal mask use.

For more information, see our SciCheck article “Video Wrong About Fauci, COVID-19.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org does not accept advertising. We rely on grants and individual donations from people like you. Please consider a donation. Credit card donations may be made through our “Donate” page. If you prefer to give by check, send to: FactCheck.org, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 202 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104. 

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Video Makes Bogus Claims About ‘War Crimes’ and COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

Quick Take

A video falsely claims that people receiving authorized COVID-19 vaccines are taking part in a deadly clinical trial and that those administering the doses are war criminals under the Nuremberg Code. That’s bogus. People getting the vaccines, which have been shown to be safe and effective, consent to receive them and aren’t participating in research.

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A popular video from a British conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine activist makes a slew of false claims about government-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, including the incorrect notion that they are “experimental” and that the clinicians administering them are violating the Nuremberg Code.

That’s wrong on both counts. While phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccines are continuing as planned to collect additional data, that doesn’t mean the immunizations are experimental or that people who are now getting vaccinated are participating in a trial.

Moreover, nothing about the Nuremberg Code applies to the situation, as people getting the vaccines are doing so as part of their own medical care, not research. They also consent to receive the jabs and information about the vaccines is widely available.

The video also baselessly claims that the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous and tantamount to a “global genocide,” citing deaths that have not been proven to be from vaccines.

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Biden’s Underwhelming School Reopening Goal

Two studies show a school reopening goal detailed by the Biden administration for his first 100 days may have already been met before President Joe Biden took office.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki this week added some fine print to Biden’s vow to reopen a majority of schools, saying the president meant there would be in-person teaching at least one day a week in more than 50% of schools by day 100. While there are no federal data on school reopenings, two studies that looked at random samples of school districts around the country estimate that such a threshold already has been surpassed.

Introducing his health team on Dec. 8, then president-elect Biden unveiled the school reopening objective as one of three key goals for his first 100 days in office.

Biden, Dec. 8: The third thing I’m going to ask in the 100 days, it should be a national priority to get our kids back into school and keep them in school. If Congress provides the funding we need to protect students, educators and staff; if states and cities put strong public health measures in place that we all will follow, then my team will work to see that a majority of our schools can be opened by the end of my first 100 days. That’s right. We will look to have the most schools open that we can possibly in 100 days if Congress provides the funding we need.

Biden reiterated that goal in a speech in Delaware on Dec. 29, this time narrowing the goal to kindergarten through eighth grade, and again warning that it would only be possible with “tens of billions of dollars” in additional school funding from Congress.

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OAN Report Features Baseless Assertion of Election Fraud by Algorithm

Quick Take

One America News Network recently spotlighted one man’s analysis that wrongly suggests precinct-level voting data in Georgia proved a computer algorithm was used to swing the election to President Joe Biden. A hand tally of paper ballots confirmed the election outcome, one of many indications the claim is false.

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The latest example in a string of bogus claims suggesting that the 2020 election was stolen via computer software comes from a dubious One America News Network report, which presents an analysis purportedly proving that precinct-level election results in Georgia were “impossible” without the use of an algorithm.

The video, now circulating on Facebook, highlights one person’s questionable analysis showing that former President Donald Trump got the same share of the votes across multiple precincts in Fulton County, Georgia, during specific reporting times.

But experts say the conclusion being offered in the video is bunk.

OAN’s Christina Bobb tells viewers that Edward Solomon, a “mathematician” who “took a closer look at the election results at the precinct level,” determined that “computer software must have used an algorithm to change the votes.” The algorithm was used “long enough to change the advantage,” she says.

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Biden’s Minimum Wage Exaggeration

President Joe Biden overstated the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $15, claiming that “if you’re making less than $15 an hour,” and working 40 hours a week, “you’re living below the poverty wage.” Not everyone earning less than that would be below the federal poverty guidelines or lifted above the guidelines with $15-an-hour pay.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates 17 million workers would be “directly affected” by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 — those workers would otherwise earn less than that. But the number in poverty would decline by 900,000.

Those working full-time and earning the current federal minimum wage — $7.25 an hour — would be below the federal poverty guideline of $17,420 for a family of two. Such a worker would earn only $14,500 if working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year. A White House spokesperson referred us to those poverty guidelines, while another spokesperson told PolitiFact.com that Biden was referring to families of four.

Workers earning between $11 and $13 an hour and in a family of four with no other income would still be below those poverty guidelines. But those earning $14 an hour — $28,000 a year — would be above the federal poverty level of $26,500 for a family of four.

Federal guidelines include higher thresholds for Alaska and Hawaii. In those states, workers earning $14 or $15 an hour in a family of four would be below the poverty guidelines.

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Schumer, Warren Misstate Student Loan Debt Disparity

In a press conference in which they called on President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for individuals, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren misstated a racial disparity statistic.

Schumer, who conferred with Warren on the figures, wrongly said “after 20 years, only 5% of whites have student debt, but 95% of African Americans have debt.” But the 2019 Brandeis University study the senators were trying to cite found that 51% of white student-loan holders and 74% of Black student borrowers still had debt 20 years after they started college. 

Warren speaks at the Feb. 4 press conference with Schumer and Omar behind her. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In addition, Warren imprecisely said their debt cancellation plan “would help close the Black-white wealth gap by 28 points for African Americans and by a similar number for Latinos.” Another 2019 analysis from Brandeis researchers found that racial wealth gaps among borrowing households only would be reduced by about that much. The reduction in the overall wealth gaps for all households would be much lower.

At the Feb. 4 press conference, Schumer and Warren were joined by Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Alma Adams, Ilhan Omar and Mondaire Jones in reintroducing a bicameral resolution pushing for the new president to use his power under the Higher Education Act to address student loan debt.

Warren and Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn previously introduced the Student Loan Debt Relief Act in July 2019, but it never received a vote in the House or Senate.

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McCarthy Misleads on State and Local Revenue

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy misleadingly argues that federal aid to state and local governments is unnecessary because state and local tax receipts were “the highest… in American history” in the third quarter.

State budget experts say the third quarter revenues were inflated, because almost all states moved the deadline for filing state taxes from April 15 to July 15 due to the pandemic, pushing more tax receipts to the third quarter. Many states also extended the deadline to submit sales tax receipts to the state, shifting revenue between quarters.

“It is critical to look at the entire pandemic period, rather than individual quarters, as there has been too much shifting of revenues from one quarter to another, from one fiscal year to another,” said Lucy Dadayan, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute. Looking at the pandemic months, she said, state and local revenues are down overall.

McCarthy and other Republicans also have pointed to a recent analysis from J.P. Morgan that found states have not seen the “apocalyptic declines” in tax revenue that some feared. Specifically, the analysis found that there was an average decline of 0.12% in state revenue in calendar year 2020, and that 21 states saw positive revenue growth compared with 2019.

After citing the J.P. Morgan analysis, McCarthy said direct aid to state and local governments amounts to “blue-state slush funds that are not needed.” (Among the 21 states that J.P. Morgan identified as seeing positive revenue growth in the 2020 calendar year, there is a mix of red and blue states.)

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Misleading DCCC Ads Link Republicans to QAnon

The campaign committee for House Democrats is running ads that claim eight House Republicans “stood with Q, not you,” because they voted against impeaching then-President Donald Trump for inciting the violent insurrection at the Capitol.

But none of the targeted Republicans is known to be an actual supporter of QAnon, whose acolytes baselessly think a group of elite pedophiles runs the government and the entertainment industry. Some QAnon followers also participated in the deadly Jan. 6 riot because they believed the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

While all eight members named by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee voted against impeaching Trump for a second time, three of them — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Don Bacon of Nebraska and Young Kim of California — supported a resolution to censure Trump for the role he played in the attack on Congress.

The DCCC says it is spending over $500,000 on the ad campaign that “exposes seven vulnerable Washington Republicans and [House] Minority Leader [Kevin] McCarthy for being too weak to stand up to President Trump and the QAnon mob after Trump whipped them into a murderous frenzy, making it clear that each ‘stood with Q, not you.'”

The ads, which are some of the first ones the committee has released for the 2022 election cycle, are playing online and airing on broadcast and cable stations in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Omaha and Washington, D.C.

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