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VERIFY: White House did list 'ending COVID-19 pandemic' as an accomplishment

A White House official has since said that the press release was 'poorly-worded.'

Democrats have criticized a White House press release sent to news outlets this week for listing “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as an accomplishment despite rising numbers of cases in many states.

In fact, presidential candidate Joe Biden brought it up about three and a half minutes into a rally Wednesday. 

“Yesterday the White House science office – and this stunned me – put out a statement listing ending the COVID-19 pandemic as the top accomplishment of President Trump’s first term, at the very moment when infection rates are going up in almost every state of our union,” the former vice president said.

So, did the White House really say that ending the pandemic is an accomplishment of Trump's presidency?

THE QUESTION

Did a White House statement include “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as an accomplishment of the Trump administration?

THE ANSWER

Yes, it’s included in a press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah later said in an interview that the press release was “poorly-worded” and intended to express how ending the pandemic was a goal.

WHAT WE FOUND

The release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, published by a number of media outlets, was promoting a larger document highlighting the administration’s accomplishments during Trump's first term in office. 

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In the statement’s first highlighted accomplishment, it says, “ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

The larger public document that the White House released of these accomplishments doesn’t include this line. In fact, it doesn’t include “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as an accomplishment at all. This press release is the only place that the White House lists it as an accomplishment.

Credit: AP
The White House is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, the morning after President Donald Trump returned from the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Farah was interviewed by Fox News on Wednesday and talked about the release. “I think that was poorly-worded. The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus,” she said about two minutes into the interview.

Regardless, the pandemic is still ongoing. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported single-day COVID-19 infection records.

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