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WaPo fact-checker busts Biden campaign ad for deceptive edits of Trump comments to nurse

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In a fact-check of a recently released ad from the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the Washington Post noted that the producers selectively edited video of comments exchanged between President Donald Trump and a healthcare professional to make it seem like he was interrupting her.

The paper notes that the president met with nurses in the Oval Office on May 6 to sign a proclamation for National Nurses Day.

The Biden campaign has turned the event into a 30-second attack ad that has since been tweeted by the Democratic contender himself.

“With strumming guitar music, the video shows Trump appearing to interrupt a nurse who mentions that supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been “sporadic.” The video ends with display text: ‘Happy National Nurses Week from the president (only to nurses who agree with him),’” the Post noted.

However, the paper adds that there is important video footage missing from the attack ad, which centers in on an exchange the president had with one of the visiting nurses following a question by a reporter about personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages.

One of the nurses says that “it was getting bad,” but added that manufacturers ramped up production and filled the gap. That, the nurse continued, there was still a shortage of personnel.

At that point, Sophia Thomas (center, above), president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, said, “I think it’s sporadic.”

Continuing, she added: “As I talk to my colleagues around the country, certainly there are pockets of areas where PPE is not ideal. But this is an unprecedented time. I’ve been reusing my N95 mask for a few weeks now. I just broke out a new one to come here, just in case I needed to wear it.”

After making a couple of additional remarks, she notes further, “My youngest patient has been four days old — a four-day-old infant. And so PPE has been sporadic, but it’s been manageable, and we do what we have to do. We’re nurses, and we learn to adapt and we do whatever the best thing that we can do for our patients to get the job done and get the care provided. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do as COVID-19 continues.”

But it’s here where the Biden ad producers take their liberties and begin splicing.

In the attack ad, she says, “I’ve been reusing my N95 mask for a few weeks now … so PPE has been sporadic.”

It is without context; left out is the fact that she was talking about “pockets of areas” in an “unprecedented time” and that the situation has been “manageable.”

During the event, the president responded, “Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.” Thomas then readily acknowledged, “Oh, no. I agree, Mr. President. Absolutely.”

Then Trump said, “Because I’ve heard the opposite.”

The Post adds:

The Biden video does two tricky things. First, it shows Thomas only saying “Oh,” eliminating the fact that she says she agrees with Trump. Then, the video highlights Trump crossing his arms when he says the line about hearing the opposite.

The impression left is that Trump is a jerk, cutting Thomas off mid-sentence and then folding his arms in a defiant stance. 

But of course, Thomas actually agreed with the president’s assessment.

During the rest of the encounter, the president says, at one point, that the U.S. has a “tremendous supply” of PPE. Also, the attack ad doesn’t include comments from two other nurses at the event who said they had not seen any PPE supply issues.

That included a New Jersey nurse who said while she had continually seen stories about supply issues, “in reality, I’m not seeing it. I’m in a hot zone right now.”

The Biden people defended the ad.

“President Trump could have prepared the United States for the coronavirus, but instead of heeding warnings from Vice President Biden, public health experts, and the intelligence community, Trump wasted precious months downplaying the threat and blithely praising the Chinese government’s spin,” Michael Gwin, a Biden campaign spokesman, said in a statement, the Post reported.

You know who served in the Oval Office before President Trump? Barack Obama; and Biden was his VP. Why didn’t they tweak the supply chain to be better prepared for pandemics after dealing with Swine flu and later, the threat of Ebola?

Jon Dougherty

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