Aug 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Matt Gaetz: "Biden knows failure"

In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the virtual convention

A screenshot of Rep. Matt Gaetz addressesing the virtual convention on Monday. Photo: The Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) stoked fears while speaking at the Republican National Convention Monday night, saying Democrats will "disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door."

What he's saying: Gaetz, one of President Trump's top allies, focused on what an America under Joe Biden would look like.

  • "How about not settling for violence in our neighborhoods or at our border? Not settling for second-best to cheating China? And not settling for another round of bad decisions by basement-dwelling Joe Biden?"
  • "And Biden knows failure. His own Defense Secretary said, 'Biden has been wrong on every major foreign policy and national security decision for nearly four decades.'"

Reality check: Biden supports the Second Amendment. He released a plan in October that calls for banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, mandating universal background checks for all gun sales, except for gifts between close family members.

  • Biden and the Democrats have backed ending private prisons, but they have no plans to "empty" prisons.
  • Many MS-13 street gang members were prosecuted during the Obama administration, including the first member to be extradited from El Salvador to the U.S., the New York Times points out.

Yes, but: Defense Secretary Robert Gates did say in a 2014 book that Biden was wrong on foreign policy and national security issues, per the Atlantic.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more context on the claims by Gaetz.

Go deeper