Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. (AP) In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. (AP)

In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher January 5, 2022

Biden’s ‘no federal solution’ clip doesn’t save Trump PAC’s attack on Biden and COVID-19 plan

If Your Time is short

  • The claim uses out of context a remark by Biden that there is “no federal solution” for the pandemic. Biden was referring to efforts being carried out at the federal, state and local levels to fight COVID-19.

  • As a candidate and as president, Biden has put forth a number of detailed plans to try to counter the virus.

Donald Trump’s political action committee uses an ad peppered with Joe Biden sound bites to claim that Biden never had a plan to tackle the pandemic.

It’s a curious attack. Many Republicans, including supporters of the former president, complain that COVID-19 plans carried out by Biden have gone too far.

At the same time, Biden did make a comment over the holidays about there being "no federal solution." But Trump’s Save America PAC took Biden’s remark out of context.

A post sharing the ad was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Trump’s Save America

Save America was formed a week after Election Day in November 2020. It is a leadership PAC, which politicians typically use to support or oppose other candidates. 

Save America had $90 million in cash on hand as of June 30, according to its latest report to the Federal Election Commission. It spent over $1.4 million on Facebook and Google fundraising ads since March, "more than many marquee 2022 campaigns," the elections newsletter FWIW reported Dec. 3.

Save America and Trump are active in 2022 races. They are supporting, for example, Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Murkowski voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Ad uses then and now

Save America’s 30-second video consists of a series of Biden sound bites.

In the first half of the ad, the word "THEN" appears in a corner of the screen as six clips are played. 

Five of the clips are comments Biden made in late October 2020, near the end of his presidential campaign against Trump; and one was made five in January 2021, five days after he took office, our research found. 

There’s repetition in what Biden says:

"I am going to shut down the virus." 

"I’m going to shut down the virus." 

"I’ll put a plan in place to deal with this pandemic responsibly."

"I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country."

"I’m going to shut down the virus."

Featured Fact-check

"I’m going to shut down the virus."

As the second half of the video begins, the word "NOW" appears in a corner of the screen. Only one clip is shown, twice. Biden says, as the words appear in capital letters on the screen: "Look, there is no federal solution." 

The video ends with this message on this screen: "Biden never had a covid plan." 

Biden is shown holding an umbrella and walking away from the camera.

The context of Biden’s recent remark

What the ad presents as its "gotcha" moment occurred during a Dec. 27 conference call between Biden and governors about COVID-19. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., expressed concerns to Biden about testing. Here was their exchange:

Hutchinson: "But we also, as governors, are getting pressure to do more, and the need is great to do more in terms of the rapid tests and the availability of it. And so, one word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions. And the production of 500 million rapid tests that will be distributed by the federal government is great but, obviously, that dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor ...."

Biden: "Thank you very much, Asa. Look, there is no federal solution; this gets solved at a state level. I’m looking at (New Hampshire) Governor (Chris) Sununu on the board here; he talks about that a lot. And then it ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that’s where the patient is in need of help or preventing the need for help."

Critics might argue that Biden’s pandemic plan has not been adequate — but he had one, as a candidate and as president.

Among the actions he’s taken:

  • On Inauguration Day, Biden signed several executive orders, including one that created a new position within the Executive Office of the President of COVID-19 response coordinator; and one requiring mask-wearing on planes, trains, buses and ships. The White House also released a 198-page national COVID-19 response plan.

  • By June, new COVID-19 cases dropped by 95%, largely due to a rollout of vaccines under Biden.

  • In September, after the delta variant caused a new surge in cases, Biden announced a six-part plan.

  • And in December, he announced a plan that included vaccine boosters and in-home testing. 

A Republican National Committee tweet sharing the "no federal solution" clip gained more than 909,000 views.

Save America PAC did not reply to our requests for information to back its claim. 

Our ruling

An ad from the Trump-aligned Save America PAC claimed that "Biden never had a plan" for COVID-19. The ad seized on a recent Biden remark about the pandemic that "there is no federal solution."

Biden’s comment was in the context that the fight is not merely a federal one, but is carried out at the state and local levels, as well. Moreover, as a candidate and as president, Biden has advanced a number of plans to counter the virus.

We rate the claim False.

PolitiFact staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Our Sources

YouTube, America the Great post of Save America ad, Dec. 29, 2021

Facebook, The First post, Dec. 30, 2021

MSNBC, "Biden promises to 'shut down the virus' if elected," ("I am going to shut down the virus") Oct. 29, 2020

YouTube, The White House, "President Biden Delivers Remarks on Strengthening American Manufacturing & Signs an Executive," ("I’m going to shut down the virus") Jan. 25, 2021

Rev.com, "Joe Biden Campaign Rally Speech Transcript Tampa, FL October 29," ("I’ll put a plan in place to deal with this pandemic responsibly" and "I’m going to shut down the virus") Oct. 29, 2020

YouTube, Bloomberg, "Biden at Presidential Debate: 'I'll Shut Down the Virus, Not the Country,'" ("I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country") Oct. 22, 2020

Rev.com, "Joe Biden Plan to Combat COVID-19 Speech Transcript October 23," ("I’m going to shut down the virus") Oct. 23, 2020

C-SPAN, "President Biden Talks With Governors About COVID-19 Response," Dec. 27, 2021

PolitiFact, "Biden releases a new plan to combat COVID-19, but experts say there’s still a ways to go," Sept. 14, 2021

Facebook, Students for Trump post, Jan. 2, 2022

New York Post, "GOP slams Biden for saying there’s ‘no federal solution’ to COVID," Dec. 28, 2021

Twitter, Republican National Committee tweet, Dec. 27, 2021

Email, Andrew Mayersohn, Open Secrets committees researcher, Jan. 4, 2022

The White House, "Remarks by President Biden at COVID-⁠19 Response Team’s Regular Call With the National Governors Association," Dec. 27, 2021

The White House, "COVID-⁠19," accessed Jan. 4, 2022

JoeBiden.com, "Joe Biden’s Plan To Beat Covid-19," accessed Jan. 4, 2022

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

Biden’s ‘no federal solution’ clip doesn’t save Trump PAC’s attack on Biden and COVID-19 plan

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up