FACT CHECK: During The Debate, Did Trump Say It Was ‘Good’ Migrant Children Had Been Separated From Their Parents At The Border?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims President Donald Trump said during the final presidential debate that it was “good” migrant children had been separated from their parents at the border.

Verdict: False

Trump said “go ahead” to NBC News’ Kristen Welker as she was trying to transition to the next debate segment.

Fact Check:

The second and final presidential debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took place Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, with Welker as the moderator. During a segment about immigration, Welker asked Trump about reuniting families after a court filing from the ACLU claimed the parents of 545 migrant children separated at the border have not been found.

When pressed by Welker, Trump said, “Yes, we’re working on it, we’re trying very hard. But a lot of these kids come out without their parents, they come over through cartels and the coyotes and through gangs.” Biden then responded that the children “came with their parents” and that the Trump administration “separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with.”

The exchange in which the Facebook post claims Trump said it was “good” the children had been separated came at the end of the immigration segment. Check Your Fact reviewed two debate transcripts and footage of the exchange and found that Trump did not make that comment.

In C-SPAN footage of the exchange, Welker attempts to transition to the next debate segment, saying, “Let’s move on to the next section.” Biden then makes the comment attributed to him in the Facebook post, the video and transcripts show.

Trump does not, however, say, “Good.” Instead, he appears to nod at Welker, telling her “Go ahead” in reference to moving to the next segment, according to the video. (RELATED: 4 Claims From The Final 2020 Presidential Debate)

Some social media users that originally made the incorrect claim later corrected themselves, such as podcast host Ethan Klein. He tweeted, “I made a post during the debate quoting Trump as saying ‘good’ in response to children being separated from their parents, but after listening to it again he clearly said ‘go ahead’ to the moderator. I erased the tweet, apologies for the error.”

Others, like BuzzFeed News Curation Deputy Director Brandon Wall, appeared to hear the president correctly on Thursday.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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