Fact check: Trump did not say it was “good” that over 500 children at the border had lost their parents

Thousands of social media users have been sharing posts claiming that President Trump said it was “good” that over 500 migrant children had lost their parents and were at the U.S. border not knowing where to go. However, broadcasts of the debate show that Trump did not respond to Biden’s comment with the word “good”. He actually said, “go ahead” to the debate moderator, Kristen Welker, who had indicated her intent to move on to the next debate topic.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the final 2020 U.S. presidential campaign debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS

The posts ( here , here , here , here , here ) claim to quote a passage from the debate. They read, “Biden: 525 kids don’t know where they are going to be, we can’t find their parents. Trump: “Good.” Wow.”; or “Biden: 525 kids not knowing where in God’s name they’re going to be and lost their parents. Trump: Good.”. Another post says, “If you heard Trump say “GOOD” about the kids being separated from their parents, and you still plan to vote for him, you’re inhuman [sic]” (here).

The final presidential debate took place Oct. 23, 2020, ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election (here).

On the topic of immigration, Welker questioned Trump about how he would reunite families after a court filing on Oct. 21 showed that the parents of 545 children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border had still not been found (here). 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 through coyotes and through gangs.” Biden responded, “These 500-plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with.” (here) .

The moment in the debate quoted in the social media posts comes right at the end of the immigration section of the debate and can be seen here and here . Biden says, “You have 525 kids not knowing where in God’s name they’re going to be and lost their parents.” These broadcasts show a close-up of Trump’s face when he responds to Biden’s comment. Trump raises and turns his head to address his response to Welker, saying “go ahead”, not “good”. One minute before this remark, Welker had indicated she intended to “move on” after seeking Trump’s final response on the issue.

Reuters confirmed that Trump said “go ahead” by analysing the video in slow motion, adjusting the playback speed to 0.25 in YouTube settings.


False. Videos of the presidential debate show that Trump said “go ahead” to the moderator, rather than “good” in response to Biden’s comments on migrant children.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .