FactCheck: The 4th Republican major debate


Within the final Republican presidential major debate of 2023, the
candidates argued over their positions on gender-affirmation surgical procedure,
authorized immigration and extra:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cherry-picked feedback from Nikki Haley, a
    former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to assert she didn’t
    oppose “gender mutilation for minors.” Haley has mentioned kids ought to
    not be allowed to endure a “gender-changing process” till they’re
    at the very least 18 years previous.
  • Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy mentioned it was “false” for Haley to assert
    that she “by no means mentioned authorities ought to … require” social media customers to
    disclose their names. Haley did initially recommend that every one social media
    customers ought to be required to make use of their names on-line, earlier than later
    clarifying that solely Individuals ought to be allowed to put up anonymously.
  • Haley wrongly accused DeSantis of supporting a Florida invoice that
    would have required political bloggers to register with the state. He
    really mentioned on the time that he didn’t help the invoice, and it later
    died in committee.
  • DeSantis claimed Haley mentioned “there ought to be no limits on authorized
    immigration.” She didn’t. She mentioned it ought to be based mostly on “benefit,” not “a
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie disputed that he backed
    pointers supporting transgender college students in opposition to the desires of
    dad and mom. Christie signed a legislation offering wide-ranging protections for
    transgender college students, however particular pointers concerning parental consent
    have been issued after he left workplace.
  • Ramaswamy wrongly mentioned that Haley was “bankrupt while you left the U.N.”
  • DeSantis falsely claimed that “there was no information to help” the
    Meals and Drug Administration’s authorization of the mRNA COVID-19
    vaccines for 6-month-old infants. Each Pfizer and Moderna examined
    lower-dose variations of their vaccines for younger kids in scientific
  • Ramaswamy embraced the baseless conspiracy idea that the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was an “inside job.”
  • Ramaswamy repeated claims he has made earlier than about local weather change and transgender folks.

The Dec. 6 debate was hosted by NewsNation and held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


DeSantis distorts Haley’s place on gender-affirmation surgical procedure for minors

DeSantis claimed that Haley opposed a invoice he signed prohibiting
gender-affirming surgical procedures — or as he put it, “gender mutilation” — for
minors. That’s a distortion of Haley’s place. Haley has mentioned any
“everlasting change” for transgender folks ought to solely be allowed after a
little one has turned 18.

DeSantis raised the problem twice within the debate, each occasions resulting in
fiery exchanges during which Haley mentioned DeSantis was distorting her place
and DeSantis insisted he had video proof to again up his declare.

DeSantis: I did a invoice in Florida to cease the gender
mutilation of minors. It’s little one abuse and it’s mistaken. She opposes that
invoice. She thinks it’s high-quality and the legislation shouldn’t get entangled with it.
In case you’re not keen to face up for the children, for those who’re not keen to
get up and say that it’s mistaken to mutilate these children, then you definately’re
not going to combat for the folks again dwelling. I’ll combat for you and I
will win for you. …

She didn’t reply to the criticism. It wasn’t in regards to the dad and mom
rights schooling invoice. It was about prohibiting intercourse change operations on
minors. They do puberty blockers, these are irreversible. … That’s
what Nikki Haley opposed. She mentioned the legislation shouldn’t get entangled in
that. And I simply requested you for those who’re any person that’s going to be the
president of america and you may’t get up in opposition to little one
abuse, how are you going to have the ability to get up for something?

Haley: I by no means mentioned that.

DeSantis: That’s the reality.

Haley: I by no means mentioned that.

DeSantis: We have now it on video.

Haley: I mentioned that if it’s important to be 18 to get a tattoo, you must must be 18 to have something completed to alter your gender.

Later within the debate, DeSantis once more raised the problem.

DeSantis: As a dad or mum you shouldn’t have the proper to
abuse your children. … That is mutilating these minors, these are
irreversible procedures. … I signed laws in Florida banning the
mutilation of minors as a result of it’s mistaken. We can’t enable this to occur
on this nation. … Nikki disagrees with me. She opposes the invoice that
we did to ban that, she mentioned the legislation shouldn’t get entangled with it.

Haley: I didn’t.

In Could, DeSantis signed into legislation a invoice that
prohibited “sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures for sufferers
youthful than 18 years of age.” The ban contains each surgical procedures as properly
as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

The video proof DeSantis cites to again up his declare about Haley is an interview she
did with CBS Information on June 5, however he’s cherry-picking her response. In
the interview, CBS Information’ Tony Dokoupil requested Haley “what care ought to be
on the desk when a 12-year-old little one on this nation assigned feminine at
beginning says, ‘really I really feel extra snug dwelling as a boy.’ What
ought to the legislation enable the response to be?”

“I feel the legislation ought to keep out of it and I feel dad and mom ought to
deal with it. This can be a job for the dad and mom to deal with,” Haley mentioned. “And
then when that little one turns into 18, in the event that they need to make extra of a
everlasting change, they will do this. However I feel up till then, we see
with our teenage children, they undergo rather a lot throughout puberty. They go
by numerous confusion, they undergo numerous nervousness, they go
by numerous pressures. We must always help them the entire method
by, however we don’t must go and implement one thing in faculties. We
don’t want faculties sitting there hiding from the dad and mom what gender
pronoun they’re utilizing. We don’t must have these conversations in
faculties. These are conversations that ought to be had at dwelling.”

An excellent PAC backing DeSantis additionally cited to us feedback Haley made in a June 4 CNN city corridor when
talking on the transgender challenge. “I need everyone to stay the best way
they need to stay,” Haley mentioned. “Let’s get them the assistance, the remedy,
no matter they want in order that they will really feel higher and never be suicidal.”

In neither case did Haley advocate gender-affirming procedures for minors.

In reality, in a Could 3 interview with
ABC Information, Haley particularly mentioned, “You shouldn’t enable a baby to have
a gender-changing process till the age of 18 when they’re an

Haley on IDing social media customers

Moderator Megyn Kelly requested Haley to “converse to the requirement that
you mentioned that each nameless web person must out themselves.”

Haley mentioned her unique feedback, made in a Nov. 14 “Voters’ Voices” section
on Fox Information, have been that “social media firms want to indicate us their
algorithms.” She added, “I additionally mentioned there are hundreds of thousands of bots on
social media proper now. They’re international, they’re Chinese language, they’re
Iranian. I’ll at all times combat for freedom of speech for Individuals. We do
not want freedom of speech for Russians and Iranians and Hamas.”

When Ramaswamy accused Haley of misrepresenting her unique remarks,
Haley went on to say that she believes social media firms must
“combat again on all of those bots which are taking place” and that social
media “can be extra civil” if folks needed to embrace their names
alongside their on-line feedback.

“However having mentioned that, I by no means mentioned authorities ought to go and require anybody’s identify,” she mentioned.

Ramaswamy referred to as her response “false,” and DeSantis additionally jumped in to
say that Haley had mentioned one among her first acts as president can be to
ask for folks’s names on social media.

In that Fox Information interview,
when responding to an viewers query, Haley did recommend that every one
social media customers ought to be required to establish themselves. (Her
response begins at about 5:07 within the video.)

Haley, Nov. 14: After I get into workplace, the primary
factor now we have to do, social media accounts — social media firms,
they’ve to indicate America their algorithms. Allow us to see why they’re
pushing what they’re pushing.

The second factor is, each particular person on social media ought to be verified
by their identify. That’s, initially, it’s a nationwide safety menace.
While you do this, impulsively folks have to face by what they are saying
and it removes the Russian bots, the Iranian bots and the Chinese language
bots. And then you definately’re going to get some civility, when folks know their
identify is subsequent to what they are saying, they usually know their pastor and their
members of the family are going to see it. It’s going to assist our children and it’s
going to assist our nation.

After there was a backlash to her feedback, together with from a few of her GOP major opponents, Haley, in a Nov. 15 CNBC interview, added a caveat about permitting nameless on-line posting by Individuals solely.

“I need freedom of speech for Individuals,” she mentioned. “I don’t need
freedom of speech for Russia and Hamas. And that’s what is occurring
proper now. And so the best way you repair that’s, we want our social media
firms to confirm everyone in order that we will get all of these bots out.”

When CNBC’s Joe Kernen requested if Haley was “actually saying that folks
can’t tweet anonymously,” she mentioned she had no challenge with Individuals doing

“I imply, do I feel life can be extra civil if we have been in a position to do
that? Sure. … You must stand by what you say,” she mentioned. “However … I don’t
thoughts nameless American folks having free speech. What I don’t like is
nameless Russians and Chinese language and Iranians having free speech.”

That’s completely different from what she first mentioned on Fox Information.

Haley mistaken on DeSantis help for blogger registration

Haley claimed that DeSantis had mentioned “bloggers ought to must
register with the state in the event that they’re going to speak about or write about
elected officers.”

“Test your newspaper, it was completely there,” she mentioned, suggesting
that there was proof of DeSantis’ help for the measure.

However there isn’t.

Right here’s what occurred:

Jason Brodeur, a Republican within the Florida Senate, launched a invoice in
late February that might have required “bloggers” to register with the
authorities in the event that they have been being paid to put in writing about elected officers.

“If a blogger posts to a weblog about an elected state officer and
receives, or will obtain, compensation for that put up, the blogger should
register with the suitable workplace,” the invoice mentioned.

The invoice didn’t get a lot traction and died in committee in Could.

However there was a short flap over the invoice in March, and some information shops ran articles with footage of DeSantis and references to him of their headlines. The New Republic, for instance, printed a story with the headline: “Florida GOP Invoice Would Require Bloggers Who Write About Ron DeSantis to Register With the State.”

We couldn’t discover any information tales reporting that DeSantis had
supported the invoice, however articles with a photograph of the governor that
point out him within the headline may give the impression that he was

Truly, although, a spokesman for DeSantis advised the Tampa Bay Occasions on March 3 that the governor would “contemplate the deserves of a invoice in last kind if and when it passes the Legislature.”

Then, at a press convention on March 7, DeSantis distanced himself additional, saying,
“Each particular person within the legislature can file payments, proper? I see these
folks submitting payments, after which there’s articles with my face on the
article saying that … bloggers are going to must register for the
state and it’s, like, attributing it to me. And I’m like, OK, that’s not
something that I’ve ever supported, I don’t help.”

“I don’t management each single invoice that’s been filed,” DeSantis mentioned.

Truth-checkers on the Related Press and Reuters addressed this challenge on the time.

So, Haley was mistaken about DeSantis’ help for the measure, and there have been information articles in regards to the challenge since March.

DeSantis distorts Haley touch upon immigration

In yet one more disagreement on Haley’s coverage positions, DeSantis
claimed she had mentioned “there ought to be no limits on authorized immigration and
that company CEOs ought to set the coverage.” Haley interjected, “That’s
not true.”

DeSantis, who has made this claim earlier than,
is distorting Haley’s remark. She didn’t say there ought to be “no
limits”; she mentioned authorized immigration ought to be based mostly on “benefit” quite
than a quota.

At a Nov. 2 city corridor in New Hampshire, Haley said:
“So for too lengthy, Republican and Democrat presidents handled
immigration based mostly on a quota. We’ll take X quantity this 12 months. We’ll take X
quantity subsequent 12 months. The controversy is on the quantity. It’s the mistaken approach to
have a look at it. We have to do it based mostly on benefit. We have to go to our
industries and say: ‘What do you want that you simply don’t have?’ So assume
agriculture, assume tourism, assume tech. We wish the expertise that’s going
to make us higher. Then you definitely carry folks in that may fill these wants.”

The U.S. has an “alphabet soup of visa classes” for authorized immigration, the Migration Coverage Institute explains.
“Household relationships, ties to employers, or the necessity for humanitarian
safety are the highest channels for immigrants in search of momentary or
everlasting U.S. residence. And to a lesser extent, folks can come if
they possess sought-after abilities or are chosen within the green-card
lottery. Visa classes have various necessities, are topic to
completely different numerical caps, and provide differing rights and
obligations,” MPI says.

Christie spins his help of transgender college students

Moderator Kelly requested Christie about his help for transgender
college students in opposition to the desires of oldsters whereas he was governor of New
Jersey. Christie did signal a invoice in 2017 offering protections for
transgender college students. However the particular pointers weren’t issued till after he left workplace.

“While you have been governor in 2017, you signed a legislation that required new
pointers for faculties coping with transgender college students. These
pointers required faculties to just accept a baby’s most well-liked gender
id, even when the minor’s dad and mom objected,” Kelly mentioned. “And it
mentioned there is no such thing as a obligation for faculties to inform dad and mom if their son or
daughter modifications their gender id, permitting the intense challenge to
stay a secret between the college and the kid. How is any of that
pro-parental rights?”

Christie responded, “That’s merely not true. That legislation was put into
impact in 2018 and controlled in 2018, after I used to be out of workplace. … We
didn’t challenge these pointers and also you’re mistaken about that, merely
mistaken.” He added, “I stood up each single time for fogeys to find a way
to make the choices for his or her minor kids.”

Christie, who served as New Jersey governor from 2010 to 2018, signed a legislation in
July 2017 that required the state’s schooling commissioner to develop
pointers to supply protections for transgender college students. However the
pointers themselves have been issued in late September 2018, after Christie had left workplace.

The legislation, NJ S3067,
mentioned the rules would “present route for faculties in addressing
widespread points in regards to the wants of transgender college students, and to
help faculties in establishing insurance policies and procedures that guarantee a
supportive and nondiscriminatory surroundings for transgender college students.”

The legislation mentioned the rules ought to handle “confidentiality and
privateness considerations, together with guaranteeing that college personnel don’t
disclose data that will reveal a pupil’s transgender standing
besides as allowed by legislation, and advising faculties to work with the scholar
to create an applicable confidentiality plan concerning the scholar’s
transgender or transitioning standing.”

On the time, Christian Fuscarino, govt director of Backyard State Equality, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, mentioned the group was “pleasantly stunned”
by Christie’s signing of the transgender pupil invoice. Christie had
beforehand mentioned insurance policies regarding transgender college students ought to be
determined by faculty districts, and he didn’t help statewide “edicts” on
the matter, Politico reported.

The rules issued in September 2018 mentioned, “A college district
shall settle for a pupil’s asserted gender id; parental consent is
not required.”

Ramaswamy’s ‘affordable peace deal’ for Ukraine

Christie derided Ramaswamy’s plan for ending Russia’s battle in Ukraine,
saying it might concede to Russia “all of the land they’ve already stolen”
and maintain Ukraine from becoming a member of NATO (though Christie misspoke, saying
the plan would maintain Ukraine out of Russia). In change, Christie mentioned,
Ramaswamy would belief Russian President Vladimir Putin “to not have a
relationship with China.”

Ramaswamy shot again, “That’s not my deal.”

However it appears to be a principally correct synopsis of what Ramaswamy had
proposed in June and refers to because the “affordable peace deal.”

Ramaswamy appeared on the June 1 episode of Kim Iversen’s podcast, which has a historical past of selling conspiracy theories. There, he gave a preview of his proposed peace deal, which he then rolled out throughout a speech in New Hampshire.

“Right here’s the deal that we will do with Putin,” Ramaswamy mentioned in his speech.
“We’ll cease offering help to Ukraine; we are going to freeze the present
strains of management, which means he will get the Donbas area, it means he will get
the Crimea; and we are going to make a everlasting dedication to inform Ukraine
that you’ll not be admitted to NATO — not now, not ever. These are massive
concessions to Russia. However now we have a giant ask in return — that you’ll
exit your treaty with China.”

The treaty to which he’s referring is the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Pleasant Cooperation Between the Folks’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, which was first signed in 2001 and prolonged in 2021.

Based on a paper from
the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, the settlement adopted a
border dispute and “set forth a bilateral relationship based mostly on ‘mutual
respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ noninterference in
inside affairs, equality, and mutual profit.” 

So, it’s true that Ramaswamy had proposed a plan to finish the battle in
Ukraine by permitting Russia to maintain all of the land it has taken and
stopping Ukraine from becoming a member of NATO. Christie was much less clear — however
broadly correct — when he described what Russia must hand over
in change, though Christie clearly wouldn’t belief Putin to finish
Russia’s relationship with China.

Haley wasn’t ‘bankrupt’ when leaving the U.N.

Whereas making an allegation that Haley is “corrupt,” Ramaswamy wrongly mentioned that Haley was “bankrupt while you left the U.N.”

Ramaswamy: Nikki, you have been bankrupt while you left
the U.N. After you left the U.N. you turned a army contractor. You
really began becoming a member of service on the board of Boeing whose again you
scratched for a really very long time after which gave international multinational
speeches like Hillary Clinton is and now you’re a multimillionaire. That
math doesn’t add up. It provides as much as the truth that you’re corrupt.

Like numerous politicians, Haley went on the lecture circuit after leaving workplace, and joined the board of a serious company, in her case the Boeing Firm. However she mentioned she and her husband didn’t go bankrupt.

“To begin with, we weren’t bankrupt once I left the U.N.,” Haley
mentioned. “We’re folks of service. My husband is within the army, and I
served our nation as U.N. ambassador and governor. It might be bankrupt
to him, nevertheless it actually wasn’t bankrupt to us.”

When Haley left the U.N. after simply two years, there was some hypothesis that she did so for monetary causes. Cash Journal wrote that her 2018 monetary disclosure kind, which she filed in Could 2018 and coated the previous calendar 12 months,
confirmed she and her husband had a mortgage, bank card debt and a line
of credit score that put her whole indebtedness within the vary of $525,000 to
$1.1 million.

On the time, Haley’s spokesperson launched an announcement that mentioned:
“Their present debt degree is properly under $500,000, and it had no bearing
in anyway on Ambassador Haley’s choice to go away her place.”

So, Haley left workplace with some degree of debt, however we may discover no proof that she and her husband filed for chapter.

DeSantis on COVID-19 vaccines for younger children

DeSantis, who has argued in opposition to COVID-19
vaccination in Florida, notably for youthful folks, falsely
claimed that there was no foundation for the FDA to authorize the pictures for

“You even have the FDA approving an mNRA shot for 6-months-old
infants,” he mentioned, incorrectly referring to the mRNA, or messenger RNA,
design of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. “There was no information
to help that. They’re doing it as a result of Massive Pharma will earn a living.”

The FDA first licensed COVID-19
vaccines on an emergency foundation for kids down to six months on June
17, 2022, based mostly on the outcomes of scientific trials carried out in younger
kids. As is normal for
vaccines, the testing in younger kids adopted testing in adults and
older kids. This step-down method helps guarantee any questions of safety
are caught first in adults.

For security, the scientific trials for the Moderna vaccine included about
4,800 vaccinated children, whereas the Pfizer trial included about 3,000
vaccinated children. Each firms examined their vaccines in two age
subgroups, one among which was a gaggle for ages 6 months to 2 years.

The first method the vaccines have been evaluated for effectiveness was
by a so-called immunobridging method, during which younger kids
have been examined for his or her antibody responses to the vaccines. If their
antibody ranges have been much like these of younger adults who had obtained
the grownup dose, and an identical proportion of kids mounted an antibody
response, then it’s inferred that the vaccine works in youthful
kids. Each vaccines met the standards for effectiveness utilizing this

The businesses additionally reported conventional efficacy numbers for
stopping symptomatic illness from their randomized managed trials.

Reviewing all the data, the FDA concluded that the advantages of
the vaccines for younger kids outweighed the dangers. Unbiased
panels of consultants advising the FDA and the Facilities for Illness Management
and Prevention agreed. Subsequent security monitoring has continued to
exhibit that the vaccines are secure.

Ramaswamy mistaken on Jan. 6

In an assault on federal staff, which he collectively referred to as the
“deep state,” Ramaswamy embraced the conspiracy idea that the Jan. 6,
2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was an “inside job.”

“[I]f you need any person who’s going to talk reality to energy, then
vote for any person who’s going to talk the reality to you,” he mentioned. “Why
am I the one particular person on the stage, at the very least, who can say that Jan. 6 now
does seem like it was an inside job?”

Some conservatives have tried guilty
undercover FBI brokers for allegedly scary the pro-Donald Trump
crowd to assault the Capitol that day. However there is no such thing as a proof of such a
authorities conspiracy, and, as we’ve written, FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, unequivocally denied the declare.

“To the extent that there’s a suggestion, for instance, that the FBI’s
confidential human sources or FBI workers ultimately instigated or
orchestrated Jan. 6 — that’s categorically false,” Wray mentioned at a congressional listening to in November 2022.

The easy truth is {that a} throng of Trump supporters descended on the
U.S. Capitol satisfied by Trump that the election had been stolen.
Trump made false claims about rampant voter fraud months earlier than the Nov.
3, 2020, election, and lengthy after it — together with in his falsehood-filled speech at a rally on the day of the riot. (For a timeline, see our article “Street to a Second Impeachment.”)

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell blamed
Trump for scary what he referred to as an act of “terrorism” to stop
Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, from certifying Joe Biden as winner of the
2020 election.

“They did this as a result of they’d been fed wild falsehoods by probably the most
highly effective man on Earth as a result of he was offended he misplaced an election,”
McConnell mentioned
in a flooring speech on Feb. 13, 2021. “Former President Trump’s actions
[that] preceded the riot have been a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of


  • As he did within the second debate — and utilizing a time period that some advocacy teams say ought to
    be averted — Ramaswamy incorrectly mentioned that “transgenderism is a
    psychological well being dysfunction.” Being transgender shouldn’t be a psychological sickness, however
    some trans folks expertise gender dysphoria, which is a prognosis in
    the Diagnostic and Statistical Guide of Psychological Problems. It refers to
    intense misery over the mismatch between an individual’s intercourse and their
    gender id. Based on the American Psychiatric Affiliation, the
    prognosis requires “clinically vital misery or impairment in social, occupational, or different essential areas of functioning.”
  • In as soon as once more calling “the local weather change agenda … a hoax,” Ramaswamy additionally repeated two of his favourite cherry-picked local weather stats —
    that there’s been a “98% discount within the local weather disaster-related
    deaths within the final century,” and that eight occasions as many individuals
    at the moment die of chilly temperatures than heat ones. Each statements are
    true, at the very least in accordance with some information, however they don’t imply that
    persevering with to heat the planet by burning fossil fuels and emitting
    greenhouse gases is a good suggestion. Local weather change is predicted to have
    quite a few adverse impacts, together with on human well being.