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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke May 22, 2019

Claims that Democrats didn’t attend a hearing about the border are wrong

Did Democrats ditch a hearing with border officials? So claims a May 12 Facebook post featuring a still from Fox News. The image shows a hearing room with red circles drawn around empty seats behind the dais. The Fox News alert at the bottom of the still says: "Border officials testify on Capitol Hill," and the words "Capitol Hill Tuesday" appears in the upper left corner.

"This is why I vote Republican," text above the image says. "I am across the board Republican. Not one Democrat showed up to listen to border officials about the dangerous situation at our border. Not one!!! NOT ONE!"

This post 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.)

Here’s what we know.

On Tuesday, April 9, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs had a hearing under the title: "Unprecedented migration at the U.S. southern border: Perspectives from the frontline."

The hearing lasted 2 hours and 35 minutes, according to a C-SPAN video, and featured several witnesses, including Rodolfo Karisch, a chief patrol agent with U.S. Border Patrol, and Greg Cherundolo, chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

After Cherundolo finished his introductory comments, about 40 minutes into the hearing, committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said: "Thank you Mr. Cherundolo. Again, I really appreciate the attendance by members so I’ll defer my questioning to the end. We do have a vote we’re going to have to deal with at 11-o'clock, my intention will be to keep the hearing going."

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Then he turned the floor over to Sen. Gary Peters, the committee’s ranking Democratic member from Michigan.

Including the chairman and ranking minority member, there are eight Republicans and six Democrats on the committee. Transcripts of the hearing show that three other Republican senators spoke — James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Rob Portman of Ohio — and five other Democratic senators spoke — Kamala Harris of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

On April 10, Griff Jenkins, a Fox News correspondent, tweeted what looks like the picture that appeared on Fox News and was used in the Facebook post.

"As @CBP and @CBPRGV officials make closing statements before the the (sic) Senate Homeland Security Cmte, not a single senator stayed to listen save the Chairman @SenRonJohnson #border #emptychairs," he said.

Closing comments from Cherundolo, Karisch and three other witnesses began at the 2 hour and 30 minute mark — five minutes before the meeting was adjourned. Video from C-SPAN does show that over the course of the hearing, the number of senators seated to listen to the hearing dwindled and, by the time of these closing comments, Johnson was the only seated senator visible within camera view.

But the Facebook post claims that no Democrats showed up to listen to border officials, which just isn’t true.

We rate this Facebook post False.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that Sen. Gary Peters is from Michigan. Previously, the story said he was from Minnesota. 

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"Not one Democrat showed up to listen to border officials about the dangerous situation at our border. Not one!!! NOT ONE!"
Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Claims that Democrats didn’t attend a hearing about the border are wrong

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