HOUSTON -- Entrepreneur and presidential hopeful Andrew Yang announced that his campaign would give 10 families $1,000 a month as a pilot for his universal basic income proposal at Thursday's presidential debate.

"This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people," Yang said on the debate stage in Houston, during his opening statement. #YangsDebateSurprise quickly started trending on Twitter.

Yang teased the announcement on Twitter before the debate and directed viewers to his website to apply for the funds.

Under Yang's proposal, which he calls the Freedom Dividend, every American over 18 would receive a payment from the government for $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year.

After Yang's announcement, which came during minute-long opening statements, candidate Pete Buttigieg paused, smiled and said: "That's original, I'll give you that."