NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker has been tasked with moderating the last debate between Biden and Trump. Here’s what you should know about the ‘Weekend Today’ anchor.
Longtime NBC News journalist Kristen Welker is about to moderate the final debate of the presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. Welker, 44, is in for a challenging evening. After their disastrous first debate, the candidates microphones are due to be shut off in between questions — and President Trump has already made it clear that he is not Welker’s biggest fan. Before the October 22 debate, learn more about Welker’s life and career:
1. Her career at NBC News began as a college student. While still an undergrad at Harvard in 1997, Welker interned at Today. Twenty-three years later, in January 2020, she would become the co-anchor of Weekend Today with Peter Alexander. Welker has served as a White House correspondent for NBC News since 2011, as well, covering the 2016 election extensively. Prior to her full-time tenure at NBC, Welker Welker worked for local TV stations in Rhode Island, California, and Pennsylvania.
2. She’s the second Black woman to ever moderate a presidential debate. Besides Welker, there has only been one other Black female journalist to helm a presidential debate. That honor went to ABC anchor Carole Simpson moderated the match between George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot in 1992. Simpson was also the first Black woman to helm a major United States network news program.
Kristen Welker (Ron Sachs / CNP / MEGA)3. Growing up biracial inspired her to become a journalist. Welker was one of eight Black journalists interviewed by Glamour in June 2020. She told the magazine that growing up with a Black mother and a white father inspired her to enter the news industry. “Growing up as a biracial child, the idea of helping people of different races and backgrounds better communicate inspired me to become a journalist,” she told the magazine. “With protesters demanding change after George Floyd’s death, it is more important than ever that everyone has a voice and elected leaders from the White House to City Hall are held accountable for their words and actions, or lack thereof.”
4. She already crushed it as a moderator during one debate this election cycle. Welker was part of the four-woman panel who moderated the November 2019 face-off between the Democratic hopefuls vying to get on the party’s ticket. She was joined by MSNBC hosts Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, and Ashley Parker, and asked candidates about health care, race, and the high price of housing.
Kristen Welker (Ron Sachs / CNP / MEGA)5. Trump lashed out at her on Twitter days before the debate. “She’s always been terrible and unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game,” the president tweeted on October 18. Trump reiterated this at a MAGA rally that same night. “I’ve known her for a long time, she’s extraordinarily unfair but that’s all right,” he told a crowd of supporters. Prior to this, Trump had praised Welker, even congratulating her when she got her Weekend Today gig. Trump changed his tune after seeing a report from The New York Post stating that Welker was once a registered Democrat and had allegedly donated “thousands” to the party.