Who is Kristen Welker, moderator for 2020’s final presidential debate?

NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will moderate the final debate Thursday night in Nashville between President Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Welker was tapped by the Commission on Presidential Debates in September to moderate the final contest of the 2020 political season scheduled to take place at 9 p.m. at Belmont University.

The second debate on Oct. 15 was canceled when the commission changed it to a virtual debate as Trump was recovering from a bout of the coronavirus. Trump then declined to take part in a virtual debate with Biden.

Instead the two candidates held competing town halls on the same night — Trump on NBC and Biden on ABC.

Here’s what you need to know about Welker.

Kristen Welker’s life and career

Welker, 44, grew up in Philadelphia and looked at Barbara Walters, Andrea Mitchell and Oprah Winfrey as role models, she told Philly Voice.

She graduated from Harvard in 1998 with a history degree and began her TV reporting career at stations in California and Rhode Island before returning to Philadelphia to work for the NBC station there.

Welker eventually moved to NBC’s national reporting crew and then became the network’s White House correspondent and the co-anchor of “Weekend Today.”

She married John Hughes, a marketing executive at Merck, in 2017. They do not have any children.

Welker’s father is white and her mother is black.

Is Kristen Welker a registered Democrat or Republican?

Welker was a registered Democrat in Washington, DC, in 2012 and in Rhode Island in 2004, but her party registration is not listed now.

But Welker’s Philadelphia family are prominent Democratic donors and have given the party thousands over the years.

Her mother, Julie Welker, a real estate broker, and her father, Harvey Welker, a consulting engineer, gave nearly $20,000 to former President Barack Obama and $3,300 to the “Biden for President” campaign.

Welker and her family attended the White House Christmas Party in 2012 while Obama was in office.

She also attended the White House Christmas Party in 2017.

The mixed reviews surrounding Welker’s being chosen as moderator

President Trump criticized her choice, saying that she’s too partisan to be fair.

“Kristen Welker is terrible,” he told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “She is totally partisan. Her father and mother are big supporters of Joe Biden. They’re supporters of the Democrat Party.”

But Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, earlier this month said Welker would do an “excellent job.”

“I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker,” Miller said. “I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she’s a journalist who’s very fair in her approach and I think that she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.”

Her Twitter account was deactivated in September after Steve Scully, C-Span’s political director and scheduled moderator of the canceled second debate, said his account was hacked after it was revealed he reached out to Anthony Scaramucci, a Trump ally turned foe.

Scully was suspended after he admitted the account had not been hacked.

How does Welker compare to other 2020 debate moderators?

Chris Wallace, 72, the anchor of “Fox News Sunday” and the son of legendary “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace, moderated the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden on Sept. 29 in Cleveland.

Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today and a longtime member of the DC press corps, moderated the vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at the University of Utah on Oct. 7.

Wallace often struggled to rein in Trump and Biden during their freewheeling debate in which both candidates routinely talked over him and one another.

Trump also routinely challenged the Fox News anchor to the point that an exasperated sounding Wallace told the president: “You’re debating him, not me,” and pointed at Biden.

Trump saw it from a different viewpoint.

“I guess I’m debating you, not him,” Trump told Wallace. “But that’s OK, no surprise.”

Page also had trouble keeping Pence and Harris within their allotted speaking times and often resorted to using a refrain of thank yous to prod them to stop talking without much success as they continued to talk over her.

“Your campaigns agreed to the rules for tonight,” she said at one point. “I’m here to enforce them, which involves moving from one topic to another, giving roughly equal time to both of you, which I’m trying very hard to do right here.”

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article