Kristen Welker will host the final showdown of the presidential debate on Thursday, although it looks like President Donald Trump could practice with her almost as much as he will with his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
The NBC News White House correspondent and “Weekend Today” co-anchor will moderate the debate at Belmont University in Nashville (9 EDT/6 PDT). the the second presidential debate was deleted after Trump refused to participate virtually, following his COVID-19 diagnosis. Instead, he and Biden held dueling town halls, and the former vice president beat Trump in the Nielsen ratings.
Welker, a target of Trump’s rage on Twitter last week, will be the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate in nearly 30 years. (Journalist Carole Simpson moderated the confrontation between George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot in 1992.)
Here are five things to know about Welker:
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His career as a journalist: Welker, 44, studied American history at Harvard and interned at “Today” in 1997. Before beginning his full-time tenure at NBC News in 2010, Welker worked for local television stations in Providence , Rhode Island; Redding, California; and later Philadelphia, his hometown. In 2011, she became a White House reporter and reported on the 2016 presidential election. She was named Co-presenter of “Weekend Today” alongside Peter Alexander last January.
2019 Debate Performance: Welker, along with MSNBC hosts Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow and Ashley Parker, the White House reporter for the Washington Post, hosted a showdown between Democratic presidential hopefuls last November. Welker asked about health care, race and the high cost of housing.
The quartet were praised for the performance. “Even when the debate lasted longer than the two hours allotted, it was not only interesting, but entertaining,” Tom Jones wrote on Poynter.org, a journalism site. “The moderators are credited with that. As a result, we had the most thought-provoking and substantive Democratic debate so far in this election cycle.”
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What prompted her to become a journalist: Welker was one of eight black journalists Charm Wanted for an article, published in June, to find out what life is like for journalists amid a struggle for racial equality and a global pandemic.
Welker’s mother is black and his father is white, so “growing up as a biracial child, the idea of helping people of different races and backgrounds communicate better inspired me to become a journalist,” he said. she told the magazine. “With protesters demanding change following the death of George Floyd, it is more important than ever that everyone has a voice and that elected leaders from the White House to City Hall are held accountable for their words and actions. or lack thereof.”
His mother is his number one fan: Welker is among the participants who shared “The best advice my mother gave mefor an article about Mother’s Day posted on Maria Shriver’s website. She describes her mother, Juliet Welker, as “my biggest supporter, my best friend, and my biggest inspiration.” Penn State University Student Union , instilled in him the importance of believing in himself.
“From the moment I told my mom I wanted to be a journalist, she stood by me every step of the way,” Welker wrote. “My mom texts me after every live report to encourage me. I wouldn’t be the person or reporter I am today without my mom.”
Trump’s criticism: In January, the President congratulated Welker for landing the “Weekend Today” hosting gig at a press conference. “They made a very wise decision,” he said. But last weekend, he abruptly reversed course, posting a disparaging tweet. (He had also criticized Fox News‘ Chris Wallace, who hosted the first debate, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, who hosted the town hall last week.)
“Ouch! Here we go again!” Donald Trump Jr. commented on a History of the New York Post highlighting his alleged “deep Democratic ties” by citing his family’s donations to some of the party’s political candidates. The president added, “She was always terrible and unfair, as were most Fake News reporters, but I will always play along,” the president posted. “People know!”
Town halls in duel:Biden beats Trump in final Nielsen TV ratings