Who is Kristen Welker? – Meet The Third Presidential Debate Moderator

With less than two weeks before Election Day, all eyes are on Kristen Welker. The NBC News correspondent will be the final moderator of the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, hosting their game at Belmont University in Nashville on Thursday, October 22. Welker, 44, is just the second black woman to moderate a presidential debate. solo, following ABC News reporter Carole Simpson in 1992.

Welker is an NBC News correspondent in the White House and Weekend TODAY host, with selected debate topics including the coronavirus, race, climate change, national security, American families and leadership. Welker is also the first debate moderator after Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, with the second debate being called off following Trump’s refusal to go virtual. Before entering the debate stage, Welker was a prominent figure in the 2016 election campaign and earned the nickname “Welk-nado” from Weekend TODAY co-host Peter Alexander. “She sweeps the room, doesn’t stop, doesn’t stop. She’s relentless,” he told ELLE.com in 2016.

Coming up, how Welker’s atmospheric presence will serve her in tonight’s debate, and why Trump is already criticizing her credentials.

She is a longtime NBC News correspondent and presenter in the White House.

Welker is a native of Philadelphia who studied American History at Harvard College, graduating in 1998. Just before graduation, she interned at TODAY, then held reporting positions at NBC subsidiaries in Providence, Rhode Island and Redding, California. For five years, she worked at WCAU, the NBC affiliate in her hometown of Philadelphia.

Since 2010, she has been a member of the NBC News crew and became a White House correspondent in 2011. Welker was a rising star on the 2016 NBC News campaign coverage and was promoted to Weekend TODAY co-host alongside Peter Alexander in January 2020. In April, she delivered this viral moment outside the White House, reporting that lighting equipment was falling around her.

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This is not the first time that she has hosted a presidential debate.

As Welker makes history as a solo moderator, she co-moderated a Democratic Primary presidential debate last November alongside MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Washington Post’s Ashley Parker. The ten attendees included former Vice President Joe Biden; California Senator Kamala Harris; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; billionaire Tom Steyer; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard.

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Growing up biracial inspired her to become a journalist.

Welker also discussed how growing up with a black mother and a white father influenced her decision to become a journalist. “Growing up as a biracial child, the idea of ​​helping people of different races and backgrounds communicate better inspired me to become a journalist,” she said. Charm in June. Welker said she felt the same sense of civic obligation amid the protests after George Floyd’s death. “With protesters demanding change after George Floyd’s death, it is more important than ever that everyone has a voice and that the leaders elected from the White House to mayor are held accountable for their words and actions, or of their absence, “she said.

Welker also paid tribute to her mother, Juliette, in the “Best Advice My Mom Gave Me” section on Maria Shriver’s website. She called Juliette “my biggest supporter, my best friend and my biggest inspiration”. According to Welker, her mother was a “trailblazer” who became the first African-American president of the Penn State Women’s Student Association. “From the moment I told my mom I wanted to be a journalist, she stood by my side every step of the way,” Welker wrote, adding, “My mom text me after every live report to encourage me. I wouldn’t be the person or the journalist I am today without my mother. “

Trump is already attacking him on Twitter.

Trump criticized Welker, as he was with former NBC moderators Wallace and Savannah Guthrie, who greeted his town hall. Donald Trump Jr. wrote: “Yikes! Here we go again” in response to a New York Post story detailing the history of Welker’s parents to support Democratic candidates. President retweeted Her son’s comment and added: “She’s always been terrible and unfair, like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll keep playing the game. People know that!”

According to Vanity FairTrump also called Welker a “radical Democrat” who “has long been shouting questions at me” at a rally in Arizona. In Wisconsin he reportedly said, “She’s extraordinarily unfair, but it’s okay. As reported by the outlet, Trump actually congratulated Welker on her promotion to co-alumnus of Weekend TODAY earlier this year.

There has been speculation on his social media.

In the run-up to Welker’s moderator stint, there was a talk about his social media presence. Currently her Instagram is private and for a brief period her Twitter appears to be disabled.

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Welker’s Twitter is once again active and public. According to Chicago Tribune, NBC said the deactivation “was temporary and done for security, not to hide anything it may have tweeted in the past,” the Tribune reports. The outlet notes that Trump supporters seized documents which would show Welker’s parents have donated to Democratic campaigns in the past. Speak Tribune, Welker is a registered independent.

She met her husband on a blind date.

Welker is married to John Hughes, a marketing director from Philadelphia. They were set up three years ago on a blind date and he moved on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Welker said The New York Times she knew Hughes was the one who offered her a handwritten crossword puzzle on presidential anecdotes. “That’s the moment he got me,” she recalls. “As a White House correspondent, it was so touching, and it marked him differently from anyone I’ve dated. They got married in their common hometown of Philadelphia in March 2017. “He allowed me to be me,” Welker told the Time of their attendance. “And he’s incredibly quiet, when I’m usually talking at 100 miles per minute.

These days the couple are working side by side from their home. Welker said People that Hughes is his “home producer” and has even mastered the teleprompter. “He’s so supportive, and just jumps in,” she said on the exit. “We joke that he will be joining the union soon because he knows how to use all the equipment.”

This week, she won a top journalism award.

The day after Welker’s debate, she will be honored as Outstanding Broadcast Journalist of 2020 at the Washington Women in Journalism Awards. Past winners include CNN’s Abby Phillip, Mary Louise Kelly of NPR and Dana Bash of CNN.

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A Q + A on the organization’s website reveals that Welker’s first signing came courtesy of the Harvard Crimson in 1994 and that studying in Madrid abroad was one of the best decisions she made. Her most important story was about rising maternal mortality rates among black women and her advice to young journalists? “Be brave. Raise your hand for every assignment that comes your way. Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined and seek constructive criticism,” Welker says.

Watch Welker moderate the final debate tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

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