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Politics Kristen Welker: 5 things to know about the moderator of Thursday's presidential debate

17:35  22 october  2020
17:35  22 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Kristen Welker will host the final presidential debate showdown Thursday, though it appears that President Donald Trump may spar 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 second presidential debate was axed after Trump declined 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.

Ahead of 3rd debate, Trump again goes after moderator. This time it's NBC's Kristen Welker he calls 'unfair.'

  Ahead of 3rd debate, Trump again goes after moderator. This time it's NBC's Kristen Welker he calls 'unfair.' Trump praised Welker in the past, complementing her in January for landing a gig on NBC's "Today" show. "They made a very wise decision," Trump said."She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game," Trump tweeted Saturday.

Kristen Welker in a blue shirt: © Nathan Congleton/NBC "Weekend Today" co-anchor and NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker

Welker, a target of Trump's Twitter rage last week, will be the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate in nearly 30 years. (Journalist Carole Simpson moderated the face-off between George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot in 1992.)

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Here are five things to know about Welker:

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Her journalism career: Welker, 44, studied American history at Harvard and interned at "Today" in 1997. Before beginning her full-time NBC News tenure in 2010, Welker worked for local TV stations in Providence, Rhode Island; Redding, California; and later Philadelphia, her hometown. In 2011, she became a White House reporter and reported on the 2016 presidential election. She was named "Weekend Today" co-anchor alongside Peter Alexander last January.

Debate moderator Kristen Welker slammed for bias — but are the allegations true?

  Debate moderator Kristen Welker slammed for bias — but are the allegations true? NBC's Kristen Welker has been accused of being a Democratic stooge and a biased reporter who is "terrible" at her job and will categorically be "unfair" to President Trump ahead of Thursday night's debate.The campaign of coordinated attacks against Welker by Trump and his allies is nothing new but has gotten increasingly nasty over the past few days.

2019 debate performance: Welker, along with MSNBC hosts Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow and Ashley Parker, the White House reporter for The Washington Post, moderated a face-off among Democratic presidential hopefuls last November. Welker asked about health care, race and the high price of housing

The foursome were praised for the performance. "Even when the debate ran longer than the scheduled two hours, it was not only interesting, but entertaining," wrote Tom Jones on Poynter.org, a journalism website. "The moderators get credit for that. As a result, we had the most stimulating and substantive Democratic debate so far in this election cycle."

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Kristen Welker et al. standing in front of a table: Kristen Welker with © William B. Plowman /NBC Kristen Welker with "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd on Jan. 26, 2020.

What inspired her to become a reporter: Welker was one of eight Black journalists Glamour sought out for a story, published in June, to uncover what life is like for reporters amid a fight for racial equality and a global pandemic,.

Kristen Welker is moderating the final presidential debate. Trump is already attacking her.

  Kristen Welker is moderating the final presidential debate. Trump is already attacking her. Welker is a White House correspondent at NBC News and a co-anchor of Weekend Today.Welker interned with the Today show while a student at Harvard University and has been with NBC full time since 2005. She started as a reporter and weekend anchor at NBC’s affiliate station in her hometown of Philadelphia, then became a correspondent at the West Coast headquarters of NBC News in 2010. Welker, who has been a White House correspondent for the network since 2011, was named co-anchor of Weekend Today in January 2020.

Welker's mother is Black, and her father is white, so "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."

Her mom is her No. 1 fan: Welker is one of the participants who shared "The Best Advice My Mother Gave Me" for a Mother's Day piece published on Maria Shriver's website. She describes her mom, Juliet Welker, as "my biggest supporter, my best friend, and my greatest inspiration." Welker said her mom, who was the first Black president of the women’s student association at Penn State University, instilled in her the importance of believing in oneself.

"From the moment I told my mother that I wanted to be a journalist, she has stood by my side every step of the way," Welker wrote. "My mom texts me after every single live report to cheer me on. I would not be the person or journalist that I am today if it were not for my mom."

4 winners and 5 losers from the last Biden-Trump debate

  4 winners and 5 losers from the last Biden-Trump debate Joe Biden was a winner — as was moderator Kristen Welker.The first debate was a chaotic disaster thanks to Trump’s constant interruptions; the second one didn’t happen because Trump refused to agree to debate virtually while he had Covid-19 (they had dueling town halls instead). This time around, better moderation and the handy use of a mute button allowed both candidates to express their thoughts — leading to a mix of actual substantive policy exchanges and less-than-coherent mudslinging about families and personal finance.

Trump's criticism: In January, the president congratulated Welker on nabbing the "Weekend Today" hosting gig at a news conference. "They made a very wise decision," he said. But last weekend, , he abruptly reversed course, firing off a tweet bashing her. (He'd also criticized Fox News' Chris Wallace, who moderated the first debate, and NBC's Savannah Guthrie, who moderated last week's town hall.)

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"Yikes! Here we go again" Donald Trump Jr. commented on a New York Post story highlighting her alleged "deep Democratic ties" by citing her family's donations to some of the party's political candidates. The president piled on: "She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game," the president posted. "The people know!"

Dueling town halls: Biden beats Trump in final Nielsen TV ratings

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kristen Welker: 5 things to know about the moderator of Thursday's presidential debate

Majority of voters say Biden won second debate, poll finds .
Sixty-five percent of voters said the candidates were mostly respectful of each other's time, as opposed to 10% who said that after the first debate.Fifty-four percent of voters who watched the Thursday debate said Biden performed the best, while 39% said that Trump did. Eight percent of voters who watched weren’t sure or had no opinion on who did best.

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