A Black woman will be the moderator for the next presidential debate, the first to do so since 1992.
Kristen Welker will moderate the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. The Harvard Unversity graduate and NBC News White House correspondent is now the co-anchor of Weekend Today. The Philly native is the first Black woman to moderate the event solo since Carole Simpson in 1992, according to an NBC press release obtained by theGrio. If you are unfamiliar with the journalist’s history, here are five things you should know.
1. She has a long history with NBC.
Welker, 44, started as an intern with Today in 1997 and worked as a weekend researcher there. In 2011, she began covering the White House for the outlet. She traveled with President Barack Obama, the first lady, and former vice president Joe Biden and in 2016 she covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She was named co-anchor of Weekend Today in January.
2. This isn’t Welker’s first time moderating a presidential debate
In 2019, she joined fellow journalists Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, and Ashley Parker for an all-female panel to moderate the presidential debate. The women received raved reviews and their coverage won them a Special or Variety – Breakthrough award at the 45th annual Gracie Awards.
For the first time in this election cycle, the moderators of tonight’s debate are all women: Andrea Mitchell, Rachel Maddow, Kristen Welker and Ashley Parker. pic.twitter.com/KzOIAFn3h3
— Axios (@axios) November 21, 2019
3. She’s an award-winning journalist and stellar reporter
Welker is familiar with receiving accolades. She was recently honored with the Outstanding Journalism in Broadcast Television award at the 7th Annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards. The reporter also received praise from viewers – and her colleagues – for showing professionalism during a live report that went awry. Despite an errant gust of wind during the segment, Welker quickly recovered without missing a beat.
The intrepid @kwelkernbc doesn’t miss a beat despite gusts of wind and falling light stands. But boy did it scare all of us. Thanks always to my friend, Kristen, for carrying on. pic.twitter.com/9lwa5EqyZp
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) April 22, 2020
4. Welker met her husband after being set up by their mutual friends
The journalist married her husband, John Hughes, a marketing executive, in 2017, according to The New York Times. After their first date, he initially thought she was out of his league. He told the outlet, “I remember thinking to myself, ‘If I can just make her laugh, maybe I’ll have a chance.’”
5. Trump once praised her, but then slighted her after she was announced as debate moderator
The president congratulated Welker at a press conference this year after she was named co-anchor of Weekend Today. “They made a very wise decision,” he said.
But today, when asked by media at a press stop, he’d changed his assessment.
“Kristen Welker is a radical left Democrat,” he told media assembled to talk to him on the tarmac at a campaign stop in Phoenix, Arizona. “I told you about the last one and I was right and I told you about Savannah Guthrie and I was right,” he said. “Then ask her why did she delete her account,” he continued. “Kristin Welker should put all of her statements back on. She deleted her entire account. She shouldn’t do that.”
It’s unclear what account Trump was referring to, as Welker’s Twitter account is still active. It was deactivated temporarily earlier this month when CSPAN host Steve Scully claimed his account was hacked before the scheduled, then cancelled, Oct. 15 presidential debate.
The final presidential debate on Oct. 22nd airs at 9 p.m.