- Kristen Welker chaired the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday night.
- High-profile Democrats and Republicans praised her on social media after the debate, with many others lauding her ability to keep control of the candidates.
- Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who chaired the disastrous first presidential debate, said on Thursday he was “jealous.”
- Welker, who is a correspondent for NBC News, is the second Black woman to ever moderate a presidential debate solo.
- The first was ABC News journalist Carole Simpson, who moderated a debate between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot in 1992.
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Both Republicans and Democrats have praised Kristen Welker for her performance in the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday night.
During the debate, Welker, a White House correspondent for NBC News, kept control of the debate throughout by keeping the candidates to time and interjecting when needed.
The Commission for Presidential Debates last week announced that it would let moderators mute candidates if necessary — a measure brought in after Trump repeatedly interjected while Biden was speaking at the first presidential debate.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Republican Sen. John McCain, tweeted on Thursday night: “Thank you @kwelkernbc for giving the American people a real debate tonight.”
While Meghan McCain and her family have long identified themselves as Republicans, she has repeatedly spoken out against Trump. Her mother, Cindy McCain, publicly endorsed Biden last month.
The pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich also tweeted: “Kristen Welker may have single handedly saved the presidential debates because she was good!”
Fox News correspondent Bret Baier also shared a post saying that Welker was a “total pro,” adding: “Well done — not an easy thing to pull off. Kudos @kwelkernbc.”
—Bret Baier (@BretBaier) October 23, 2020
During Thursday’s debate, Trump also told Welker: “I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say,” before turning his attention to Biden.
Welker also garnered praise from prominent Democrats, such as former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, who said she “did an excellent job moderating tonight.
Former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile also tweeted “kudos” to Welker, adding that she had done an “amazing job.”
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump super PAC also wrote: “After a disaster of a first debate, Welker kept Trump in check and asked tough questions of both candidates,” and linked to a HuffPost article titled: “Moderator Kristen Welker Won The Presidential Debate.”
—Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) October 23, 2020
Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs, who attended the debate, tweeted that one member of the debate audience called Welker’s performance a “home run,” and that dozens of other people who heard the remark agreed.
The praise for Welker starkly contrasted with the criticism of Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who struggled to rein in both candidates and failed to stop Trump’s interruptions.
When asked for his response to Thursday’s debate, Wallace told Fox News: “First of all, I’m jealous. I would’ve liked to have been able to moderate that debate and get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”
Welker is the second Black woman to ever moderate a US presidential debate by herself. The first was ABC News journalist Carole Simpson, who moderated the debate between President George H.W. Bush, then-Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, and businessman H. Ross Perot in 1992.
Welker, 44, is also the youngest and only nonwhite journalist to moderate any presidential debate this year.