President Donald Trump criticized moderator Kristen Welker ahead of Thursday’s presidential debate, saying the NBC News reporter “has always been terrible and unfair.”
But as recently as January of this year, however, the president sang a different tune.
Early in 2020, when Welker was named co-anchor of “Weekend Today,” Trump congratulated her during a press conference in Davos, Switzerland.
As shown above, he said, “By the way, congratulations on your show. They made a very wise decision.”
Welker responded gamely by inviting Trump on for an interview, to which he replied, “Oh, good.”
Trump’s Saturday tweet slamming the reporter came in response to New York Post reporting on her parents’ past donations to Democratic candidates. Trump and his own family members have also donated to Democratic candidates throughout the years.
The Post reporting is just one example of the scrutiny aimed at debate moderators. Welker deactivated her Twitter account shortly after would-be moderator of the canceled second debate Steve Scully claimed his account was hacked amid widespread questioning of his potential bias. He was later suspended by C-SPAN for lying about the hack. He said in a statement he lied because he “was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets” ahead of the debate, and added that some of the attacks were even aimed at his family.
Monday morning, Fox News picked up the Post’s Welker story, prompting CNN’s Jake Tapper to tweet in her defense, “If any other outlet started covering the political donations of *the parents* of folks who work at Fox there would be widespread outrage and rightly so. This is hideous and unjournalistic. And another example of how bad actors use standards against those who uphold them.”
Welker will be moderating the final presidential debate on Thursday between Trump and former vice president Joe Biden at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She started covering the White House for NBC News in December of 2011, traveling with former president Barack Obama and former vice president Biden. She was named co-anchor of “Weekend Today” earlier this year, which, NBC News pointed out at the time, was a full-circle moment, given she started her career as a “Today” intern and researcher in 1997.
Watch Trump praise her promotion above, via NBC News.