Even TRUMP said she did a good job: President leads the praise for moderator Kristin Welker after calm debate where she didn’t have to use the mute button
- Moderator Kristin Welker faced high expectations when she took the stage on Thursday night – after the first presidential debate flew off the rails
- The NBC correspondent was widely praised for keeping round two under control
- Her chair came equipped with a mute button, but she didn’t appear to use it
- Even Trump complimented Welker during the debate, saying: ‘So far, I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say’
- By the end of the night she interrupted Trump 24 times and Biden twice, a Fox News tally showed
Kristin Welker has received rave reviews for her ‘poised and fresh’ moderation of a contentious final presidential debate – including from President Donald Trump.
Welker, NBC’s White House correspondent for the past nine years and the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate in three decades, faced high expectations when she took the stage on Thursday night – after the first face-off flew off the rails.
The moderator of that first debate, Fox News host Chris Wallace, was branded the loser of the night as he spent most of his time trying – and failing – to stop Trump and Joe Biden from interrupting each other.
The Commission on Presidential Debates sought to reduce interjections the second time around by equipping Welker with the ability to mute each candidate’s microphone while his opponent made their initial two-minute response to each new topic.
But Welker didn’t appear to use the mute button at all, as viewers credited her forceful and respectful cautions to the candidates with keeping things on track.
Even Trump – who had led the attacks against Wallace – complimented Welker during the debate, saying: ‘So far, I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say.’
That comment came after Trump disparaged Welker earlier in the week, calling her a ‘radical left Democrat’ and tweeting that ‘she’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News’.
By the end of the night a few conservative pundits said they felt Welker was biased against Trump, as a Fox News tally showed she interrupted him 24 times and Biden only twice.
Kristin Welker received rave reviews for her ‘poised and fresh’ moderation of a contentious final presidential debate on Thursday night
Even Trump complimented Welker during the debate, saying: ‘So far, I respect very much the way you’re handling this, I have to say’
On social media, the majority of reviews on Welker were highly positive.
‘I am so proud of the job @kwelkernbc is doing tonight,’ her NBC colleague Al Roker tweeted. ‘She’s moving it along but being respectful. She is running a tight ship and we are seeing a real debate.’
Several other journalists shared similar sunny appraisals, with Jake Tapper saying Welker was ‘doing a stellar job as expected’ and Yashar Ali calling her ‘crisp and fresh as a moderator’.
Dozens of viewers drew comparisons between Welker and Wallace, most of them saying that the former moderator did much better than the latter.
‘I hope Chris Wallace is taking notes from Kristen Welker about how to moderate a debate,’ one viewer tweeted.
‘One thing everybody can agree with: Kristen Welker > Chris Wallace,’ another wrote.
Wallace weighed in during post-debate coverage on Fox News, saying: ‘I’m jealous. I would have liked to be able to moderate that debate.’
While Welker’s performance was well-received overall, there were a few critics who thought she could have done better.
‘Sweet Jesus just use the [mute] button Kristen Welker,’ one viewer tweeted. ‘At least don’t give up trying wrestle control from Trump, even Chris Wallace did better and he didn’t even have a mute button.’
‘Kristen Welker is just as bad as the other moderators, if not worse,’ another wrote.
Some of the critics accused Welker of bias against Trump, saying that she interrupted him more than his opponent.
But others said that Welker should have done more to keep Trump in line, with one writing: ‘Once again, @kwelkernbc folds when Trump decides that he wants the last word. So aggravating.’