NBC’s Kristen Welker went into Thursday night’s presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee, with the nation speculating on whether or not she could contain the chaos that erupted during the first debate. She did not disappoint.
Widely praised on both sides of the aisle, Welker maintained order, asked questions that kept both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on their toes throughout the debate, and commanded respect in a way that neither of the other general election moderators—Fox New’s Chris Wallace and USA Today’s Susan Page—managed to do.
“Well, first of all, I’m jealous,” Wallace said on Fox News. “I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate.”
“Kudos to @kwelkernbc for a job well done tonight,” Page tweeted, “and a service to our nation.”
Welker, 44, who has been a White House correspondent since 2011, deftly managed the flow of the debate, asking relevant follow-ups and allowing Trump and Biden to engage each other without letting either of them go off on tangents.
From questions about Trump’s horrific handling of his administration’s COVID-19 response to Biden’s authorship of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, to foreign and immigration policies, Welker optimized every one of those 90 minutes.
“Every single person at NBC News is bursting with pride,” NBC President Noah Oppenheim told CNN. “Kristen is beloved and admired by all of us and tonight the whole country knows why.”
Watch the last presidential debate below: