President Donald Trump went after the moderator of the final presidential debate, NBC’s Kristen Welker on Twitter Saturday afternoon, days before that debate is set to take place.
The president shared a tweet from his son Don Jr. linking to a New York Post report on Welker’s “deep Democratic ties,” citing Democrats her parents have given money to and how she has asked questions of the Trump White House and prominent Democrats. The report includes one anonymous White House official going off on Welker and saying, “Anyone who’s ever dealt with Welker knows she’s an activist, not a reporter. The White House press team views her the same way they would AOC or Pelosi if they walked in the office.”
Trump tweeted Welker has “always been terrible & unfair” but indicated he will show up at the debate.
“She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know! How’s Steve Scully doing?” he tweeted.
She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know! How’s Steve Scully doing? https://t.co/uS3EWzfFPy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2020
After the wild first presidential debate, Trump repeatedly went after Chris Wallace, and has made it a recurring part of his recent campaign rallies.
Prior to what was going to be the second debate, the president went after Steve Scully — the planned moderator — which led to Scully tweeting to Anthony Scaramucci asking if he should respond, then claiming he was hacked, then admitting he lied about being hacked.
Instead of that second debate, Trump participated in an NBC town hall — going after the network and Savannah Guthrie both before and after the event.
UPDATE — 4:33 pm ET: A number of Welker’s media colleagues came to her defense after the Post report and the president’s tweet, particularly on the photo of her at an Obama White House Christmas party that many journalists and media figures regularly attended:
That’s a photo from the White House Christmas party, which is widely attended by the press corps (it was, back in the day). There’s a long line and people cycle through for a quick photo with the president. https://t.co/GVVCRWsMpn
— Blake News (@blakehounshell) October 17, 2020
What an absolute joke. IT’S THE WH CHRISTMAS PARTY! Literally everyone in the WH press corps is invited. I’m sure you’d find conservative journalists there too, @LevineJonathan. Do something more useful with your time than try and trash a media colleague and a great one at that. https://t.co/MDp8eIsGRL
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 17, 2020
If you have a problem with reporters taking pictures with presidents then do I have some bad news for you about the White House Christmas party https://t.co/1sKEIG4z3R
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) October 17, 2020
As Trump + campaign try to undermine @kwelkernbc ahead of debate, I am reminded of him singling her out at presser in Davos to congratulate her on promotion.
TRUMP: By the way, congratulations on your show.
WELKER: Thank you very much.
TRUMP: They made a very wise decision.
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) October 17, 2020
Trump advisor @JasonMillerinDC days ago: “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker. I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator … I think she’s a journalist who is very fair in her approach. And I think she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.” https://t.co/GBjUq86Czd
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 17, 2020
The comment from Trump 2020 campaign adviser Jason Miller referenced above came from his recent appearance on Fox News with Martha MacCallum talking about the cancellation of the second debate and going after the debate commission and the Biden campaign, but making a point of saying, “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker. I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she’s a journalist who’s very fair in her approach. And I think that she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.”
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