Last night, Kristen Welker became the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate since 1992. And with the help of muting microphones, the final presidential debate was a lot more watchable than the first. Many viewers took to social media during and after the event to suggest that Welker helped to save the debates.
Welker, a Harvard graduate from Philadelphia, is co-anchor on NBC's Weekend Today and has been the network's White House correspondent since 2011. Though this was Welker's first time moderating a presidential debate, she co-moderated a debate between Democratic candidates last November.
Welker earned praised across the political spectrum for her handling of the debate. Chris Wallace, who moderated the first debate, told Fox News: "Well, first of all, I'm jealous. I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions."
Some social media users suggested that the less combative nature could have been a result of Welker's first question. "What [Kristen Welker] did differently from Chris Wallace is that her FIRST question did not pit one candidate against another," one user explained. "This made a big difference in that it set the tone for the rest of the debate and she thus was able to maintain control for full debate."
What @kwelkernbc did different from Chris Wallace is that her FIRST question did not pit one candidate against another...this made a big difference in that it set the tone for the rest of the debate and she thus was able to maintain control for full debate pic.twitter.com/MRnmZuZw7E— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) October 23, 2020
While another added: "Kristen Welker may have single-handedly saved the presidential debates because she was good!"
Kristen Welker may have single handedly saved the presidential debates because she was good!— Cernovich (@Cernovich) October 23, 2020
"Pretty excited that Kristen Welker did what no one else could," another added.
"Thank you Kristen Welker for giving the American people a real #DebateTonight," Megan McCain added.
While another remarked: "Kristen Welker is a total boss and did a great job moderating the debate tonight."