Kristen Welker expertly moderates final presidential debate despite interruptions

Kristen Welker expertly moderates final presidential debate despite frequent interruptions

Kristen Welker

Friday marked the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden before the United States election, and it was a remarkably different event to the first debate which was described at the time as “90 minutes of personal barbs, insults, shouting and attacks”.

Microphones were muted during candidates’ opening answers to questions this time around, which resulted in less interruptions, and a smoother flow of discussion. It was moderated by Kristen Welker, an NBC News White House correspondent, and the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.

Despite Trump forcefully pointing his finger at Welker at different points throughout the debate, whenever he wanted to cut in, Welker managed to keep interruptions from Trump at bay for the entire 90 minutes.

Where necessary, Welker included fact checks to many points that were not based in truth, and steadily controlled the conversation in the direction she wanted.

She asked detailed, fair questions to both candidates, that covered everything from a COVID-19 vaccine, to climate change, institutional racism, border policies – specifically the families, and children who have been separated from their parents at the borders – and why women and people of colour are suffering the most in the economic fallout from COVID-19. 

In contrast to the previous debate, Welker allowed appropriate time for each candidate to respond to one another, without letting it descend into chaos.

After the first debate moderator Chris Wallace was visibly overwhelmed by Trump’s constant interruptions and bulldozing, the performance from Welker proved more effective in curating a more constructive debate.

Hours before the debate, Trump tweeted insults at Kristen Walker, labelling her biased and rude, and last week, he said “she’s always been terrible & unfair”.

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