FACT CHECK: Viral Post Makes False Claims About Debate Moderator Kristen Welker
A post shared on Facebook claims NBC News’ Kristen Welker “gave thousands of dollars to Obama, Clinton and Biden, is registered as a Democrat & her family spent Christmas with the Obamas at the White House.”
There is no evidence Welker has donated to Democrats or spent Christmas with the Obamas at the White House. While she previously registered as a Democrat, Welker has registered with no party affiliation since 2016, according to the District of Columbia Board of Elections.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Welker as the moderator of the final presidential debate in September. The claims about Welker circulated widely around the second and final presidential debate, which occurred Oct. 22.
“Kristen Welker, of NBC, the next debate moderator chosen by the ‘unbiased’ Presidential commission, gave thousands of dollars to Obama, Clinton and Biden, is registered as a Democrat & her family spent Christmas with the Obamas at the White House,” reads the post. It also features an image of Welker in the White House press briefing room with a fabricated news chyron that reads, “Kristen Walker is not a journalist she’s part of the anti-Trump resistance.”
The post’s claims do not hold up under scrutiny. The Daily Caller News Foundation searched the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) campaign finance data, which tracks political donations as far back as the 1970s, and didn’t find any record of her donating “thousands of dollars to Obama, Clinton and Biden,” as the post claims. Welker’s parents have donated to Democratic candidates, according to FEC records. (RELATED: 6 Claims From The 1st Presidential Debate)
A spokesperson for the District of Columbia Board of Elections told the Daily Caller News Foundation via email that Welker has been registered with no party affiliation since 2016. She previously registered as a Democrat from 2012 to 2016, according to the spokesperson.
The claim that Welker and her family “spent Christmas with the Obamas at the White House” appears to stem from a picture Welker shared on Facebook in 2012 that shows her posing with Barack and Michelle Obama in a room with holiday decorations. The photo was taken during a White House holiday press party, an NBC spokesperson told the DCNF in an email.
“Kristen attended the Obama White House press Christmas party, along with the rest of the Washington press corps,” said Richard Hudock, a senior director of communications at NBC News, in an email to the DCNF. “She also attended the same Trump White House press party until his administration did away with it after 2017.”
The White House has held annual holiday parties with the White House press corps for years, according to media reports. Trump halted the tradition in 2018, Politico reported. White House visitor logs show Welker attended such a party with other journalists in December 2012.
Welker received praise from both sides of the aisle for her performance as the final debate’s moderator, according to CNN. During a campaign rally in Florida on Oct. 23, President Donald Trump said, “I got treated, I thought very fairly by the anchor.”
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