It’s a change of tone from January, when Trump congratulated Welker after she was given a slot as a weekend anchor, saying NBC “made a very wise decision.”
Trump senior campaign adviser Jason Miller said on Fox News just last week that Welker — whom he characterized as “very fair” — would do an “excellent job” moderating the third debate, which is set for Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee. “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker,” he said.
Trump previously agreed to Welker as a moderator.
But on Saturday, Trump ripped her in a tweet. “She’s aways been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News,” he wrote, adding: “But I’ll still play the game.”
The presidents oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., piped up in a retweet: “Yikes! Here we go again!” He linked to an article claiming Welker has “deep Democratic ties.”
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
Trump also referred to Steve Scully in his tweet. Scully was supposed to moderate the second debate, which Trump refused to participate in after organizers said it would be virtual.
C-SPAN later suspended Scully after he allegedly lied about a tweet asking a former Trump pal for advice on how to respond to criticism from the president.
Trump also bashed Welker Saturday night at his rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, calling her “extraordinarily unfair.”
He also attacked NBC’s Savannah Guthrie — who held his feet to the fire during his town hall on Thursday — and Fox News’ “tough” Chris Wallace, who challenged Trump’s lies in an interview this summer.
Trump insisted to the crowd that he “did very well” with Guthrie and got “A+ marks” for his performance — something that might surprise his critics.
Trump also falsely insinuated that Guthrie had dropped out of sight. “But you know what?” he added. “We’re president, and they’re not.”
Both journalists and politicians — as well as Trump’s campaign adviser — hold Welker in high regard as fair and professional.
The Washington Women in Journalism Awards last month honored Welker as outstanding broadcast journalist of the year.
Welker hasn’t responded to Trump’s attacks.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 17, 2020
Just incredible — though not surprising, given who we are talking about — how the Trump campaign was literally praising @kwelkernbc eight days ago, saying she is a fair journalist and a great choice for debate moderator, and now they’re trying to portray her as a biased hack.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 17, 2020
Two points on the Trump/NY Post effort to undermine the next debate by going after Kristen Welker. First, ask anyone in politics in DC, D or R and they'll tell you what a real pro she is. Second, and this one is for you @realDonaldTrump you agreed to her as the moderator.
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) October 18, 2020
Why are Trump and his sycophants attacking Kristen Welker?
They're laying the groundwork of excuses for when Trump completely flops and embarrasses himself. Again.
— Justice is Coming (@firedup79) October 18, 2020
I've known Kristen for a long time, too, and I've not met a person who embodies kindness, grace, integrity and fairness more than she does. https://t.co/xtOJlImlfS
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) October 18, 2020
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.