Kristen Welker’s first broadcast of Meet the Press on Sunday will feature a pre-taped interview with former President Donald Trump.
The interview will take place on Thursday in Bedminster, NJ, and it will be Trump’s first broadcast network sitdown since leaving office.
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The network has stressed that the interview is not a town hall and there is no live audience, and the same invite has been extended to President Joe Biden. The sitdown also will be accompanied by a fact check on NBCNews.com. They also pointed to a quote that David Gelles, the executive producer of Meet the Press, gave to The Poynter Report: “We are in the business of covering politics. It’s not our job to pick and choose the leaders. The American people get to do that. And so our job is to make sure that the American people understand who the people in power are, what they stand for, and what they plan to do.”
Welker’s choice of Trump for her inaugural show may well generate extra interest, but also more scrutiny than the typical Sunday show mix of Capitol Hill lawmakers and pundits. CNN’s town hall drew intense criticism inside and outside the network. Many of the complaints focused on the format, as Trump was cheered on by the GOP audience, even when he was talking about a recent civil judgment against him for sexual abuse. CNN got a ratings bounce from the event, but its when chairman and CEO, Chris Licht, was publicly criticized by one of the network’s personalities, Christiane Amanpour.
Trump’s last appearance on Meet the Press was on June 23, 2019. He at times criticized Welker’s predecessor, Chuck Todd. He also complained about Welker as the moderator of the second and final presidential debate in 2020. Welker, who was the lead network correspondent covering the administration, was praised for the job she did at the event.
The Sunday show also will feature NBC News’ Carol Lee and Laura Jarrett, as well as The New York Times’s Peter Baker.
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