Welker is set to moderate the final presidential debate on Thursday from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Over the weekend, the New York Post reported that Welker’s parents had donated to Democrats. The Post also reported that Welker herself was once a registered Democrat, and several conservative outlets have faulted her for having her picture taken with President Obama at a White House Christmas party.
Trump tweeted about the Post story over the weekend, saying that Welker has been “terrible & unfair.” Speaking to reporters before a campaign stop in Prescott, Ariz., Trump said he still intends to participate in the debate.
“It’s not going to affect me,” he said. “I’m going to be there. But y’know, I told you about the last one and I was right, and I told you about Savannah Guthrie and I was right. And I’m telling you about Kristen Welker.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday taking issue with the debate topics, which were announced on Friday. Welker selected six subjects for the debate, including COVID-19, American families and national security.
The Trump campaign argues that the final debate should be focused on foreign policy. Stepien accused the CPD of shifting the subject away from foreign policy in order to minimize discussion of Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his ties to foreign corporations.
“It is completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history,” Stepien wrote.
The third presidential debate in 2012 was focused on foreign policy, but the CPD never said that this year’s final debate would center on that.
Trump also attacked Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying “he’s made a lot of bad calls,” and that he “has been there for about 350 years.”
The Biden campaign responded to that, saying the public is tired of Trump’s lies about the coronavirus.
“The American people have never backed down from a challenge, but they need a leader to show the way and all President Trump has done is cower and wallow in self-pity,” Biden said in a statement.