This article originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.
The nation’s eyes will be on Philadelphia native Kristen Welker when she moderates the presidential debate Thursday night. One local household will be paying even closer attention to the NBC News White House correspondent.
Kristen Welker’s mother, Julie, was with her daughter when she got the very special call that led to Thursday night.
“It’s funny because it was right before Labor Day, and Kristen was visiting at that time. She was actually at my home when the debate commission called her. It was amazing and we got to celebrate with her,” Julie Welker said.
Kristen, who co-anchors “Weekend TODAY,” is the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992.
Her mom said that normally she would be there in person to see her daughter work, but this time she’ll have to settle for watching at home.
“We would have gone except for COVID-19 because we were invited to be there. We were at the primary debate she did when she was one of the four women moderators. We were there then and we would definitely have been here now if not for COVID,” Julie Welker said.
The Philadelphia real estate agent said her daughter’s talents will serve her well as the moderator of the final presidential debate.
“She’s very knowledgeable when it comes to the issues because she has been White House correspondent during both the Obama years and Trump years. She’s not an opinion reporter. She’s not a talking head. She is a true journalist, so she wants to bring the information and answers to the American people. That’s her mission. She is calm under pressure. And very, very patient,” she said.
During the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump said, “Bad things happen in Philadelphia.” Welker joked that it’s fitting that her daughter, a “Philly girl,” will moderate the second debate. She said her daughter is the right one for the job.
“She was always a talker. She liked to have the news and spread the news. So I guess that was an indication. She was always interested in the news, even when she was in lower school and high school and college,” Welker said.
Like any mom whose daughter is going into a tough situation, she offered a little advice.
“I told her to just be herself. She’s a wonderful journalist. She’s focused on having the truth be known and be told. And she will be very equal in her handling of the debate,” she said.
The proud mom said that on a scale of excitement from 1 to 10, she’d mark herself at 2,000. She can’t wait for the world to see Kristen bring a little bit of Philadelphia to the debate.
“I may be biased but she’s very talented. She’s very intelligent. She’s very aware and she’s very sincere. The Kristen that you see on TV is who she is,” Welker said.
The final debate between Trump and Biden takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
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