WATCH: “Meet the Press” Panelist Defends New Host Kristen Welker Against Critics Upset She Interviewed Trump


NBC’s Kristen Welker has come under fire from predominantly far-left critics for interviewing former President Donald Trump in her debut as Meet the Press moderator on Sunday. But towards the end of broadcast, one of Welker’s roundtable panelists came to her defense.

New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker defended Welker’s decision to interview the former president — arguing that it’s necessary for journalists to challenge political leaders.

“We have gotten criticism for just sitting down with former President Trump,” Welker told Baker. “He is the former president. He’s facing four indictments, as journalists just set the scene, the backdrop why there is still news value and value for the public to hear from him.”

“This is a huge challenge for American journalists, of course, right?” Baker replied. “It can’t be that a person can run for president United States be a front runner and his party and possibly win without ever being challenged by a tough, independent interviewer. And that’s, I think, an important part of our system. Now, obviously the challenge for us because he is just going to spout out one thing after another, in fact, I mean, real time is a real hard thing. But what you’ve done here is edit it and make sure people understand what he’s what’s real and what’s not.”

The hashtag #BoycottMeetThePress trended on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, as preview excerpts of the Trump interview were released — with progressive critics arguing that the former president should not have been given the platform. Fired MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann called the interview a “disastrous stenography job” before it even aired in full.

In an interview with the journalism watchdog site Poynter, Meet the Press executive producer David Gelles likewise defended the decision to interview Trump.

“We are in the business of covering politics,” Gelles said. “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.”

Watch above, via NBC.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo