NBC ‘Meet the Press’ host Kristen Welker objected to Donald Trump interview for debut episode: report

“Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker rejected her boss’s suggestion to interview former President Donald Trump for her debut episode last fall before being coaxed into the sit-down, according to a report.

Welker, the former NBC News White House correspondent who replaced Chuck Todd on the long-running Sunday morning show, was approached by Cesar Conde, the chairman of NBCUniversal News, about whom to book for her first show last September, according to the New York Times.

Conde and Welker agreed that she should prioritize booking President Biden and Trump for interviews, the New York Times reported.

While Biden declined an invite, Trump accepted.

NBC News “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker (above) was resistant to the idea of interviewing former President Donald Trump for her debut episode last fall, according to a report. EPA

But when Conde broached the idea of Welker interviewing Trump for her Sept. 17 debut, she reportedly pushed back.

Trump (seen above in Manhattan on Thursday) accepted an invite to appear on “Meet the Press” in September. Getty Images

Welker was apparently wary of a sit-down with Trump given his combative nature and his propensity to make wild claims. She finally agreed to what turned out to be a contentious interview only after getting pressured by Conde and several of his deputies, according to the Times.

The moderator attempted to fact-check Trump during the interview and avoid getting steamrolled like CNN host Kaitlan Collins did months earlier during a town hall with the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Welker’s interview ended up being panned on social media — complete with a “#boycottmeetthepress” campaign. Conde, however, deemed it a success, the Times reported.

The Post has sought comment from NBC News.

Welker’s boss, Cesar Conde, head of NBCUniversal News Group, had to coax her to interview Trump, according to a report. AP

Conde’s push to have Trump appear on Welker’s “Meet the Press” debut was reflective of management’s desire to bring more balance to the Peacock Network’s news division, which is perceived as being in the tank for the Democratic Party given MSNBC’s partisan tilt.

According to the Times, Conde wanted more Republicans to appear on NBC News shows in hopes of making inroads with Trump supporters who have abandoned mainstream media outlets in droves.

To that end, he signed off on the hiring of Ronna McDaniel, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, to be a paid contributor for NBC News.

But the decision was met with blowback from top NBC News and MSNBC personalities including “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as well as Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd — prompting management to rescind the offer.

Before McDaniel’s hire by NBC News was made public, she sat for an interview with Welker on “Meet the Press.”

Trump (seen above on “Meet the Press” last September) was grilled about his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election. NBC News

Welker grilled McDaniel about her role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. McDaniel has since said that she viewed Biden as the legitimate winner of the election.

Trump was indicted by the Justice Department on felony charges for his alleged efforts to undo the results of the election. The former president has dismissed the allegations as “fake.”

McDaniel has been never been charged or accused of wrongdoing by authorities.

After Conde pulled the plug on the McDaniel hire, Republicans blasted the move. Some even threatened to deny NBC News reporters access to the Republican National Convention this summer.

The Times story also cited people familiar with the matter as saying that MSNBC’s corporate parent, Comcast, was unhappy with commentary from the channel’s hosts and guests who were perceived as critical of Israel while the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas were unfolding.

Welker took over as moderator of “Meet the Press” last fall, succeeding Chuck Todd. NBC News

Michael Cavanagh, president of Comcast, took the rare step of telling Conde his concerns about MSNBC on-air talent veering into opinion and commentary about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, according to the Times.

Conde agreed with his boss and sent a directive to MSNBC personnel telling them to stick to the facts, according to the Times.