During Wednesday night’s Republican presidential primary debate, candidate Vivek Ramaswamy accused moderator Kristen Welker of promoting the conspiracy that former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
Ramaswamy’s accusation came after he was asked about his plans for immigration reform. Instead of answering the question, he chose to call out Welker and the media, stating, "Kristen, I’m going to use this time because this is actually about you and the media and the corrupt media establishment. [I will] ask you: the Trump-Russia collusion hoax that you pushed on this network for years, was that real, or was that Hillary Clinton made-up disinformation? Answer the question, go."
Welker, who served as NBC News' White House correspondent at the time, ignored the question and the debate moderators quickly moved on to another candidate.
🚨 BREAKING: Vivek Ramaswamy destroys Ronna Romney McDaniel, demand she come on stage and RESIGN, says Joe Rogan and Elon Musk should be hosting the debate instead of hacks like Kristen Welker who pushed the Russian Collusion Hoax 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hxcBxGrdPN
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 9, 2023
However, Ramaswamy’s accusation is not without merit. As he stated, Welker reported heavily on the Trump-Russia conspiracy throughout the years. In one segment from 2019, Welker even asked Trump directly if he had worked for Russia. When Trump vehemently denied the accusation, Welker pressed on, stating that there was evidence pointing to his involvement with Russia.
This is not the first time Welker has come under fire for her coverage of the Trump-Russia conspiracy. During the Mueller investigation, the New York Times reported that Welker, along with other NBC News reporters, had routinely promoted unverified claims and rumors about Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
The Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy dominated headlines for years, with many media outlets, including NBC News, speculating about potential connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, the investigation ultimately found no evidence of collusion, leading to allegations that the media had purposefully perpetuated a hoax.
Vivek Ramaswamy floats the idea of Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, or Elon Musk moderating a GOP Debate.
Honestly better idea than having Lestor Holt and Kristen Welker who both likely peddled the Hunter Biden laptop Russian disinformation lie and the Russian collusion hoax https://t.co/eItCfZJ0Vp
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) November 9, 2023
NBC News and Welker have yet to respond to Ramaswamy’s accusation during the debate. However, many viewers took to social media to criticize Welker’s handling of the situation, with some calling for her to be replaced as moderator for future debates.
In the end, Ramaswamy’s bold accusation put a spotlight on the role of the media in perpetuating the Trump-Russia conspiracy. As the 2022 midterm elections approach, it remains to be seen how heavily this narrative will factor into media coverage and political discourse once again.