Savannah Guthrie: who is the NBC presenter praised for her moderating of President Donald Trump’s town hall?

Savannah Guthrie was praised for her moderation of the President’s town hall

Savannah Guthrie was praised for her handling of Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Many feared that Donald Trump and Joe Biden set the tone for the US Election when they went head-to-head at the first US presidential debate in October.

The incumbent President’s disruptive approach in Ohio saw the event descend into farce, with moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News unable to keep tempestuous exchanges to a minimum. Many claimed Trump was able to dictate the tempo and the content of the debate.

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Thursday night’s (15 Oct) town hall was a different affair altogether, with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie holding the President to account on issues ranging from his coronavirus response to his apparent support of the absurd QAnon conspiracy.

The Today Show presenter also received praise for criticising the President’s social media use, saying, “You're not someone's crazy uncle” when Mr Trump defended his retweeting of a conspiracy theory claiming Osama Bin Laden was still alive.

Who is Savannah Guthrie?

Savannah Guthrie graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism in 1993, having moved to Tuscon from Australia at the age of two.

She joined the NBC team in 2007, as a legal analyst for CourtTV.

Guthrie covered Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice presidential campaign, before earning the role of White House correspondent later that year.

In 2011, she joined the long-running Today show as a co-host, becoming a co-anchor one year later, alongside Matt Lauer.

She announced Lauer’s departure live on air in 2017, revealing the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled at him. Lauer was replaced by Hoda Kotb.

Ms Guthrie has two children with former Democratic political aide, Michael Feldman.

Key exchanges with Trump

The exchange between Trump and Guthrie which gained most traction on social media was the President’s refusal to reject the QAnon conspiracy.

Ms Guthrie asked, “It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring, and that you are the savior of that. Now can you just once and for all state that that is completely not true and that -”

Interrupting, Mr Trump replied, “I know nothing about QAnon [...] I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it.”

Guthrie then pressed the Republican candidate on his Twitter usage, asking why he had retweeted a conspiracy claiming Osama Bin Laden was still alive.

Mr Trump insisted a retweet wasn’t an endorsement, stating, “That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”

Guthrie replied, “I don’t get that. You’re the President. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”

Next, she quizzed Trump on his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. He responded, “When I see thousands of ballots dumped in a garbage can, and they happen to have my name on it - I’m not happy about that.”