Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa is taking over for the late Gwen Ifill as moderator of the long-running PBS political talk show “Washington Week.”
Costa, 31, will remain in his current position at The Post, covering Congress and the Trump administration.
“I just really want to bring that reporting mentality on Friday and have a conversation with the best reporters in town,” Costa said in an interview Thursday. “At a time when everyone talks about fake news, this show is about real news. And it has a real legacy.”
Loyal viewers of the program will not be surprised by the selection. Costa, former Washington editor of National Review magazine, has been a regular guest on “Washington Week” since 2014 and has been the show’s guest host for the past two months.
“He seems to have the energy, his finger on the pulse and enthusiasm for the topics,” said WETA president and chief executive Sharon Percy Rockefeller. “I’m glad he’s staying full time at The Post, because it’s nothing but great to have all that knowledge at the end of the week on Friday night.”
Costa came to The Post in January 2014 and quickly established himself as a force on the national political beat. When the health-care bill was pulled from consideration in Congress in late March, Costa was one of the first people President Donald Trump called.
Costa grew up in Bucks County, Pa., idolizing TV personalities Tim Russert and Charlie Rose. He graduated from University of Notre Dame and studied Winston Churchill in graduate school at University of Cambridge. He considered Ifill, who died of cancer in November, both a friend and a mentor. And his primary goal at “Washington Week,” which has been on the air for 50 years, will be to uphold Ifill’s legacy.
“She had such integrity with how she led the discussions,” he said. “I wanted to make sure the show kept Gwen’s spirit and kept that commitment she always had to first-class reporting. I wanted the show to sustain everything she did. Not to change anything.”
“Gwen Ifill was such an icon,” he added. “No one can follow Gwen Ifill. All you can do is let her inspire the show and keep it in her spirit.”