Margaret Brennan, the moderator of Face the Nation on CBS News, spoke with President Donald Trump for a Super Bowl Sunday interview. The interview took place on February 1.
Portions were set to air during Face the Nation, before being broadcast as part of the Super Bowl pregame show at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Brennan regularly interviews top officials in the Trump administration one-on-one. In the weeks leading up to the presidential interview, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney all appeared on Face the Nation. Prior to her promotion, Brennan spent several years covering two administrations and the State Department.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Margaret Brennan Has Been Reporting for CBS News Since 2012; Her Job Has Included Traveling With the Commander-in-Chief & Secretary of State as the Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Margaret Brennan joined CBS News in 2012 and was based in Washington, D.C. She began by covering the State Department. As laid out in her CBS News bio, stories she reported on included President Obama’s efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba; conflict in Ukraine, which included Russian military intervention; and the nuclear deal with Iran. She was one of the first journalists to speak with then-Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the Foreign Minister of Iran, about the deal.
Brennan has extensively covered both the Obama and Trump administrations as a White House correspondent. In 2017, the network added a title: Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent. Brennan has traveled around the world with the presidents and secretaries of state; she has reported from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2013, Brennan landed the very first American television interview with then-president of South Korea Park Geun-hye.
As a correspondent, Brennan was a frequent guest on Face the Nation over the years. She filled in as the moderator when John Dickerson was named as the new co-host of CBS This Morning. The network ultimately decided to name her as the permanent moderator. Brennan took over that role in February of 2018.
Embedded above is an interview she conducted with Vice President Pence in September of 2018 (one day before giving birth to her son). The interview took place shortly after an anonymous op-ed, allegedly written by a senior staff member in the Trump administration, was published by the New York Times.
2. Brennan is a Connecticut Native, Competed in Irish Step Dancing as a Child & Studied Abroad in Jordan During College
Margaret Brennan was born March 26, 1980. She was raised in Sag Harbor, a fact she proudly displays on her Twitter bio. She graduated high school from Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich. According to Business Insider, Brennan paid homage to her family’s Irish roots by competing in step dancing.
Her father, Edward, worked on Wall Street at Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Her mother, Jane, taught art history. Brennan also has two siblings, Catherine and James.
Brennan earned a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies from the University of Virginia. She also obtained a minor in Arabic, even studying the language in the Middle East. She studied abroad for a semester in 2000, at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. The Business Insider article referenced above explains that after studying abroad, Brennan interned at CNN, where she used her Arabic skills to help translate videos from Osama bin Laden prior to the September 11th terror attacks. Brennan graduated college with high distinction in 2002.
3. Margaret Brennan Began Her Professional Career Focused on Financial News
Margaret Brennan’s first job after graduating from college was at CNBC in New York City. She started as a researcher for the program “Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser” and moved her way up to producer.
Brennan became an on-air general assignment reporter for the network in 2003. From 2005 through 2009, she also contributed to MSNBC, the Nightly News and the TODAY show.
Brennan moved to Bloomberg TV in July of 2009, where she anchored her own show called “InBusiness with Margaret Brennan.” The weekday business program covered finance, economic and consumer news. The job was based in New York City. She was with Bloomberg until 2012, when she was hired by CBS News and moved to Washington, D.C.
4. Margaret Brennan Met her Future Husband During College; They Reconnected After They Both Moved to Washington, D.C. & Began Dating in 2013
Margaret Brennan met her future husband, Ali Iyad Yakub, during her freshman year at the University of Virginia. But she did not like him very much at the beginning! He told the Washington Post in 2015, “I thought she was too conservative, too preppy, too ‘New England.’She thought I was a bit wild and partied a bit much.” He was a senior when she was a freshman and they went their separate ways.
But Brennan ended up becoming close friends with Yakub’s sister, Samia. They were roommates while studying abroad in Jordan. The Yakub family was originally from Syria, and Brennan traveled with Samia to Damascus to visit Samia’s grandmother.
Fast forward to 2012. Brennan moved from New York City to Washington D.C., She reconnected with Samia, who had also moved to the nation’s capital and told Brennan that her brother had as well. Brennan shared with the New York Times that she had been surprised to learn that Yakub had become a lawyer and a Marine after graduating from college. But she did not reach out to him, and Samia did not play matchmaker.
Instead, Brennan and Yakub met again completely by chance! They ran into each other on the street in early 2013; he was waiting for a bus and Brennan was walking her dog. He invited her to a party, and after slowly getting to know each other, became a couple by that summer.
They tied the knot in April of 2015 at the Decatur House in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was officiated by a Catholic priest.
5. Margaret Brennan Announced She Was Pregnant During an Appearance on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Margaret Brennan chose a major venue to announce to the world that she and her husband were expecting their first child. She appeared on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert on May 1, 2018. She revealed the news at the end of the interview, and Colbert presented her with a Late Show onesie.
Brennan worked all the way through her pregnancy. She even hosted Face the Nation on her scheduled due date in early September, and interviewed Vice President Pence one day before her son was born! Eamon Brennan Yakub arrived on September 11, 2018, at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Brennan returned from maternity leave two months later. She posted a photo on Instagram that day showing her Face the Nation coffee mug beside a baby bottle.