Robert Costa (born October 14, 1985) is an American journalist. He is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and the former moderator of Washington Week on PBS.
Education and early life
Costa was born October 14, 1985, in Richmond, Virginia, the son of attorneys Thomas E. Costa and Anne-Dillon D. Costa. His father worked as an attorney for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has three siblings.He grew up in Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he attended Pennsbury High School and graduated in 2004. While Costa was at Pennsbury, Sports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger profiled him in the book Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School. He was also friends with actor Zach Woods and journalist Hallie Jackson, two fellow Pennsbury students.Costa gained notice during high school for bringing rock musicians such as John Mayer, Eve 6, and Maroon 5 to perform at the school. He also reported for The Bucks County Courier Times, interviewing bands and reviewing concerts in the Philadelphia area, and covered professional and local sports for PHS-TV, the student television station.He earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and a master's degree in politics from the University of Cambridge in 2009. During his time at Notre Dame, Costa held internships at PBS' Charlie Rose, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. On campus, he hosted and produced an interview program for ND-TV called Office Hours.
At Cambridge, Costa was an active member of The Cambridge Union debating society and focused his research on Winston Churchill and United Kingdom–United States relations. His adviser was Andrew Gamble, a British academic and author.
Costa was on the board of trustees at Notre Dame from 2014 to 2017 and currently serves on the advisory council for the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs.
Costa was a Robert L. Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, he was hired as a reporter by the conservative magazine National Review. In December 2012, he was promoted to the position of Washington editor for National Review. While at National Review, Costa was a contributor for CNBC, appearing on The Kudlow Report, and for MSNBC.In 2013, during the United States federal government shutdown, Costa's reporting on the Republican party in Congress was widely praised. The New Republic called him "the most important reporter in the country over the past few weeks" and Slate writer David Weigel called him "omnipresent." New York magazine called him "the golden boy of the government shutdown."Costa has not identified his political views publicly, saying only that he's not on the "conservative team." He has cited Robert Caro and Tim Russert as influences.
In November 2013, he left National Review and was hired by The Washington Post, joining the paper officially in January 2014. Newsbusters, a media watchdog website for the conservative organization Media Research Center, said that it was "perhaps the first time in decades that a top-tier 'mainstream' news outlet has hired away a reporter from a right-leaning publication."On December 10, 2015, Costa was named a political analyst for both NBC and MSNBC. Costa is known for his deep sourcing within national political circles. He has interviewed President Donald Trump on multiple occasions. Politico has called him the "Trump whisperer."In March 2016, Costa interviewed Trump with Bob Woodward, who has been a mentor to him. Costa served as guest host of PBS' Charlie Rose in March 2017.
In April 2017, Costa was announced as the permanent moderator of the long-running Washington Week newsmagazine program on PBS, following the death of long-running moderator Gwen Ifill, of cancer. Costa frequently hosted top mainstream news reporters on the program. "I've always worked to be highly disciplined in my reporting. ... to be sensitive to constant objectivity," Costa told the Associated Press in 2017. On January 1, 2021, Costa hosted his last episode of the Washington Week program on PBS. He left the television program to write a book with Bob Woodward. The book, entitled Peril, will be released in September 2021.
Appearances on C-SPAN