It was an emotional moment for Chris Matthews and his family Monday as the longtime MSNBC host announced his immediate retirement from the long-running news show Hardball following allegations made by journalist Laura Bassett last week in GQ Magazine that he had "inappropriately" flirted with her and made her uncomfortable.
"The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins," Matthews said Monday after announcing his immediate retirement. "We've seen them in politics, in the media and fighting for the causes. They're improving the workplace. We're talking here about better standards than we grew up with. Fair standards. A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman's appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."
From backstage, USA Today health policy reporter Jayne O'Donnell reported that the announcement was met with tears from Matthews' grown children and other family members, while Matthews himself said he couldn't comment beyond the statement the network signed off on, but did write it himself.
Morning Joe' Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski had an emotional response to their former colleague's retirement announcement, reflecting on the surprise during Tuesday's episode of their show
"All too human?" Scarborough asked. "Yeah, I guess so but those of us still playing or reporting on the hardball of politics could stand a bit more of this humanity these days. Even if it sometimes reveals our flaw, exposes our weaknesses and, yes, even shows our blind spots. Chris gave us his all every night and that's why were were wiping tears from our eyes last night and why we're going to miss him terribly tonight and every night when 7 o'clock rolls around. Thank you Chris for all you've done…"
Brzezinski added, "As a woman I want to say this — I loved working with Chris Matthews. I really enjoyed being his colleague. I understand the important changes around this so-called cancel culture – they're important, they're hard, they're painful and in many cases they are necessary."
"I do wonder at this point though, as we move forward and we look at this and what happened here, if there might be a better way for all of us in the future where we work through this and get to a better place," she continued. "But for now I'll just say I'll miss him every night at 7 p.m., but I remain his friend."
Photo credit: Paul Warner/Getty Images