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Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews Abruptly Leaves MSNBC

Gettyimages | Ethan Miller
By Sharon Oliver

Chris Matthews, longtime host of MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews,’ shocked viewers on Monday evening with the announcement that he was retiring effectively immediately. And immediate it was as Matthews, 74, made the comment at the beginning of his show’s time slot and never returned.

NBC correspondent, Steve Kornacki, who had been hosting the previous hour and thought his time was up, was clearly taken aback as Matthews clearly and abruptly handed over the hour in less than two minutes after making his announcement. An obviously shaken Kornacki managed to work through the extra hour, even sharing a few words of praise for his former colleague.

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Matthews’ Opening Statement

chris matthews
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The veteran anchor began with, “Let me start with my headline tonight: I’m retiring.” He added: “After conversations with MSNBC, I’ve decided tonight will be my last ‘Hardball.’ Let me tell you why: The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins.”

Matthews also acknowledged controversial statements he’s made towards women. “For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry,” he said. He made clear that his departure had nothing to do with lack of interest in politics: "This is the last ‘Hardball’ at MSNBC and obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I’ve loved every minute of my 20 years as host of ‘Hardball.’"

Career History

chris matthews
Gettyimages | Frederick M. Brown

Before his start in television, the Philadelphia native was a newspaper columnist, a U.S. Capitol police officer, speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter and chief of staff to Speaker of the House, Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill. A successful author, Matthews also tried running for office himself in 1974 for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. He received less than a quarter of the vote in the primary.

The political history buff worked in journalism for 15 years, serving as the Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner. ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ premiered in 1997.

Laura Bassett

chris matthews
Gettyimages | Teresa Kroeger

Last Friday, allegations surfaced when journalist Laura Bassett revealed in a GQ column that Chris Matthews made her feel uncomfortable after he “inappropriately flirted with her in the makeup room” moments ahead of her 2016 appearance on his show. Bassett, who covers politics, gender and culture, wrote: "Right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, 'Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?'"

She continued: "When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. 'Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.'"

Absence and Controversy of Late

chris matthews
Wikimedia |

Over the years, Matthews had been widely criticized for talking so much, his guests couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Recently, he roiled supporters of Bernie Sanders by comparing Sanders’s Nevada victory to the Nazi invasion of France. The remark initiated a call from nearly 19,000 Bernie Supporters demanding his suspension.

Normally present at the network for important political events, Chris Matthews was noticeable absent from Saturday’s coverage of the South Carolina Democratic primary, sparking rumors that something must be afoot.

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