Chris Matthews announced on air during Monday night’s “Hardball” on MSNBC that he was stepping down from the show after hosting it since 1997. The decision stemmed from accusations that he made inappropriate comments to a female guest several years ago. He had also recently compared Bernie Sanders’ campaign to Nazi’s invading France.
USA Today wrote about what went on behind-the-scenes during the show, which was very emotional for Matthews’ family.
“After the announcement, there was little conversation as a producer walked the first three guests of the night to the door to enter the set. She opened and then closed it quickly and said Matthews was gathered with his family.
“The guests included USA TODAY health policy reporter Jayne O’Donnell, Lemire and public health professor Lawrence Gostin.
:Matthews’ grown children were crying with other family members as he came over to greet Lemire and O’Donnell. Matthews said he couldn’t comment beyond the statement the network signed off on, but he said he did write it.”
Matthews addressed the reasons for leaving during an opening monologue.
“Let me start with my headline tonight. I’m retiring. This the last Hardball on MSNBC and obviously, this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said at the top of the show on Monday night.
He continued, “As you can tell, I’ve loved every minute of my 20 years as the host of Hardball. Every morning, I read the papers, and I’m gung ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege. I love working with my producers, and the discussions we have over how to report the news, and I love having this connection with you, the good people who watch.”
“I’ve learned who you are, bumping into you on the sidewalk, or waiting in an airport and saying hello; you’re like me. I hear it from your kids and grandchildren who say, ‘my dad loves you, or my grandmother loves you, or my husband watched it till the end,” he went on.
“After conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last Hardball, so let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in the media, and fighting for their 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 okay, were never okay. Not then, and certainly not today, and for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry,” Matthews concluded