On the Monday airing of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the longtime MSNBC journalist announced he was leaving his role hosting the show following recent criticism over his coverage of the 2020 election. “This isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” Matthews said. He then said that the parting of ways was mutual, announced plans to write a book, and described the reason for his resignation:
“After a conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight would 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, the media, and fighting for their causes. They are 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 incorrectly thought were OK were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past I’m sorry.”
In recent weeks, Matthews, 74, has faced staunch criticism for comments made about Bernie Sanders’s win in Nevada and for challenging Elizabeth Warren in an interview following the debate in South Carolina. Matthews apologized for comparing, on-air, Sanders’s win to the “fall of France” to Nazi forces in 1940. (Sanders, who is Jewish, had family members who were killed in the Holocaust.) Earlier in the race, Matthews claimed that Sanders supporters would have him “gunned down in Central Park.” In an on-air interview, the way Matthews pressed Warren over an allegation levied at Michael Bloomberg suggested strong bias in favor of the former mayor:
Matthews: You believe he’s lying?
Warren: “I believe the woman”
Matthews: “You believe he’s lying.”
Warren: “Which means he’s not telling the truth.”
Matthews: “Why would he lie? Just to protect himself?”
Warren: “Yeah. Why would she lie?”
Last week, GQ political columnist Laura Bassett detailed an alleged encounter with Matthews in which he commented repeatedly on her appearance before appearing on air: “Make sure you wipe this [makeup] off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this.” The allegation brought attention back to Matthews’s history of alleged sexual harassment.