MSNBC host Chris Matthews steps down after controversy over comments

Host declared Monday night would be the last episode of "Hardball," apologized for comment about women.

Chris Matthews Feb 19, 2020
Chris Matthews Feb 19, 2020
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 2, 2020 - 8:14pm

Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews abruptly stepped down Monday evening, ending his long and colorful tenure with the network after a string of controversies over his comments ranging from women to Bernie Sanders.

Matthews, 74, unexpectedly announced his taping Monday night of his signature show "Hardball" would be his last, suggesting it was time to move aside for a new generation. He also apologized for any inappropriate compliments he had made about women’s appearances.

“The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins,” he declared. “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 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.”

Matthews said he is writing a book and will continue speaking about politics and “cheer on” his MSNBC associates. “Obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics,” he said. “As you can tell I’ve loved every minute of my twenty years as host of Hardball. Every morning I read the papers and am gung-ho to get to work.”

“After conversation with MSNBC I decided tonight will be my last Hardball,” he added.


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The cable host’s announcement comes after he received criticism on several fronts recently, including over comments he made about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win in the Nevada caucuses.

Matthews drew a comparison between the Jewish senator’s victory in Nevada and the Nazi invasion of France during WWII.

"I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940," Matthews said amidst MSNBC's caucus coverage. "And the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, 'It's over.' And Churchill says, 'How can that be? You've got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?' He said, 'It's over.'"

Matthews later issued apologized for those remarks. “I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electorate result in which you were the well-deserved winner,” Matthews said.

NBC News cited an MSNBC spokeswoman in reporting that Matthews "was due to retire in the near future with the events of the past week playing a factor in the timing of the move."