Brian Williams said the “darkness” overtaking the country has left it “unrecognizable.” The longtime newsman finished his final broadcast on MSNBC Thursday with a warning about America’s future.
The 62-year-old journalist ended his 28-year career with NBC News Thursday night with a final emotional signoff. The award-winning anchor has hosted The 11th Hour since 2016. He helmed the NBC Nightly News from 2004 until 2015.
Brian Williams rarely used his pulpit to advocate for a policy or position. But he took time out of his farewell to sound the alarm at what he believes is an existential crisis for the country. He said American is becoming “a nation unrecognizable to those who came before us and fought to protect it — which is what you must do now.”
The truth is I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m an institutionalist. I believe in this place and my love of country I yield to no one. But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar, and the bowling alley, at the school board, in the grocery store. And it must be acknowledged and answered for.
Grown men and women who swore an oath to our Constitution — elected by their constituents [and] possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of — have decided to join the mob and become something they are not while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They’ve decided to burn it all down with us inside. That should scare you to no end.
He didn’t mention any politicians by name.
Brian Williams Doubts He’ll Be Gone For Long
Brian Williams announced he was leaving The 11th Hour a month ago. In a note to his colleagues, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He told his audience that he plans to “experiment with relaxation” for a time but doubts it will last very long.
“I will probably find it impossible to be silent and stay away from you (the viewer) and lights and cameras,” he said. “After I experiment with relaxation and find out what I’ve missed and what’s out there.”
Brian Williams has been a stalwart at the network since joining MSNBC in 1996. He succeeded Tom Brokaw as NBC Nightly News host and managing editor in 2004. This will be the first time he’s not been in front of an NBC camera since 2015.
That’s when the network suspended him for six months after an internal investigation determined he’d embellished a story he often told about his time reporting in Iraq in 2003. Lester Holt took over as NBC Nightly News host following Williams’ suspension.
In his farewell, Williams thanked his colleagues for their years together and promised viewers that he’d “pop up again.”
“I’ll show myself out until we meet again,” he said. “That is our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you for being here with us. And for all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, goodnight.”