Brian Williams says biggest worry is ‘for my country’ in final signoff for MSNBC

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FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2010 file photo, Brian Williams, then anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” speaks at the Women’s Conference in Long Beach, Calif. A threat of violence against Los Angeles schools brought Williams back on-air for NBC News. In his first appearance since losing his anchor job, Williams handled a NBC News special report Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, on the closure of LA public schools. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

(The Hill) – MSNBC host Brian Williams delivered a somber signoff during his final show for the network, stating that his biggest worry is “for my country.”

“After 28 years of peacock logos on much of what I own, it is my choice now to jump without a net into the great unknown. As I do for the first time in my 62 years, my biggest worry is for my country,” Williams said during his 11 p.m. show, “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.”

“The truth is I’m not a liberal or a conservative. I’m an institutionalist. I believe in this place and in my love of country, I yield to no one.”

Williams said, however, that the “darkness on the edge of town” had spread across neighborhoods and communities, appearing now “at the local bar and the bowling alley, at the school board and 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, 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,” Williams continued, without pointing to any leaders or lawmakers specifically.  

“They’ve decided to burn it all down with us inside. That should scare you to no end as much as it scares an aging volunteer fireman,” he added.

Williams remarks come as the nation edges closer to the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and amid continued, stark political division in America. Lawmakers and officials scrambled for safety that day as supporters of former President Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s 2020 presidential win.

That violent day has driven a further partisan wedge between Democrats and Republicans, however the events and the subsequent efforts to probe the insurrection have driven a wedge within the GOP as well. 

Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) have faced political backlash in their decision to serve on the House Jan. 6 select committee.

Cheney, who has been a vocal critic of the former president, was also ousted as GOP conference chair and replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) earlier this year for refuting Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was “stolen.” 

Williams, who started at NBC News in 1993, has served in numerous roles with the network, including as the chief White House correspondent, anchor and managing editor of “The News with Brian Williams,” the anchor for “Nightly News” and later as the anchor for his last show, “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.”

The longtime NBC News journalist has been considered an iconic presence at the network, though his career there has been mired in controversy, too, including one time when he allegedly embellished a story in 2015 regarding an experience in Iraq. He later apologized to viewers and was suspended for six months.

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