Speaking at the end of his MSNBC show The 11th Hour, Williams stated, “The truth is I am 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. But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It is 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.”
He went on to say, “Grown men and women, who swore an oath to our Constitution, elected by their constituents, possessing the kind 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.”
Williams also took the time to thank his co-workers, stating, “everyone I’ve worked with has made me better at what I do,” and his guests, “It’s always been about you,” he said, “otherwise I’d be staring into the camera for an hour for five nights a week, and nobody wants to see that.” He also thanked the viewers, saying, “without you, there is no us.”
The long-serving news anchor announced he was exiting the network last month, revealing that he would not be renewing his contract once it expired at the end of the year.
“This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another”, Williams said at the time. “There are many things I want to do and I’ll pop up again somewhere. For the next few months, I’ll be with my family, the people I love most, the people who enable my career to happen. I will reflect on the kindness people have shown me and I will pay it forward.”
Williams’ successor has yet to be named, with MSNBC announcing that a rotating line-up of hosts will fill the slot in the meantime.