‘Today’ Anchors Give Pete Williams Emotional Sendoff: ‘The Gold Standard’

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The NBC News team at “Today” gave its justice correspondent Pete Williams an emotional sendoff into retirement Friday.

In a tribute video, the anchors praised the veteran of the field, who is stepping away after nearly 30 years, as “legendary” and “absolutely the gold standard.”

“We all look up to him,” co-anchor and NBC News chief legal correspondent Savannah Guthrie said. “And when Pete is covering a story, we all hang on his every word.”

Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” added, “Nobody could explain it better, earlier, or faster.”

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“There will never be anyone quite like Pete Williams,” anchor Lester Holt of “NBC Nightly News” said.

Throughout his near three-decade tenure, Williams was the TV news network’s point person on some of the biggest national stories, including 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings and, most recently, the Supreme Court overruling of Roe v. Wade.

Described as “legendary,” “generous” and “unflappable,” the journalist, who is 70, is known for his precision, being the sole person to accurately report that the Affordable Care Act had been upheld by the Supreme Court as other outlets said otherwise. In 2000, he also reported on the Gore v. Bush recount. Williams was also known for breaking numerous scoops, including the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in late January.

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“I’m just so proud to have been part of his organization,” Williams said during his toast. “I grew up watching David Brinkley and Chet Huntley back when I was growing up in Wyoming, and the thought of being part of this organization for 29 years is just a dream come true. And I’m just so proud.”

Williams got his start as a writer and news director before becoming a Pentagon spokesperson under Dick Cheney. He then left politics and returned to reporting when he began at NBC.

Williams’ retirement was announced in May with NBC News president Noah Oppenheim writing, “Pete’s reporting has always been ironclad, and his ability to break down the the most complex and fast-developing situations is uncanny. His decency, kindness and generosity are unmatched.”

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