Mika Brzezinski: 'As a woman I loved working with Chris Matthews'

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika BrzezinskiMika Emilie BrzezinskiEx-NBC anchor Kasie Hunt to join CNN Biden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland Kasie Hunt headed to CNN after NBC departure: report MORE spoke out about the abrupt retirement of her long-time MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews this week.

"I'm sad; Chris's passion and joy was infectious ... and it was backed up by a political gut that was unmatched in our world," Brzezinski said on her show Tuesday morning.

"As a woman, I loved working with Chris Matthews; I really enjoyed being his colleague," she added.

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Continuing, Brzezinski said that she realized the importance of "cancel culture," saying that the changes caused by the movement were "painful" but "necessary."

"I remain his friend," she said.

Matthews, who had been the host of "Hardball" on the network for 20 years, announced at the beginning of his show Monday that it would be his last show.

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"I’m retiring. This is the last 'Hardball' on MSNBC, and obviously this isn't for lack of interest in politics," the 74-year-old said. "As you can tell, I've loved every minute of my 20 years as host of 'Hardball.' Every morning, I read the papers and I'm gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege." 

Over the past month, Matthews received significant flak for likening Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats Democrats say they're committed to reducing emissions in Biden plan MORE’s (I-Vt.) decisive win in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, drawing immense criticism from those who noted Sanders is Jewish and many of his family members were killed in the Holocaust.

He also received criticism for an interview with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program MORE (D-Mass.), in which he dismissed what she had said about former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's record of using non-disclosure agreements.

The interview with Warren prompted GQ columnist Laura Bassett to resurface allegations of "inappropriate" behavior against Matthews.

"In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, 'Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet,'" Bassett wrote in a GQ piece that was published Friday.

"When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. 'Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.'"

Matthews also made headlines last week when he confused South Carolina Democratic senate candidate Jaime Harrison with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), both of whom are black.