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Brian Williams: MSNBC coverage of Pope Francis marks return to anchor desk

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Former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams led MSNBC’s coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. Tuesday, marking his first return to an anchor desk since being dismissed from Nightly News earlier this year.

Williams began the broadcast with “And good day, I’m Brian Williams at MSNBC headquarters in New York,” but made no other mention of his return. After a brief introduction of the Pope’s impending arrival to Washington, D.C., Williams passed the coverage to correspondant Chris Jansing. “This does have the feeling of a momentous occasion,” she said, though referring to the Pope’s arrival. 

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Williams was the Nightly News anchor for 10 years before he lost his post following the revelation that he had fabricated stories about his experience in Iraq in 2003 while traveling with American troops. He originally claimed that the helicopter he was flying in was forced down after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, but crew members refuted the story. After an internal investigation, Williams was suspended for six months, after which the network announced that he would not be returning to NBC

This is Pope Francis’ first trip to the U.S., where he’ll meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday. He will continue with visits to New York City and Philadelphia later this week. 

Williams recently walked his daughter, Allison, down the aisle for her wedding to Ricky Van Veen. Tom Hanks officiated the wedding and guests included Lena Dunham, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen, and Seth Meyers.

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