Jenna Bush Hager returned to “TODAY” on Thursday following Matt Lauer’s termination amid gross allegations of sexual misconduct, and she got choked up while addressing the scandal that has rocked NBC.

“It was hard watching you all yesterday,” Bush Hager said to co-host Hoda Kotb, who broke the shocking news to viewers alongside Savannah Guthrie the day before. “When I started here, I remember someone saying, ‘NBC, “The Today Show,” is a family.’ And that feels cliché. That feels like something people just say. But that’s true. So, when something rocks your family, it rocks all of us.”

“And that includes a man who was a mentor to many of us,” Bush Hager continued while trying to keep her composure. “And the women who are here, too, who are part of that same family, who have come forward and want to feel listened to and feel safe and respected — and they should, and they do. It was hard not to be here yesterday. It’s hard to be here today. I know many of you feel that same way, because you’ve woken up with this family. I watched this show before I was on it.”

“And I pray, and I know you do too, for mercy for everybody that’s involved in this,” she added.

RELATED: Hoda Kotb gave her unfiltered thoughts on Matt Lauer after his shocking firing from NBC

Kotb also had the opportunity to share her thoughts on her disgraced colleague’s termination on Wednesday when TMZ reporters caught up with her and asked how she felt about the news.

“I love him,” she gave her unfiltered thoughts on Lauer.

On Thursday morning, Lauer himself broke his silence on the accusations in a statement:

There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching, and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.

RELATED: Megyn Kelly has invited former colleague Matt Lauer — and the women who accused him of sexual assault — onto her show

Carlin Becker About the author:
Carlin Becker is an Associate Content Editor at Rare.
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