After covering the Supreme Court and Justice Department for 29 years, Pete Williams is set to retire from NBC News this Friday. But before his last studio hit, the company held a sendoff party for him on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
The well-attended soiree featured over 100 journalists, lawmakers and administration officials—and was hosted by NBC News’ Lester Holt, Andrea Mitchell and Washington bureau chief Ken Strickland.
During the event, Mitchell and Holt each offered a tribute to Williams, with Holt saying, “Anyone who has done live breaking television knows that scary moment of being out there, you’ve got two lines about a breaking story, you’re being told to keep it going, keep it going. And there was nothing better than when you would hear in your ear, ‘Pete’s getting wired up’ or ‘Pete is in the chair.’”
Williams told the crowd, “It’s been such a privilege and a pleasure to work with these great people at NBC News, who care about the work and care about each other. And that’s just such an unusual combination.”
Among those present included NBC Newsers like Janelle Rodriguez, Kristen Welker, Peter Alexander, Yamiche Alcindor and Meghan Rafferty.
Other journos seen at the event included Sam Feist from CNN, Matt Miller from Bloomberg, Jeremy Peters from the New York Times, Steven Portnoy from CBS News and former MSNBC Washington vp and political director Tammy Haddad.
Current and former government officials and politicians who attended the farewell included U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Hon. Chuck Rosenberg, Michael LaRosa and Neal Katyal.
The event featured jazz pianist—and Williams’ pal—Konrad Paszkudzki, who played an array of jazz standards throughout the evening. Paszkudzki also played a piano rendition of composer John Williams’ “The Mission,” best known as the soundtrack for NBC’s flagship news programs, including Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News.
Earlier in the day, Strickland held a champagne toast for Williams with the network’s Washington correspondents, reporters and producers.
Williams, who has been with NBC News for nearly three decades, has been at the forefront of many breaking news stories coming out of D.C. Earlier this year, he broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer was going to retire.
In a note to staff announcing Williams’ retirement earlier this year, NBC News President, Noah Oppenheim, said Williams is “quite simply one of the most respected, trusted and steadfast names in news.” He added that “his career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.”