MSNBC’s Brian Williams was trending on Twitter early Friday after he used the word “beautiful” to describe images and videos of the U.S. military airstrike on Syria.
“We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two US Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams told his viewers on “The 11th Hour.”
“I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons,'” he added. “They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield.”
Williams was quoting Cohen’s 1987 song “First We Take Manhattan,” which the singer had described as a response to terrorism in 1988.
People were quick to comment on Williams’ remarks, calling him a “jacka—” and “effing d—–bag.”
“MSNBC Brian Williams called the missile launch “Beautiful”. People are dead. This ain’t 4th of July Jacka–!!” tweeted one user.
“Jesus Christ — Brian Williams: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons” – You can support airstrike without glamorizing it,” tweeted another.
Williams made his return to cable news in September 2015 after a six-month suspension over fabrications he perpetuated about his reporting experience during the Iraq War. The former host of “NBC Nightly News” has been toiling at MSNBC’s breaking news desk ever since.
According to U.S. officials, up to 50 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Porter and the USS Ross, against a Syrian Air Force base in response to devastating chemical attacks against the country’s civilians that have been attributed to Syrian President Basjar Assad.
The missiles targeted an air base near the central Syrian village of Shayrat.
Representatives for Williams declined to comment.
See reactions below and watch the video above.
Brian Williams just now:
"Wow, the beauty of our military weapons. What a sight."@MalcolmNance "Not beautiful for the victims, Brian."
— McBlondeLand (@McBlondeLand) April 7, 2017
Jesus Christ — Brian Williams: "I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons" – You can support airstrike without glamorizing it. https://t.co/77tefLFt9g
— Yashar (@yashar) April 7, 2017
— Edward Ursino (@VegasMrEd) April 7, 2017
I kind of feel like perhaps this is not what Leonard Cohen meant https://t.co/dP5vC0fSDG
— Vincent Bevins (@Vinncent) April 7, 2017
Brian Williams on MSNBC: "I mean this with all due respect: The sales department at the Pentagon… is very effective." https://t.co/NzFA8EF5ec
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 7, 2017
Thank you to Brian Williams and MSNBC for missile-splaining right now. I had been uninformed on the purpose and effect of a missile.
— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) April 7, 2017
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) April 7, 2017
Brian Williams just quoted a Leonard Cohen song "I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons" w/ footage of Tomahawk missiles. Wow. #Syriahoax
— Momo_Pnano (@MichaelPnano) April 7, 2017
— BlackCatzMatter (@KissThePaw) April 7, 2017
— Craig Gordon (@NowAgePress) April 7, 2017
silver lining in all this nightmare crap is brian williams, who still has a job for some reason, completely misinterpreting leonard cohen
— XANDER (@XEECEEVEVO) April 7, 2017
— Quinonostante (@Quinonostante) April 7, 2017
Why is #lyingBrian still on the air?:
— Anita Finlay (@AnitaFinlay) April 7, 2017
Goddammit Brian Williams, you do not quote Leonard Cohen to talk about the beauty of Tomahawk missiles flying off
— Eric Kim (@inkskratch) April 7, 2017