Fox News hosts have been at a loss for words over their now former colleague Shepard Smith’s departure from the network.
In clips from various Fox News shows broadcast on Friday — the day Smith announced he was immediately stepping down as an anchor — on-air hosts and correspondents Neil Cavuto and John Roberts both expressed shock after the news dropped.
Neil Cavuto and John Roberts clearly blind-sided by Shep Smith departure pic.twitter.com/36ijhC8th6
— Nicole Lafond (@Nicole_Lafond) October 11, 2019
“Like you, I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken. I don’t know what to say,” Cavuto said on-air. “Shepard Smith, as I just said a few days ago on this very network, a decent human being, a heart as big as Texas.”
“A better newsman you probably cannot find. Again, a bigger, more emotionally connected to humankind, you cannot find,” Cavuto continued. “So Shepard, I don’t know what the heck you’re planning to do or where you go, but I just know you’ll be great at doing it and you deserve the best that life has to offer. I’m sorry if I’m a little shell-shocked here, but I’m gonna miss my buddy.”
As he cut to John Roberts, Fox News’ White House correspondent, for a segment on trade talks between the U.S. and China, Roberts, too, said he was surprised by Smith’s announcement.
“I’ve just been trying to compile my thoughts too, Neil,” Roberts said. “I walked out here to do the hit and suddenly got hit by a subway train. Holy mackerel.”
Throughout the day, Smith’s colleagues wrote to commend the news anchor and send him well wishes.
“Hard to imagine life here at 1211 [Avenue of the Americas] without Shep,” Martha MacCallum, Fox News anchor, tweeted. “He is a friend to us all, a highly talented newsman, whose coverage all these years here is a great legacy. I’ll miss you, Shep and wish you all the best.”
Roberts also tweeted shortly after, “He was part of the glue that held Fox together. He is a supreme pro who made us all better.”
“I’ve always said there is nobody better at breaking news than Shep Smith,” Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has publicly clashed with Smith before, tweeted. “He has always done great things and I know he will continue to do so. Looking forward to seeing Shep crush it in whatever he does next.”
Added Brit Hume, “Shep Smith has been there from the beginning and was the most talented breaking news anchor I ever saw. Fox News Channel will not be the same without him.”