MSNBC's Brian Williams and Chris Mathews appeared shocked Friday as they grappled with news of the abrupt and unexpected resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has held that position since 2010.
The Ohio congressman entered a press conference Friday morning singing a Disney song, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," and joyfully announced that he will be leaving politics for good later this year. Williams, who has returned recently to anchoring the news months after it was revealed that he had embellished several stories, appeared utterly mystified by the spectacle.
"He entered singing 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' and he exited singing 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' again. Again. The man third in line for the presidency," he said.
"I made some notes as he was speaking, he seemed to say in no particular order, paraphrased, 'Who needs it, I was leaving anyway, why not announce it today, it seemed like a good day ... and 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.' It also may be true that politics as practiced by John Boehner is not the practice of the moment anymore," he added.
The speaker's announcement came one day after Pope Francis delivered the first ever papal address to a joint session of Congress. Boehner, himself a Catholic, has spent more than two decades trying to get a pope to address Congress. On Thursday, that effort finally saw success.
It's likely this achievement, longtime MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews theorized Friday afternoon, that probably prompted Boehner to bow out of politics altogether.
"Why did he announce it the day after the pope left? Because this was his crowning achievement. The House never looked better than it did yesterday, coming in there and no bad feelings. There he is greeting the pope in the ceremonial office," Mathews said.
"I think there was a great sense. I kept thinking in my head, nobody said after the pope spoke yesterday, where's that guy coming from? What do you make of that? There was no attitude against him, even in private. And that was a rare moment of truce on Capitol Hill," he added.
And for this, Matthews said, Boehner has likely married himself to the idea of getting out while he's still ahead.
"I think he's coming out with dignity," the anchor said. "Everybody likes John Boehner."