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Willie Geist Says Matt Lauer Is ‘as Good as He Can Be’ After ‘Today’ Show Firing

Willie Geist and Matt Lauer attend The Robin Hood Foundation’s 2015 Benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 12, 2015 in New York City. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Willie Geist opened up about his friendship with former Today show coworker Matt Lauer and said the pair still keep in contact.

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“I’ve texted with him just on a personal level,” Geist told ET on Tuesday, January 9, at the National Board of Review Awards. “It was his birthday the other day, his 60th birthday.”

Lauer, whose birthday is December 30, was fired from NBC amid sexual harassment allegations made against him in late November. Geist, 42, said that Lauer is “as good as he can be” following his termination. “He’s sort of reconnecting with his family and figuring everything out,” the Morning Joe host added.

Following Lauer’s exit from the show, the network revealed Hoda Kotb would be Savannah Guthrie’s new coanchor on the show. The longtime colleagues made the announcement live on air on Tuesday, January 2. Geist, who is the anchor of Sunday Today, said that he was happy for his Kotb.

“They’re both my honest-to-goodness friends. I’m so happy for Hoda,” he said at the event, which he hosted. “They’re kickin’ butt. They won the week again last week. I think they’ve won every week since they’ve started. You can’t not be happy for Hoda. She’s such a genuine, loving, feeling, energetic person. She deserves it, and it’s good for everybody.”

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While rumors circulated about who would take Lauer’s place as anchor of the morning show, the Good Talk, Dad author said he’s happy with his current roles.

“I do my Sunday Today show. I do Morning Joe, which I love, during the week, so I get into the politics of it all,” he said. “And I’m there all week this week with the gang, so I’m not too far.”

As previously reported, Guthrie and Kotb announced Lauer’s termination from the company amid sexual harassment allegations made against him on November 28. Lauer also released a statement following the news.

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“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,” he told Us Weekly in a statement at the time. “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.”

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