Katie Couric on withholding full anthem quote from Ruth Bader Ginsburg interview: ‘I should have included it’

Former TODAY co-anchor Katie Couric is opening up about omitting some comments made by late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about kneeling during the national anthem in an interview Couric conducted with Ginsburg before her death.

It's a matter she addressed in her new memoir, "Going There."

"Ultimately, I think I should have included it," she told Savannah Guthrie Tuesday on TODAY. "But I also think it's really important to look at what I did include. She had to make a statement afterwards saying her comments were harsh and dismissive."

Couric writes in her memoir that she edited out parts of a 2016 interview for Yahoo News with the justice because Couric wanted “wanted to protect” her. Couric had questioned Ginsburg on NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, which eventually led to a bigger movement among players in the league.

"I think what people don’t realize is, we make editorial decisions like that all the time, and I chose to talk about this and put it in the book for a discussion," Couric said on TODAY.

"I mentioned that it was a conundrum that I asked Justice Ginsburg about Colin Kaepernick and taking a knee and how she felt about that. And I did include the fact that she said it was dumb and disrespectful, it was stupid and arrogant and quite a bit of what she said. There was another line that I thought was — I wasn’t sure what she meant exactly, and I thought it was subject to interpretation."

Couric added that she does have regrets about not pushing Ginsburg on the subject.

"What I wish I had done is asked a follow up to clarify, or just run it and let her clarify it later, but I think the most pertinent and direct response to the question about Colin Kaepernick I included, and that’s why I raised it because maybe I should have done the other sentence, as well."

Couric and Savannah talked about journalism and Couric's struggles with the death of first husband Jay Monahan in an interview on TODAY Tuesday. (Nathan Congleton / TODAY)
Couric and Savannah talked about journalism and Couric's struggles with the death of first husband Jay Monahan in an interview on TODAY Tuesday. (Nathan Congleton / TODAY)

Couric, 64, covers a wide swath of subject matter in her book, also opening up about how she coped with her first husband, Jay Monahan, dying in 1998 from colon cancer.

"I lived this out in a very public way, but I was really private because I felt like it was not my story to tell. Back then, this was happening to Jay, not me, as my dad reminded me in the hospital," she told Savannah.

"It was heartbreaking. I hope this those chapters will help people deal with terminal illness and loss. I have a lot of regrets. Jay and I never really talked about the fact that he could die. I was terrified to give up hope."

Couric also shed some light on where she stands with former co-anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired from TODAY in 2017 for inappropriate sexual conduct, saying that they have “no relationship.”

“As I got more information and learned what was going on behind the scenes, it was really upsetting and disturbing,” she told Savannah. “It was really devastating, but also disgusting.

“I think what I realized is that there was a side of Matt I never really knew, and I tried to understand why he behaved the way he he did, and why he was so reckless and callous, and honestly abusive to other women.”