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Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager deliver fiery response to NFL kicker’s graduation speech about women’s roles

“Don’t speak for us. Stop speaking for women out there.”

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager had a lot of thoughts about the commencement speech given by Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker at Benedictine College this weekend.

In the 20-minute speech, delivered on May 11 at the Catholic college’s campus in Atchison, Kansas, the NFL kicker spoke on a range of topics, including reproductive issues, women’s roles in the home, Pride month and more.

Hoda and Jenna specifically took issue with the section of the speech directed toward women.

"Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world," said Butker to the graduating class, specifically addressing women. "But I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabel would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. I'm on the stage today, and able to be the man I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation."

Hoda said to Jenna: "Everybody was mad about that. What do you think when you heard that?"

"Well, I'm where I am today because I have a husband who leans into his vocation, which is being an equal partner. And I tell him that all the time," said Jenna.

"Don't speak for us," Hoda said. "Stop speaking for women out there."

"We have all these people that try to divide us by labels," Jenna said. "People that stay at home are amazing. The work they do is incredible. And let's not compare one to the other."

"And there are lots of women who actually would like to stay at home, but because they need to earn money, they don't even have that privilege to do it," Hoda added.

"One hundred percent," Jenna said emphatically. "It's an elitist concept to begin with."

Hoda grabbed her phone and opened Maria Shriver's Instagram page to read part of a comment she wrote about the speech.

Shriver, an NBC News special anchor who also happens to be a practicing Catholic, responded in part:

"As a woman who has leaned into my vocation of living a meaningful life and working inside and outside the home — not only to raise good humans, but also raise up our country in various ways— I think it's demeaning to women to imply that their choices outside of wife and motherhood pale into comparison to that of homemaker. It took a revolution to get women to vote, to get women birth control pills, to get women to be able to put their names on a checking account, to get them maternity leave, to get them anything close to pay equity, to get elected to office and to get them where they are today."

"He may be speaking for a lot of people," Hoda said, referring to Butker, "but you can't speak for everyone."

"Women get to decide what they want to do," she added.

"And by the way," Jenna said, "none of the choices are easy, right? Did we learn nothing from America Ferreira's monologue in 'Barbie'? It's so hard to be a woman."

"There are lots of ways to live a 'meaningful life,'" Hoda said. "Lots and lots. Some involve children. Some may not. Some involve being at home. Some may not. Some may involve only volunteering. It doesn't matter."

"Who are we to judge how other people live?" Jenna said.

Then in tandem, both women shouted, "Mama's done!"