Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/8/15
Date: December 8, 2015
Guest: Rick Tyler, Haider Mullick, Paul Singer, Heidi Przybyla, Rebecca
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Donnybrook!
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
And rarely has the American political establishment, such as it is,
sung in such a chorus as they did today. From left to fairly hard right,
the word was out that this time, Donald Trump has broken his pick (ph).
His call to slam the American door on Muslims, slam it shut, has struck
even the most hardened as un-American.
We Americans don`t ask your religion when we get on a plane or get off
one. We don`t stamp Christian or Jewish or Muslim on our passports. We
don`t even know how to discriminate at our ports of entry.
Today, Donald Trump defended his proposal. Trump said it was
necessary to defend the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What it is, is common
sense. Now, remember this. Until our country`s representatives can figure
out what is going on, Mika, because we don`t know what`s going on.
I would (ph) want to engage the Muslim community, but the Muslim
community has to help us make it. They`re not helping us. The Muslim
community is not reporting what`s going on.
We have people out there that want to do great – they want our
buildings to come down. They want our cities to be crushed. They are
living within our country, and many of them want to come from outside of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re increasingly being compared to Hitler.
Does that give you any pause at all?
TRUMP: No because what I`m doing is no different than what FDR…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump was asked how his policy would even work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Religion doesn`t appear on a passport. Would
there be questioning at the border in Europe before they got to the United
States? Would it happen here in America? How would this work?
TRUMP: It could happen at the site, it could happen here, it could
happen in many different forms, Willie. That would have to be worked out.
And I don`t think it would be for an extended period of time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a Customs agent…
TRUMP: We have to get…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: … ask the person his or her religion? Donald, a
Customs agent would then ask the person his or her religion?
TRUMP: That would be probably – they would say, Are you Muslim?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if they said yes, they would not be allowed in
TRUMP: That`s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Michael Steele is the former chairman of the
Republican National Committee, David Corn`s Washington bureau chief for
“Mother Jones” and Rick Tyler is spokesman for Ted Cruz`s campaign.
Let me ask you all a political question. I know we`re talking about -
- we can talk for hours about the undoability of such a system. because a
Christian Muslim, a Christian Arab, for example (INAUDIBLE) from over the
border, could come to our airports, (INAUDIBLE) Oh, he`s a Muslim, and he
actually is a Christian. There`s a lot of them over there in Lebanon and
other places, friends of mine, in fact, lots of people. So it does
(INAUDIBLE) you look like your national dress or anything about your
appearance or style of clothing. Nothing is going to tell you your
But let`s get to this question. I want to start with Rick Tyler
because I`m curious here. Why`d Trump do this?
RICK TYLER, CRUZ CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, he`s dominated the media
for the last 24 hours. That might be one reason why he did it. He`d have
to answer that question, but he certainly has dominated the media.
MATTHEWS: Well, do you think it has something to do with the fact
that your candidate has moved ahead of him in Iowa? Honest answer here.
Do you think you guys got him to react, rather than act, and do something
that was like pushing the panic button? I got to do something really wild
now because I`m losing Iowa.
TYLER: Look, I can`t answer – I can`t answer that question…
MATTHEWS: Well, guess!
TYLER: … for their campaign. What I can – what I can say – for
their campaign, I cannot. But what I can say is, look, people – people
out here in America – they`re – they`re they`re angry. They don`t
believe the news media. They would – there`s a third of the party that
would – that would – that would find it delicious, very satisfying, to
send Washington Donald Trump because Washington is so broken.
What we`re trying to do in our campaign is show them that there is
still another outsider, Ted Cruz, who`s a better choice. So I can`t answer
the questions for their campaign. I can tell you what we would do, what
we`re doing in our campaign.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Michael on this. Your party – your
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: You`ve had a problem with Hispanics. It`s probably going
to get worse before it gets better. You`ve got a big portion of the
American people, maybe one in six, who are Hispanic, think they`re getting
dissed very badly by your party, by the attitude people like Trump.
Now you`ve got the Muslim community, about 3 million people, not as
large, but significant, may now feel that if Trump is standing at New York,
at Kennedy Airport, when they arrive or they arrive back from a vacation,
he will say, You can`t come through.
STEELE: Well, I don`t know…
MATTHEWS: That`s what he wants to do. He says he wants to do that.
STEELE: I mean, according to what he says, if they`re arriving back
from their vacation, that means they`re already here, probably not the
But this – this is the broader point, I think, Chris, that needs to
be addressed, is where is the conversation going? And what is the party
prepared to do to pull the conversation back?
This is bigger than Trump. You`re talking about a national party that
has now been brought into this focus, into this conversation in a way that
is going to affect everybody come next Tuesday, when they`re standing on
that stage. That will be a defining and telling moment in so many ways for
those candidates, those other 13 candidates or 12 candidates on that stage.
So the reality for the party is a lot bigger than just what Donald
Trump`s words are. It is how they want to wrestle back the conversation
because this has now gotten into a space that is wholly dangerous for the
MATTHEWS: OK, tell me where it jumps from, in terms of qualitative.
And then David, I want you here. Qualitatively. He said he wanted a
database, a database. I don`t know if it`s a registration – that may be
MATTHEWS: He wanted a database of people who are Islamic in this
country. Well, there`s 3 million people are Islamic. They may come here
from all kinds of places, Europe, for example, European people here. I
know some who are Islamic. They come here from there – people not native-
born Americans who are Islamic, people coming here from South Asia, from
Indonesia, from all parts of the world, Pakistan, certainly, India,
certainly, a huge Indian Islamic population.
MATTHEWS: Are all of those people on some kind of database? OK,
that`s bad enough. Now he says you can`t come in. Is this going to be a
matter of principle – OK, this is the line we draw. Republicans are not
for religious discrimination at our ports. We are not going to draw the
line at our airports about religious (sic), we`re not going to allow
religion to be on visas or passports or anything like it. That`s un-
Do you think your party next week – you alluded to it – will say
STEELE: Oh, I hope they do. They better. I mean, I think the
reality for the GOP right now is – you know, we espouse all these values.
Well, guess what, now it`s time to put up or shut up. It`s time to
actually state very clearly to the American people. And we heard that
today from Speaker Ryan and others, but it`s really going to take these
presidential candidates to kind of cleave that space out in a way that
makes it very clear to those voters where we stand as a national party.
DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, let`s not
let our Republican pals wiggle out of this. This is outright bigotry.
Speaker Ryan said he disagrees with Donald Trump on this. He also said
that he`d support him if he was the nominee. So he`d support someone who`s
Ted Cruz, Rick Tyler – you know, I love Rick. We have great debates.
But Ted Cruz said, I disagree with the proposal. He didn`t attack – he
didn`t criticize Donald Trump…
CORN: … for making these remarks. So it`s not just about where you
stand on the proposal. I think Republicans out there, from Michael Steele
and Rick Tyler to the people who Rick and others work for, have to be clear
CORN: … that he is not – that Donald Trump is no longer acceptable
within the Republican Party.
TYLER: Look – look…
MATTHEWS: Is he acceptable?
TYLER: We disagree with the policy. What else do you want us to do?
We disagree with the policy.
CORN: You want to say you disagree with what – with Hitler`s policy?
Do you think he`s unacceptable as a Republican, as a member of the party
for which you are seeking the presidential nomination? Is he unacceptable?
TYLER: That`s – that`s not – that`s – that`s up to the voters.
The voters are going to decide.
CORN: No because Ted Cruz – Ted Cruz wants to lead this nation!
Does he believe talk like this is unacceptable? It`s a fair question!
STEELE: Can I – can I…
MATTHEWS: … respond, Rick, respectfully. Then we`ll get back to
TYLER: No, he – Ted Cruz is not talking like this. He hasn`t
criticized other candidates. There`s no point in joining the chorus of
critics over Donald Trump. There`s enough of those. And that`s happening.
But what we try to do is lay out our own policies and let people
decide on the policies. People are smart enough to decide which policies
they like and which candidates they like. That`s the process we`re going
MATTHEWS: So it`s an 11th commandment as far as you`re concerned.
MATTHEWS: Cruz is still drafting, basically, drafting Trump, right?
That is the strategy, Rick? Ride behind him and hope that he`ll fall and
then you go right past him and replace him. Isn`t that the strategy?
TYLER: If by that – if by that do you mean do we hope to win over
Trump`s voters? Yes. We hope to win over Marco Rubio`s voters. We hope
to win over Mike Huckabee`s voters. We hope to win over everyone`s voters.
MATTHEWS: Do you want the votes of people who want to slam the door
shut on Muslim people? Do you want the votes of people who want to slam
the American door on people because of their religion? Do you want their
votes, those people?
TYLER: You know, I`m not sure that`s what this is, Chris. I think…
MATTHEWS: … answer the question. Just say yes or no.
TYLER: I`m answering the question.
MATTHEWS: Pardon me?
CORN: Last night at Trump`s speech, when he reiterated this proposal,
people in that audience cheered for it. They`re for it! These are the
people that Ted Cruz wants now?
MATTHEWS: … last word from Michael, and then I want to run through
everybody`s comments of all the candidates because everybody spoke on this.
I said up front that this is a donnybrook but everybody seems to be against
Trump on this.
Your thoughts, Michael. It seems like everybody`s against Trump of
STEELE: Just a really clarifying point here. Can we – just so you
understand the space that Donald Trump is occupying and why he`s occupying
it so successfully.
STEELE: In our own poll that was talked about just a couple of hours
ago on this network by our own Steve Kornacki, to the question, is Islam
compatible with the values of America, a national poll, Democrat,
Republican, black, white, conservative, liberal, individuals in this
country – you know what the number was? Fifty-six percent of the American
people agree with that statement, that Islam is not compatible with the
values of America.
So if you want to understand – so I understand where David…
CORN: … exploit that?
STEELE: Let me make my point…
STEELE: Where David wants to go to make a – to score a political
point and say…
CORN: No! Should we – should we…
STEELE: … where are you guys on this, but this is reflective – you
have to ask the question, David, of every American who answered yes in that
CORN: I`d be happy to…
CORN: Leaders are different, Michael. You know that. Leaders have
STEELE: The reasons are the reasons. That`s what motivates this…
STEELE: … these individuals behind the candidates! Understand
MATTHEWS: Before we get any further…
TYLER: By the way…
MATTHEWS: … in interrupting each other, let me just…
TYLER: By the way…
MATTHEWS: We`re interrupting! We`re interrupting! Stop. The
problem is that if you ask a poll question like that, people may respond to
a number of things that aren`t violent. They may not like – they
understand Islam`s attitude towards women, that they have to be quiet, they
have to wear a burqa, that kind of thing – they might not like that.
There are a couple of things they may not like, all the way to beheadings.
It covers a lot of territory…
STEELE: Absolutely, Chris!
MATTHEWS: … short of violence, short of fearing those people you
may disagree with.
Anyway, Donald Trump has faced a flood of criticism from Republicans.
Let`s watch what they all said. Mitt Romney even tweeted, “On Muslims,
Donald Trump fired before aiming.” Party chair Reince Priebus said, “I
don`t agree. We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism,
but not at the expense of our American values.”
And here`s more from Trump`s fellow Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we shouldn`t
do is to just, you know, say, Oh, Muslims aren`t coming into our country.
It`s not about the blowhards out there just saying stuff. That`s not a
program. That`s not a plan. This is serious business. And we shouldn`t,
along the way, do exactly what these radical Islamic terrorists want.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the kind
of thing that people say when they have no experience and don`t know what
they`re talking about. We do not need to resort to that type of activity,
nor should we.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is not
conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands
for, and more importantly, it`s not what this country stands for.
DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think this
whole notion that, somehow, we can just say, No more Muslims, just ban a
whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: A spokesman for former president George W. Bush said,
quote, “President Bush spoke a lot about this during his presidency, and he
won`t be weighing in anew now or commenting on or giving oxygen to anything
of Trump`s bluster.” There`s a key word.
One notable exception to the chorus of Republican criticism of Trump
is Ted Cruz. Now, listen to how he handles it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree with that
proposal. I like Donald Trump. A lot of our friends here have encouraged
me to criticize and attack Donald Trump. I`m not interested in doing so.
But I believe we need a plan that is focused on the direct threat, and
the threat we`re facing is radical Islamic terrorism. Certainly in the
media, there has been no shortage of criticism for Donald Trump. And I do
not believe the world needs my voice added to that chorus of critics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now, the interesting thing for us all here today is that
Trump is now the leader in the Republican Party nationwide by about 10
points. He`s up at 27, with Cruz down at 17, the closest contender.
But here`s the big number. How many people of the Trump people would
like to see him or would support him if he went third party, if he just
went wild and said, You guys haven`t treated me right, I`m going my own
way? And it`s 68 percent. Michael, your party could lose its front-
MATTHEWS: I`ve never seen that happen before. The front-runner
leaves the front and says, I`m going my own way, and 68 percent of his
people say, We`re going with you.
STEELE: And it has been Donald Trump`s ace in the hole from the very
beginning. And you know, people ask, Well, he took the pledge. The pledge
means nothing. Donald Trump is all about the re-negotiation. This isn`t a
one-off. This isn`t, Oh, this is one and done.
This has always been a part of a longer narrative for Donald Trump.
And I`ve said it from the very beginning, when we started this conversation
the day he announced, read his book. If you understand what he`s doing,
understand his book and know – because he`s laid it out. This is no
different than a deal. This is all a deal for him. And he`s negotiating
and re-negotiating as he goes along. The party does not know what to do
MATTHEWS: OK. Does he have a pre-nup with the Republican Party?
STEELE: Oh, it`s a very loose one.
MATTHEWS: … get out of his candidacy, is that the plan? David,
last word here.
MATTHEWS: What do you think`s going on with that threat, basically,
implicit in the fact that he can leave and take a lot of people with him…
CORN: I think…
MATTHEWS: … and kill the Republicans` chances against Hillary
CORN: Sure, and I think he`s proven that the problem the Republicans
have is not with Donald Trump, it`s with his base. It`s with his
supporters, that these people want to hear this stuff…
CORN: … so if he leaves the party, they`ll go flying out with him.
Sorry, Rick. I don`t think a lot of them will stick around with Ted
TYLER: A lot of these people aren`t Republicans. Look, this number
shows a lot of them are not Republicans. And you can see that – in the
Quinnipiac Iowa poll, we led by a wide margin because they asked people who
voted in a Republican caucus before, and the CNN poll, where they didn`t.
TYLER: And you can see by the difference, where Trump led in the CNN
poll, Cruz led in the Quinnipiac poll because they asked the Republicans –
Cruz wins, and they asked a wider group, and then Trump wins. Why?
Because not all these people who are showing up are Republicans. And
MATTHEWS: I agree with that, but I think there are…
MATTHEWS: We all agree there`s a Trump crowd. By the way, Katy Tur
last night, before she was attacked by Trump, said last night that there`s
definitely a bunch of people out there. Most of the people she sees when
she reports are solid for this guy. They ain`t going to change to another
Thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Rick
Tyler. Please keep coming back.
Coming up here – perhaps the most frightening thing about what Trump
is doing is saying – what he`s saying is precisely what ISIS want people
here to say. They want a holy war between radical Islam and the West. And
right now, Trump is giving it to them.
Plus, we have new details on tonight on the San Bernardino attackers,
including their path to radicalization – and here`s the big one – and
that large unexplained $28,000 bank deposit that showed up in their account
right before this thing.
And not everyone on the Republican right is denouncing Donald Trump.
Some very powerful right-wing leaders are far from outraged. They`re
speaking up in Trump`s defense.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the Trump thing myself and my thinking.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Tonight, Donald Trump was questioned about his presidential
campaign by ABC`s Barbara Walters. Let`s take a look at some of what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Are you a bigot?
TRUMP: Not at all, probably the least of anybody you`ve ever met.
TRUMP: Because I`m not. I`m a person that has common sense. I`m a
smart person. I know how to run things. I know how to make America great
again. This is about making America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s Donald Trump tonight with Barbara Walters.
HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Working with the
Muslim community, not driving them away, not vilifying them, not driving
them into the shadows, is absolutely critical to our national security
And Mr. Trump`s proposal is a setback that takes us backward in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson speaking out
against Donald Trump`s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United
Well, the Pentagon today also echoed that criticism, saying that
inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric threatens the national security of our
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Anything that bolsters ISIL`s
narrative and pits the United States against the Muslim faith is certainly,
not only contrary to our values, but contrary to our national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in a “New York Times” op-ed on Friday titled “Don`t
Make San Bernardino a Victory for ISIS,” American Muslim and Naval officer
Haider Mullick explained why Trump`s message plays into the hands of ISIS.
Quote: “The Islamic State is banking on Western societies to alienate
their Muslim populations to increase recruitment. Its false utopia rests
on the warped dream that the estimated three million American Muslims will
believe they can no longer live, thrive, and worship in peace in America.
We must not let that happen, even while we remain vigilant about the few
American Muslims who wish us arm.”
Mullick is one of nearly 6,000 Muslim service members, by the way,
serving in the U.S. military. He`s a professor at the Naval War College
and joins me now.
I`m also joined by NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and NBC
terror analyst Evan Kohlmann of “Flashpoint.”
Thank you, gentleman.
Starting with Haider, just give me a sense of you felt, professionally
and personally as a citizen and as a man serving our country, when you
heard Trump say, we`re going to slam the door on Muslims?
HAIDER MULLICK, NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: Thank you for having me, Chris.
Very disturbing statement that goes against every fiber of my being,
from my allegiance to this country, to the oath of office I have taken to
defend the Constitution of America with my life, to years of work that I
have done with military leaders to win the war against groups like ISIS.
This went against everything. But, more importantly, I was very
afraid that this kind of rhetoric leads to our national security becoming
endangered. We rely heavily on Muslim American communities, going back to
2006, when we had a lot of Somali Americans and the fear that most of them
would be joining Al-Shabaab. FBI came out with a robust outreach program.
Now it`s in all major cities.
The White House and the Department of Justice has recently decided to
expand it. So many attacks were thwarted, deterred, prevented precisely
because of that community outreach. Muslim Americans came out. Now,
remember, we can`t stop every single attack. But if we were to ostracize
this community, millions of Americans, we make, essentially, our law
enforcement blind at a time, frankly, when this threat is very high. We
need to come together.
MATTHEWS: On “MORNING JOE” today, Donald Trump said the Muslim
community has not been helping law enforcement to root out terrorism,
referencing, by the way, particularly the San Bernardino attacks. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Muslim community is not
reporting what`s going on. They should be reporting that their next-door
neighbor is making pipe bombs and they have got them all over the place.
The mother is in the apartment, other people – his friend was buying him
rifles. Nobody was reporting that.
The Muslim community has to help us, because without the Muslim
community, we would have to get very tough and much tougher, and I don`t
want to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But according to a 2012 report by the Muslim Public Affairs
Counsel, Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials to prevent
nearly two out of every five al Qaeda plots threatening the U.S. since
Let me go to Evan on that.
This – a couple things here. It seems to me that ISIS` goal, if they
have a real clear-cut one, is to try to create an East-West war, because
that`s how they`re going to get their caliphate, by bringing down every
modern government in the region. That`s what they want to do, turn East
against West, force everybody in the East to be on their side, everybody in
the West to be perceived as being against them.
EVAN KOHLMANN, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, there`s no question
I mean, look at their propaganda. In their magazines, they have a big
picture that says loyalty among Muslims vs. American racism. And this is
what they`re talking about. Donald Trump is putting American lives at
risk. He`s putting American Muslim lives at risk, because there are plenty
of crazy people out there right now that are surrounding mosques with
assault rifles, which is totally ridiculous and totally uncalled for.
And then he`s also putting American servicemen at risk and American
diplomats at risk. There are lunatics out there, there are foolish people
out there who see this stuff and they associate this with all Americans.
They say, well, if Trump says it, all Americans believe it.
And they don`t have access to Donald Trump. So they want to take out
their aggression on somebody else. You cannot say these things and still
call yourself a friend to American diplomats or the U.S. military. You are
making them into a target, and they are the ones that are going to pay for
It is totally – it is beyond the pale. It is extremely distressing.
If I was the family of a service member, I would be asking myself that
question. Why is Donald Trump putting my family member at risk? And he
MATTHEWS: You think al-Baghdadi over there, somewhere in the
caliphate, such as it is, is enjoying this Trump show?
KOHLMANN: There`s no doubt about it. We watch the communications.
We watch the chatter online. These folks love this stuff. They love to
watch us tear each other apart.
This is – I mean, this is what they always have hoped for. This is
what al Qaeda has been talking about for years, setting up concentration
camps for Muslims, barring Muslims out of this country.
And I got to tell you something. As the son of a Holocaust survivor,
every time I hear him say something about Muslims, I hear the word Jews,
because that`s exactly what this is. This is scapegoating. Anyone who`s
part of an immigrant community, anyone who is descended from immigrants
should not stand for this, should not accept this. This is insulting to
all of us, not just Muslims. It`s insulting to everyone.
MATTHEWS: That sounds like all of us.
Let`s go to Ayman right now, Ayman, your views on this, because I do
think you all have personal experiences, maybe family experiences. And the
whole question of moving from the East to the West and becoming assimilated
and then realize that there`s a guy there at the door saying, we don`t
believe in assimilation, we don`t believe in loyalty to America.
I was sitting on an airplane today with a guy who said, I was born in
Indiana. My parents – he said, I`m a totally – I love this country.
This stuff drives me crazy, this Trump stuff.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
I mean, listen, as an immigrant myself, as the son of immigrants, my
parents made the choice to move to the United States in pursuit of the
American dream, as millions of Muslims do. We know that 63 percent of the
American Muslim community here are immigrants to this country.
They come to this country in pursuit of that better dream and that
pursuit of the American dream and pursuit of a better life. But it`s not
just about what they come with. It`s also what they do when they come to
the United States. They become productive members of this community, of
They serve. They do everything that they are asked. They are law-
abiding citizens. And, most importantly, they are on the front lines of
the war on terror that we are fighting in many of these countries. We know
from very reliable sources that there are very high-ranking officials
within the intelligence community who are Muslim Americans.
We know that there are Muslim American soldiers. The disheartening
thing is to suddenly say that they don`t have a place in this country
anymore and that they are not allowed to go here. Now – they are not
allowed to come here.
Now, the problem isn`t just for immigrants like myself or others, but
it`s also for Muslims who are born here, who have no place to go. The
notion that you`re going to round up Muslims, so to speak, and expel them
and not allow them into this country, it is extremely alarming, not just on
a humanitarian basis, not just on our value basis as Americans, but I think
also from national security, homeland security.
Every single person I have spoke to today said this would be a
disastrous idea, let alone some of the government officials that I have
been speaking to in the Middle East, who say that this is extremely
troubling. And what it could mean for U.S. relations with the Muslim world
would beyond catastrophic.
We rely on many of our allies who are predominantly Muslim countries.
They buy our weapons. They do our fighting for us in some cases. They
share intelligence with us. They send their students to learn here. And
to suddenly turn around and close the door on many of them, on millions of
them, it would be a game changer for America`s standing in the world.
America would no longer be the country that it has always been.
MATTHEWS: I can only imagine Anwar Sadat watching this right now.
Thank you so much, Ayman Mohyeldin and Evan Kohlmann and Haider
Thank you, gentleman. It`s very disturbing.
Up next: disturbing new details on the San Bernardino shooters
themselves, including how long the FBI now believes the two had been
radicalized. Of course, we`re going to get to that $28,000 check that
showed up in the bank account of Mr. Farook.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Authorities are now focusing on identifying any of the associates,
suppliers, trainers, and financiers who may have helped Syed Farook and
Tashfeen Malik mount their deadly attack in San Bernardino.
The FBI says the couple had been radicalized for some time, quite some
time. And now NBC News has confirmed that $28,500 was deposited into
Farook`s bank account just weeks before the account.
NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us now with the
latest on the investigation.
Pete, a lot of news here.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Right.
Well, first of all, let`s start out with the money. It turns out to
be a loan. Farook himself took out a loan. It was in essence a debt
consolidation loan. So this doesn`t provide any answer about where any
money may have come from to finance the attack.
And besides that, the attack, it`s calculated, didn`t really probably
cost that much, the price of the guns, the price of the ammunition, not
that much. The theory here is that he was, in essence, getting his affairs
in order and trying to get some money ready for his mother, who was going
to obviously take care of the 6-month-old. So that`s the thought there.
But you`re right. The big question is, did they have help from
others? Neighbors, remember, say that they saw men coming and going from
that garage at all hours of the day and night. It`s the garage, the FBI
says, where those pipe bombs were being built and where they were basically
So, the question is, did any of those people know what was going on?
And the best witness, it appears to be, is Enrique Marquez, the man, it
turns out, who, starting five years ago, actually bought the two assault
rifles that ended up being used in the attack. How were those rifles
transferred to Syed Farook is a big question.
But, more importantly, what does Marquez know about other people that
may have been around Farook? He seems to be a very close friend. He`s a
former neighbor. And he`s actually distantly related to Syed Farook
through marriage. So, they`re questioning him. They say he`s being
cooperative. They have hopes they can get some answers from him.
MATTHEWS: What about the mother who lived with – Farook`s mother,
that she didn`t know anything? Is that the claim, public claim now?
WILLIAMS: That`s the claim of her lawyers. The authorities are
questioning her. They say it is plausible that she didn`t know what they
The garage where all of this was happening, apparently, is separate
from the house. She didn`t go out much. They certainly want to ask her
more questions. But it doesn`t appear at this point that she`s by any
means a focus of the investigation.
MATTHEWS: How about the in-laws?
WILLIAMS: Well, same thing there, questioning them. They have
questioned the father, too, talked to them, obviously talked to other
members of the family.
But, again, they don`t seem to, at this point, think that any members
of the family were in on this.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Pete Williams, justice correspondent for
Joining me right now is Paul Singer of “USA Today,” who`s been
monitoring how GOP front-runner Donald Trump is using this issue
politically, the whole question of this.
Let me go to you, Paul.
What do you make of what he`s been saying about it was political
correctitude, as he put it, that kept people from reporting on what was
obvious to them? That`s his argument.
What was going on?
PAUL SINGER, “USA TODAY”: Yes.
What he says is that people in the neighborhood saw this and should
have been able to alert the authorities that something suspicious was going
on. And he uses an example of, well, it proves the Muslim community is not
cooperating with us.
And I think you had earlier in the segment, you know, there`s a lot of
evidence the Muslim community has been cooperating with law enforcement
around the country since 9/11. So, I don`t know what exactly was going on
Part of the question is, how strange does behavior have to be in your
neighborhood to call the cops on your neighbor? I`m not sure any of us
really expect that, well, we`re going to get a phone call from the police
just because there`s people coming and going from my garage. It`s hard to
know what we`re looking at here.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I guess the argument would be on most people`s
minds is, you put things together. If you hear the guy – if one of his
relatives, for example, heard him speaking in very, you know, dramatic
terms about how he was angry at the West, how he was supportive of the
jihad, supportive of ISIS, if that was the case…
MATTHEWS: … and then there was all this activity, certainly, the
brother-in-laws and all – you put together the passions that seem to be
alert – alive in the household, and then you get this strange behavior
going on in the garage, maybe then you would see two and two – something
comes out of that, like five.
SINGER: Maybe. Maybe, but, you know, the issue is – take away for a
minute the issue of the Muslim background.
If you were looking at any shooting that we have in this country,
these same conversations come up. Oh, I never knew, he seemed like a
normal guy, he lived by himself. His mother says he was perfectly nice.
You know, if we were looking at somebody who was not Muslim, would we
be having the same conversation…
MATTHEWS: Well, why would a couple want two military-level, military-
gauge automatic, semiautomatic rifles? Why would they – two people want
SINGER: I have no idea. And I also have no idea how they obtained
them. And I`m not entirely sure that any government rule would get
SINGER: … asking that question. But that`s – that`s – this is a
MATTHEWS: I know.
But I`ll tell you one thing. This requires and will get a lot of
inspection. The more we know about this, the better, because this is not
going to be the first case like this, I`m afraid. The more we know, the
MATTHEWS: And we are going to have to put two and two together at
some point here, or it`s all going to be talking after the fact.
SINGER: And Donald Trump, for all the sort of, you know, fringe ideas
he is floating, this has now been the topic of conversation all day long.
And it is an opportunity for us to have this conversation about what
is the role of the Muslim community and what is our role in reaching out to
the Muslim community.
MATTHEWS: Right. It`s also the role of people, you know, if you see
something, say something.
I don`t know. I have never been able to figure out exactly when
you`re supposed to say something, but maybe it`s you know it when you see
it. And I know it`s going to come down to judgment and fairness.
Anyway, thank you, Paul. And you`re right. Paul Singer, thank you
for your thoughts and values.
SINGER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Still ahead: Donald Trump makes a hard right turn, but not
everyone in his party is outraged, by the way. The HARDBALL roundtable is
coming up to talk about the people who are singing his song – that`s
Trump`s song – about keeping Muslims out of the country.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Donald Trump`s proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S. has separated him
from his GOP rivals. We`ve said that. But some conservative voices are
actually backing him on this.
Conservative radio host and FOX News contributor Erick Erickson said,
“I feel compelled to defend Donald Trump from the reaction to his proposal
by many of my other friends. In another article, Erickson added, quote,
this is actually brilliant politics for the here and now.
And Ann Coulter tweeted, “Go, Trump, go.” Radio host Laura Ingraham
tweeted, “Anyone who thinks Trump`s comments will hurt him don`t know the
temperature of the American people.”
Will Trump`s cheering section increase or hurt his chance of winning
That`s a big question and it`s time for the HARDBALL roundtable.
Heidi Przybyla is senior political reporter with “USA Today”, Perry Bacon
is senior political reporter for NBC News, and Rebecca Berg is national
political reporter for “Real Clear Politics.”
Hurt him or help him – go at it, Heidi?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Chris, I think this may be the moment at
which we all realize that these comment which is Trump has been making
since the beginning and have been escalating are actually helping him.
Why? Because there is a market for this.
We`re seeing in some of the polling now, something up to 56 percent of
Americans think Islam is incompatible with American values. The market, we
don`t know how big it is, because guess what, with a lot of people feel
this way, they just don`t want to say it publicly. I know this and I know
this from my own reporting out in Iowa. I`ve sat down with people in
Laundromats who say in hushed tones, things about Muslims or Hispanics.
This is a vein that he`s tapped.
And secondly, it helps because guess what? The one thing a lot of
people don`t realize at this point is that no one, including the president
and the Republican candidates, is being honest with them, that we don`t
really have a strategy to defeat ISIS and it`s not going to happen for a
So, this is a knee-jerk reaction that has a lot of appeal to people,
which is, it`s simple, let`s just shut down the borders.
MATTHEWS: Is this only among Caucasians or do African-Americans and
other groups share in this, this thinking about foreigners, if you will?
The other? Is it only white people? From your reporting?
PRZYBYLA: I think it`s predominant – I am speculating, OK. Let`s
just say, I`m openly speculating. But I think that it`s probably his base.
And in you look at his base, the demographics tell us that these are
predominantly older white voters, more male than female, people who have
less education and are lower income. We know that that is his demographic
and so I don`t think it`s too hard to infer that that is probably the
majority of the people who hold this position.
They are, you know, people who feel that they`ve been in this country
for a long time, they have a larger footprint here, and they`re scared by
the demographic changes that they see taking place.
PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think hurt him.
And I would say two things. First of all, to be criticized, I know we`re
saying, at least don`t mess with these two, to be criticized by the
speaker, pretty much every Republican in the party, is not helpful
ultimately. Ultimately, we`re going to be in a race down to two or three
candidates. In a 15-candidate field, it`s easier to lead in the polls.
BACON: Donald Trump, I would argue, has made himself even more
unacceptable in a two-way race than ever before.
MATTHEWS: What`s the job approval of the U.S. Congress right now,
BACON: It`s not very high.
MATTHEWS: It`s 9 percent. So he`s getting criticized by the leader
of 9 percent. Just to put that in perspective. I think the establishment
has hardly any credibility, in either party.
But your thoughts?
BACON: I disagree. Hillary Clinton is walking the nomination because
she has the establishment support. I think this notion that the
establishment has no power and no control – we`ll see down the line, but I
don`t necessarily agree that political leadership having every person in
your party rain down and criticize you is a good thing for your candidacy.
I disagree with that.
REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I would actually disagree with
that a little bit, because, Perry, you`re right, in most cases, it doesn`t
help to have the entire party infrastructure working against you, but with
Donald Trump, it does, because his whole candidacy is predicated on taking
on the establishment, showing how little Washington has gotten done, and
railing against the Washington politicians who, as he sees it, has overseen
the failure of this country.
And so, for his base of voters, who are very angry, generally, and as
Heidi mentioned earlier, you talk to them at some of his events and they
are very dissatisfied with the way Washington has worked to this point, and
so, I think it actually helps Donald Trump in large part, if most of the
party is against him, because he can say – well, of course they wouldn`t
want me to succeed, because I`m not one of them, and I have ideas that are
going to bring this country back and move it in the right direction. So, I
think it`s very helpful to him.
MATTHEWS: We`ll see. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton just announced
Donald Trump at a campaign rally up in New Hampshire. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump, the
Republican front-runner, has made a name for himself in the last month by
trafficking in prejudice and paranoia. His latest insult is his call to
stop all Muslims from entering the United States.
This is both a shameless and a dangerous idea. At a time when America
should be doing everything we can to lead the fight to defeat ISIS and
other radical jihadists, Donald Trump is playing right into their hands.
And some of his Republican candidates are saying that his latest
comments have gone too far. But the truth is, many of them have also said
extreme things about Muslims. Their language may be for veiled than
Trump`s, but their ideas are not so different. They are all driving the
exact narrative that jihadists want to advance, that we are at war, not
with barbarous, violent murderers, but with an entire religion. This is a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s Hillary Clinton up in Salem, New Hampshire.
HARDBALL returns after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Heidi, tell me something I don`t know.
PRZYBYLA: Chris, we all know how sensitive Donald Trump is to any
decline in his poll ratings. There`s one poll number out today that may be
particularly troubling for him and that`s because it has to do with his
effect on women. I say that tongue in cheek. But there`s a new poll
called the North Poll out today, a large sampling of about 1,600 Americans.
But what it found that there are more women out there who would
actually rather kiss another woman, Hillary Clinton under the mistletoe
than Donald Trump. The person who gets the highest ratings for the man
that women would want to kiss under the mistletoe is he actually Bernie
Sanders who is even ahead of Marco Rubio. So, we`re not seeing people just
voting their candidate here.
MATTHEWS: Could that be the age factor that he`s no danger?
MATTHEWS: I`m just wondering.
PRZYBYLA: They didn`t say it was like a kiss on the cheek, but maybe,
MATTHEWS: Uncle Bernie.
Anyway, Perry, your thoughts.
BACON: So Thursday in Iowa, big endorsement. Bob Vander Plaats, an
Iowa conservative activist endorsed Huckabee in `08, he endorsed Santorum
in 2012, and he`s announcing his endorsement on Thursday that will be a big
signal where the Iowa evangelicals are headed. The rumor is he`s going to
be endorsing Ted Cruz. That will really help. Cruz is already surging a
bit in Iowa. Well, that`s an endorsement to watch on Thursday.
MATTHEWS: OK. Rebecca?
BERG: Well, chris, as we`re talking about Donald Trump`s supporters
and their deeply held views, I find it interesting that I was at his rally
in Manassas, Virginia, last week. And I went looking for Trump voter who
have doubts about his rhetoric and find it offensive. I found quite a few.
Some supporters who say they are planning to back Trump at this point in
time who said his rhetoric about a disabled journalist was offensive and
the way he talks about immigrants.
MATTHEWS: Will it stop them from voting for him?
BERG: I think it could.
And here`s the thing we need to remember when it comes to Donald
Trump. He has a base of very firm passionate supporters. Those are the
ones we hear about a lot. But there is still a large share who are
persuadable. And those are the ones being targeted by people like Ted Cruz
and Marco Rubio.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you for the roundtable tonight. Great one,
Heidi Przybyla, Perry Bacon and Rebecca Berg.
When we return, let me finish with this Trump thing.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this Trump thing. He`s out
there saying we should keep all Muslims from coming into the country, and
everyone in the political establishment is joining hands and agreeing he`s
wrong and for once, I`m ready to stand with them.
But there`s a reason Trump`s out there and people are buying them.
There`s a huge vacuum in this country. And this guy is filling it.
Do you think the problem of illegal immigration is being dealt with
right now? Do you think the problem of losing industrial jobs to countries
overseas is being dealt with? Do you believe that two major parties are
protecting us against terrorism or from the dumb wars we keep finding that
may well only add to the problem?
Donald Trump who has made billions developing properties has
discovered the vast open space in the American political spectrum. This
space made possible by the Democrats failure to connect with the angry
working guy and the Republican establishment`s embrace of the rich and ties
to the Koch brothers.
There`s a tremendous population out there, all the tens of millions
who hold no allegiance to either the Democrats or establishment
Republicans, and Trump is out there filling it. I am not a campaign
manager for Hillary or Jeb Bush, but I have a sense that Trump`s success if
you flip it over is really the failure of these two. Neither of them is
reaching those most alarmed by the problems hitting the country, the stuff
that`s worrying the little guy.
And Donald Trump is talking directly to those worries, to the fear and
the loathing that accompanies them. Again, I agree with the political
establishment about Trump`s un-American call to stop Muslims at the
airport. That`s a disgusting thing to even say.
Can you imagine telling President Anwar Sadat of Egypt he couldn`t
come here? But I do understand the lack of faith so many feel about a
political establishment that took us into Iraq, but can`t agree what to do
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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