Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/22/2016
Date: April 22, 2016
Guest: Matt Schlapp, Francesca Chambers, Michael Lind, Jeff Weaver, Terry
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Donald Trump – is what we see what we get?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Donald Trump`s message to the Republican Party – Let`s get together. His
advisers are signaling that Trump`s moving to a new phase of the race, that
he`s ready to start playing a different part. That`s their word, by the
The campaign released this new ad in Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ll cut taxes for the middle
class, negotiate new trade deals, bring back jobs, save Social Security and
Medicare without cuts, end illegal immigration, build the wall, strengthen
our military, knock out ISIS and take care of our great veterans. We`re
going to make America great again!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, not everyone`s willing to accept the new Trump, especially
those whose personal identity depends on not being convinced. Katie (ph)
Packer, a former adviser to Mitt Romney who now heads the main “Stop Trump”
effort, wrote in a memo, “It`s not too late. As Republican leaders, it`s
critical that you do everything in your power to prevent Donald Trump from
being our party`s standard bearer.”
Well, the only problem it seems to be her side that is in retreat. Trump`s
message of a rigged system has put party leaders on the defensive. The
movement failed to spend, for example, any money in New York against Trump.
Perhaps most important, there doesn`t seem to be an alternative to the
Robert Costa is national political reporter for “The Washington Post” and
an MSNBC political analyst, and Matt Schlapp is the chairman of the
American Conservative Union, and Joy Reid is an MSNBC national
Let me start with Robert Costa. Is this a fair assessment that the – what
was looking to be a somewhat intimidating move to stop Trump until New York
– New York, he – of course, Trump swept it this Tuesday – and now you
don`t seem to hear much about the “Stop Trump” movement.
ROBERT COSTA, WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, I`m here
in Hollywood, Florida, just across the street, was having meetings all day
yesterday and today with members of the Republican National Committee
trying to get their sense, their pulse of what`s happening with the party.
And there`s a sense among many of them, an acceptance fee (ph) that Trump
is going to be the nominee in their mind and they`re willing to accept that
there still is some resistance. But what we`re seeing here in Florida at
the RNC is a thaw in the relations.
MATTHEWS: Well, who`s changed? Have they changed or has Trump changed?
COSTA: Trump`s certainly changed. He hasn`t done Sunday shows in a couple
weeks. He`s not out there making controversy. He`s got Paul Manafort, his
new strategist, down here assuring the party elite that he`s going to be a
different kind of candidate, have a changed demeanor on the campaign trail.
But the party members – they`re changing, as well. There`s a sense that
Cruz has to win Indiana in early May. His campaign needs to find some fire
or else it`s probably going to be Trump. That`s the acceptance part of
this whole scene.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at this. Donald Trump`s top aide, Paul
Manafort, met yesterday with members of the Republican National Committee.
NBC obtained an audio of the comments. Manafort told party leaders that
the Trump you see on the campaign trail is different than the Trump you see
in private. He called the public Trump the part he`s been playing. That`s
his phrase, “the party he`s been playing.” And Manafort promised them that
Trump was evolving. That`s his words.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: Trump`s negatives are negatives
that deal with his personality. People don`t know yet what to make of him.
Some of the stump speeches he`s given, some of the style he had, some of
the ways in which he`s presented the issues. (INAUDIBLE) personality that
people have trouble with.
As an opinion (ph) manager, a campaign consultant, fixing personality
negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives. You can`t
change somebody`s character, but you can change the way a person presents
themselves. So he`s sitting in a room, he`s talking business and he`s
talking politics (INAUDIBLE) it`s a different persona.
When he`s (INAUDIBLE) on the stage (INAUDIBLE) when he`s talking about the
kinds of things he`s talking about on the stump, he`s projecting
(INAUDIBLE) that`s for that purpose. (INAUDIBLE) I mean, the part he`s
been playing is evolving into the part that (INAUDIBLE) expecting but he
wasn`t ready for (INAUDIBLE) The negative will come down. The image is
going to change.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Matt Schlapp, let me ask you about it – a question. I want to
get to Joy with the same question, just so we all understand want we`re
talking about. A decision by a Paul Manafort on behalf of his client, his
candidate, Donald Trump, not to do the Sunday shows – explain why they
would make a decision – because most guys die to do the full Ginsburg.
They like to do as many of those shows…
MATT SCHLAPP, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION PRES.: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: … on Sunday morning. Why would he decide, as a strategy right
now, no more Sunday morning?
SCHLAPP: I think that maybe they`re – even in the Trump campaign, they
understand this concept of overexposure. And he had a rough patch there,
and you could just see the Trump campaign and Trump himself, you know,
decided to go just a little bit more muted, muted for him. And I think
it`s actually working because…
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) He`s all over the place doing (ph) rallies. I have
a particular concern here. Joy, do you have my answer, because it`s my
answer I`m looking for. Why not do the Sunday morning shows, which are
free to do…
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
MATTHEWS: You get on there, you get all that publicity in the Monday
papers and the Sunday night news broadcast, as well as the live broadcasts.
Why would he say, I`m going to give up that because I fear something?
REID: Because I think that Paul Manafort – they are attempting to create
the impression that there is this more presidential, different, manageable
Donald Trump out there. And they don`t want to allow the actual Donald
Trump, who is a showman and who is doing this in a lot of ways with and for
show business, to manifest that he`s really still the same guy.
And I think this is Paul Manafort and the professional side of the Trump
REID: … attempting to give really a false impression, that there is this
urbane, presidential, different Donald Trump that they`re going to withhold
REID: … until just the right time.
MATTHEWS: I think it`s discipline, Matt. I think they want to keep him on
the issues he`s strong on. And I would do – if I was working with him,
I`d say, Talk building, talk jobs, talk economics, talk trade. Those are
your babies. Don`t get into the other issues. Social issues you`re not
strong on. Don`t get into foreign policy. You`re not even aware of some
of the questions. And that – and every morning show, whether it`s Chris
Wallace or it`s Chuck or anybody, they start with the idea of, What tough
question can I hit this guy with?
MATTHEWS: And how can I get him off his notes, off his – his strengths?
SCHLAPP: That`s exactly right. And they really realize that he`s the
front-runner and he could get pushed off his game with a mistake. One
little mistake can get this thing derailed. And I think it`s a typical
thing in campaign when you have a front-runner to play it a little more
safe. And I think that`s what you do when you have a little less exposure.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Robert on that. Why would you think – I
mean, here`s a guy that I think at some point was able to call in three or
four Sunday shows and get all the ink that comes of that, and now he
doesn`t want it.
COSTA: My colleagues, Dan Balz, Phil Rucker (ph) and I, we sat down with
Paul Manafort yesterday. And we said, What is with this change in tempo
for the campaign? He said, Watch this coming Wednesday. Trump`s going to
go to the National Press Club, give a big foreign policy speech. He said
that`s the Trump to come.
He said whenever they need to do Twitter, social media, earned media, TV
appearances, they`ll do it. But they think they need to, at this moment,
repair their relationship with the party but also underscores his policy
positions with some of these big showcases.
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump told Sean Hannity last night that it`s time for the
Republican Party to unite and he can envision a role for his team for – on
his team for some of his former opponents. Let`s look at this little
seduction going on here. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Frankly, Marco I`d love to have involved. I mean, honestly, many
of them, almost all of them. I`m not saying all of them, but almost all of
The party has to unite. If we unite, this party is going to have a huge
victory. Then you`re going to have the House. You`re going to have and
Senate. The party is going to – if I`m running, I`m going to win
Michigan, I`m going to win – I have a chance at winning New York. That`s
a tough one because, as I told you, people don`t even – Republicans don`t
campaign in New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s interesting, Joy. Look, first of all, he picked up Dr.
Carson. That was an early pickup into his team. And then it was Chris
Christie, who may be running for VP. I can`t tell what he wants, but he`s
the – he`s looking for something to do after this term. And little Marco
now – even little Marco – I`ll have a big role for little Marco. It`s so
kind he`s bringing them into his brood, you know, his little nest.
MATTHEWS: And it`s – it`s really unbelievable. These guys…
REID: Yes, he`s gone from – he`s gone from ridicule to seduction, right?
REID: This is the “resistance is futile” phase of the Trump campaign. And
it`s interesting when you just sort of watch the management of the supposed
Trump 2.0, it really is the same guy. He gets back onto the stump and it`s
still “lyin` Ted” and he can`t resist. He can`t help himself.
But it almost reminds me of what happened with Sarah Palin at a certain
point, when the campaign understood that, Wait a minute, she doesn`t have
the depth to really go it on her own. We need to try to bring her in,
manage her and create…
REID: … sort of a shadow Sarah Palin for the public to consume so that
you could feel that she was more prepared than she is. The sort of forced
management of Donald Trump, number one, won`t work…
REID: … because he`s such a big personality. He`s just going to break
out of his box.
MATTHEWS: But Joy, that was Pygmalion (ph).
MATTHEWS: That was a much bigger job of redesign.
Anyway yesterday, Manafort told NBC News that Trump is ready to work with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANAFORT: We`re here really to let them know that we`re going to run a
traditional campaign with them. And when we`re the nominee of the
Republican Party, you know, it`s going to be a Trump brand of the party,
but it`s – we are Republicans. We`re running as team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that would be quite a shift from the heated rhetoric
Trump`s used as recently as last week to go after the party and its
leaders. Let`s watch him there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The system is a bad, bad system! And they got to do something
about it. The Republican National Committee – they better get going
because I`ll tell you what, you`re going to have a rough July at that
convention. These are dirty tricksters! This is a dirty trick! And I`ll
tell you what, the RNC, the Republican National Committee – they should be
ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Is that style or substance? Does he mean that, or is that part
of the show that Paul Manafort says he`s been putting on to get people`s
SCHLAPP: I think that`s just real Trump. I think that`s what he thinks
about when he sees things what happens, like in Colorado.
SCHLAPP: And I think he likes – he likes to have the big primaries. He
doesn`t like caucuses and he certainly doesn`t like these conventions. It
doesn`t play to his strength.
But at the same time, the campaign is smart enough to realize, We got to
start charming these Republican delegates. They`re going to play a huge
MATTHEWS: I know.
SCHLAPP: So his campaign team was down in Florida. They met with all
three, the chairman, the National Committeeman and woman from every state
coming forward. And they have had very good meetings, and they feel
confident that they`re on the right path.
MATTHEWS: But he`s still out there to pick off delegates.
Let me go back to Robert. You`ve interviewed him. You know. You`ve been
in a room with him with no cameras. You`ve been there when he`s just
communicating to you. There is a different Trump. There is somebody who
can speak calmly and matter-of-factly without any kind of hype.
You know that guy exists. You`ve interviewed him many times without the
noise and craziness of this campaign. Is that the real Trump, or is there
any way to know if that`s the real Trump?
COSTA: His speaking style is the same when he`s in private, still sounds
like a New Yorker, a Queens guy. But his demeanor is more low-key. He`s
an entertainer in part when he`s on the stage for these campaign rallies,
holding crowds of 10,000, 20,000 people.
And that`s what the Manafort message was to this group of RNC members –
Look, he can be serious. We`re going to try to normalize him for the
Republican Party for those who have been skittish about him for months.
MATTHEWS: Well, it sounds like – I don`t know what to say because Hillary
Clinton`s very different in person. All politicians I`ve met, almost all
of them, are much different, more likable in person when they`re not up on
the stage barking at us. They just are easier to take when it`s one on
I`m surprised you said he gives you the same staged performance in the back
room. With me, it`s sort of, like, Come on, or, yes, what do thing, and
what about this and – it`s more like – any (ph) more like an exchange,
but I can`t – I do think he is a showman. How that`s for a daring
MATTHEWS: … that Donald Trump is a showman! Yes, Robert?
COSTA: He is a showman, Chris. One thing – one thing real quick. The
big buzz down here in Florida – vice presidential speculation. Cruz,
Kasich are already starting to privately vet some possible candidates
because they`re thinking about maybe pulling a Reagan in `76, picking a VP,
going to the convention even if they don`t have the delegates, and try to
give their campaign some momentum. It`s an interesting dynamic here.
MATTHEWS: Who`s on the list?
COSTA: Well, you got a lot of conservatives, but Kasich, Rubio – if
you`re Cruz, you`re maybe trying to pull some people from the center. It`s
hard for Kasich because he may – he doesn`t have a lot of traction right
now with his campaign. But Cruz, as I also hear from his associates,
looking at Joni Ernst, the senator from Iowa, and Deb Fischer, the senator
MATTHEWS: Well, what about Trump?
COSTA: Trump – he`s – Manafort – we asked him. He said he`s not
starting the VP speculation. But Trump says, and most of the people close
to him say, he wants an insider, someone who could help him out on Capitol
Hill, if he ever got elected.
MATTHEWS: That makes sense. Anyway, thank you, Robert Costa. Thank you,
Joy Reid. Thank you, Matt Schlapp.
Coming up – did Joe Biden just give Bernie Sanders reason to keep up his
attacks against Hillary Clinton? Figuring out Biden is fascinating. Biden
says Democrats don`t win when they don`t think big, and that`s oxygen for
Bernie, fueling a fresh round of attacks just as Clinton supporters hoped
he`d cool it. What`s Biden up to? And what`s Sanders hoping to gain from
Biden`s – what looks to be his support on this point?
Plus, a major expansion of voting rights in a state that may well decide
the presidential election, the Old Dominion, Virginia. Its governor, Terry
McAuliffe, is coming here.
And the HARDBALL roundtable weighs in on our top story tonight, the
Republican Party and its grudging acceptance – yes, acceptance phase of
Donald Trump. But which Donald Trump are they accepting? After all, his
top campaign guy, as we said, says Trump has been playing a part so far.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with a grand honor that I`ve just been accorded
from the Isle of Saints and Scholars.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: You`ll want to tune in tonight at 10:00 Eastern here on MSNBC.
I`ve got a special look at the Democratic front-runner – there she is –
in a brand-new documentary, “Hillary Clinton: It Takes a Country.” It`s a
look at Clinton`s rise in politics from Arkansas to the White House, the
U.S. Senate to the State Department, and now the top Democrat in the race
for the presidency.
That`s 10:00 o`clock Eastern tonight and then again Sunday night at 9:00
Eastern right here on MSNBC.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I talk about the
differences between Secretary Clinton and myself, one of the major
differences is precisely how we raise money for our campaigns. Secretary
Clinton has chosen to raise her money a different way, with several super-
In addition to that, as you know, Secretary Clinton has given speeches on
Wall Street for $225,000 a speech.
SANDERS: Not a bad day`s work. And I think a speech of that extraordinary
magnitude should be shared with the American people.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Bernie Sanders, of course,
continuing his assault on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton last
night while campaigning in suburban Philadelphia. Well, as the Democrats
take their fight to Pennsylvania, Sanders isn`t backing off his attacks on
the former secretary of state and likely Democratic nominee at this point.
Vice President Joe Biden has given Sanders even more oxygen to attack
Clinton just recently. In an interview with “The New York Times,” the vice
president hit back at Clinton`s criticisms of Sanders, saying, “I like the
idea of saying we can do much more because we can. I don`t think any
Democrat`s ever won saying, We can`t think that big. We ought to really
downsize here because it`s not realistic. Come on, man.” This is Biden.
“This is the Democrat Party. I`m not part of the party that says, Well, we
can`t do it.”
Well, last night, Senator Sanders took full advantage of the vice
president`s comments. He read “The New York Times” piece word for word at
his rally and then said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think the vice president is exactly right. That is what this
campaign is about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can!
SANDERS: That`s right.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: It is about having the courage to face the reality of American
life today, understand that that reality is not always a pleasant reality,
but have the courage to take on the special interests who are preventing us
from going forward!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as “The New York Times”` John Harwood writes of Biden: “He
remains neutral in the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton,
but not between their campaign styles. He will take Mr. Sanders`
aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton`s caution any day.”
Hmm. That is interesting.
Jeff Weaver is the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders. He`s right here
with me. And Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, former mayor
of Philadelphia, he is backing Hillary Clinton. This should be a
What do you make, Governor Rendell, of the fact that Bernie Sanders, not
only is he sticking in this race, while Hillary Clinton stuck in it eight
years ago, not especially a bad policy there, but he`s sticking the knife
in her. He`s going after her on these speeches she`s given. He`s going
after her on character. He`s saying she took the money.
He`s mocking her, saying it must be pretty good damn speeches, 20 minutes
for a quarter million. That`s more than my wife and I made in a whole
I think that`s brilliantly negative. But I do think it has a lasting
effect going into November. What do you think?
ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I do. I think it will make it much
for difficult for Bernie Sanders to endorse Secretary Clinton after the
convention in a credible way.
The Republicans will just put some of the stuff up on the air, and it will
attack Senator Sanders` credibility. And it`s unfortunate. But, Chris, I
think Bernie Sanders has every right to compete. We have got five
primaries coming up on Tuesday, including Pennsylvania, Maryland and
Connecticut, three fairly large states.
I think the senator will look at the results on Tuesday night and Wednesday
morning and assess what he wants to keep doing. And my hope is – and I
believe Secretary Clinton is going to win all three of those states.
My hope is, at that point, Bernie Sanders will say, I`m going to continue
because I owe it to the people who are working their hearts out for me in
California to be on the ballot. I owe it to my supporters to get nominated
at the convention. But I`m going to stop the personal attacks and I`m
going to talk about things that I want to do for this country and change
And I hope that`s what happens.
MATTHEWS: Jeff, will that happen?
JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, it`s not a personal
attack at all.
The fact that the secretary took these speeches and refuses to divulge what
was said – there`s a news story out today that shows that vast majority of
these people have business before the government, either as contractors or
lobbyists. I think she should tell us what`s in the speeches. That`s what
would get rid of this. Tell us what is in the speeches.
MATTHEWS: Will your candidate, Senator Sanders, ever endorse Hillary if
she doesn`t release these transcripts, or is that a condition?
WEAVER: He`s always said that he would endorse the nominee of the
MATTHEWS: Even if she doesn`t release these transcripts?
WEAVER: Right, but it`s very damaging to her not only in the primaries,
but in the general election. Why won`t she release what`s in the speeches?
MATTHEWS: What does it say about her that she gave speeches for big money
WEAVER: Well, the fact that she won`t – let`s see what is in them.
MATTHEWS: What does it say about her politically?
WEAVER: Well, I think it was poor judgment, certainly.
MATTHEWS: That`s a nice phrase. It`s character issues. You`re going to
after character here.
WEAVER: No, no, look, she should release what`s in the speeches. That`s
what she should do. This will put it to rest.
MATTHEWS: You are suggesting she`s not honest.
WEAVER: This will put it to rest.
MATTHEWS: Are you suggesting she`s honest in dealing with this issue?
WEAVER: It`s not a question of honesty. It`s a question of not telling
what`s in the speeches, a lack of transparency. That`s the problem.
MATTHEWS: I guess we disagree.
WEAVER: You don`t think it`s a lack of transparency?
MATTHEWS: I think it`s all of those things. I think that she has a
problem taking that kind of money. I think even in a more reasonable level
of speechmaking, 50, 75, something does blow people`s minds when she makes
more in 20 minutes than the Sanders family, husband and wife, make in a
year. Yes, I think that does bother people.
Anyway, our April NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll said this. This is
striking. And I think it gets to what your candidate is doing right now;
56 percent of both the Clinton and Trump people, their voters today, self-
identified, are supporting their candidates mainly because they do not want
the other to be president.
In other words, they are voting against someone, not for someone.
Governor, isn`t this going to feed that, the fact that you have Republicans
out there not particularly enamored of the temperament of Donald Trump or
what he said publicly, but just being encouraged or even more so to dislike
the Democratic candidate, probably Hillary Clinton?
RENDELL: Sure it is. There`s no doubt about that.
But, look, the seminal question is, has any money Hillary Clinton taken
from Wall Street or anybody else affected a decision that she made?
And Dana Bash asked Senator Sanders to name one decision that was affected
by her taking this money, and Senator Sanders couldn`t, not because he
didn`t know of any. Because there are none. And that`s the truth.
So, yes, these attacks are going to continue to make it more difficult.
They`re going to feed the beast. And it`s going to make it more difficult
for a Democratic candidate, who is for the same type of Supreme Court as
Bernie Sanders is, who`s for getting rid of income inequality, as Bernie
Sanders is, who is universal health care, as Bernie Sanders is, a different
mode to get there.
All the things that Bernie Sanders believe in, he`s jeopardizing by
continuing to attack the person who is going to be nominee.
MATTHEWS: Respond to that.
WEAVER: Well, Hillary Clinton doesn`t support what Bernie Sanders
supports. He supports a $15 minimum wage. She does not.
MATTHEWS: No, no, the question, what deal did she strike to take that
money from Goldman Sachs? What did she do for it?
WEAVER: Well, let me just rely on Elizabeth Warren.
MATTHEWS: No, no, what did she do for it?
WEAVER: Let me just rely on Elizabeth Warren, who pointed out in a
televised interview about Hillary Clinton`s flip-flop on the bankruptcy
bill and its impact on working-class people. Let`s just start there.
MATTHEWS: Was that related, are you saying, to her speaking for Goldman
WEAVER: I`m just relying on what…
MATTHEWS: Let`s find an – can you think of, to answer the governor`s
question of what Dana Bash asked, can you think of – all your research –
you must do oppo research.
Did you ever come across any time where it looked like Hillary Clinton had
responded favorably to something she wouldn`t otherwise have done because
of the money she took for a speech?
WEAVER: No, no, but that`s not how it works, Chris. You work in
Washington. That`s not how it works.
In fact, Hillary Clinton the other day said, oh, when people give me money,
I promise them a hearing. I don`t know that I will come out on their side,
but at least they get a hearing.
MATTHEWS: No, that`s no – not – she doesn`t say that about speaking
fees. She said that about campaign – you`re switching around here.
WEAVER: She said about campaign contributions.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, stop moving the question around.
WEAVER: It`s not moving the question around.
WEAVER: That`s the same people giving the money.
MATTHEWS: Your candidate right there, we saw him do it in Pennsylvania.
He keeps doing it. What does he mean when he says – to answer the
governor and Dana Bash, what does he mean when he says Hillary is taking
money from Goldman Sachs? Why does he keep doing it? What is the point?
WEAVER: Well, let`s see what`s in those speeches. And then I will tell
you what the point is.
MATTHEWS: But you don`t know?
WEAVER: Well, no one knows what is in the speeches, other than the
MATTHEWS: But you`re – you mean guilty until proven innocent is what
you`re saying. No, that`s what you`re saying.
WEAVER: People don`t give you all this money.
MATTHEWS: You`re saying guilty until proven – in other words, he has to -
- in other words, Hillary Clinton has to clear herself of the innuendo of
your charges that she`s bought.
WEAVER: One of those speeches was 20 minutes` long. She made more in a
minute than a minimum wage worker makes in a year.
MATTHEWS: I made that point. Then what?
WEAVER: In a year, a minimum wage worker makes in a year.
MATTHEWS: How does that affect public policy?
WEAVER: Because people have access to you once they give you money.
That`s how it works. You know that.
MATTHEWS: Are you saying that she gets the – she opens her door to
Goldman Sachs for meetings because she gives a speech to them?
WEAVER: I think that when you`re cozy with special interests, they get
meetings that you wouldn`t otherwise get.
MATTHEWS: How is she cozy? Her speaker bureau set her up with a speech.
She made a ton of money. I agree with that. It`s an outlandish amount of
money. But what makes her cozy? Why does it make her cozy?
WEAVER: … million in her super PAC from Wall Street.
MATTHEWS: What`s that mean, cozy?
WEAVER: Chris, if you don`t under – if you don`t perceive this as being a
problem, that`s the problem in Washington.
MATTHEWS: I want you to explain to people what the problem is.
WEAVER: The problem is, is that when these big money interests give you
money, they have access to you? Now, do they always get their way? No.
But things aren`t as tough on them as they might otherwise be.
MATTHEWS: Well, give me an example where they have exploited that access
with Hillary Clinton, just one example.
WEAVER: Hillary Clinton has not said that she won`t put Wall Street people
in her Treasury Department.
MATTHEWS: Just – you`re here to explain your case of your candidate.
Give me one example where she was bought.
WEAVER: Well, I gave you the bankruptcy bill.
MATTHEWS: She was bought? That was a quid pro quo? You`re saying that
was a quid pro quo?
WEAVER: Her closeness with Wall Street…
MATTHEWS: No, you`re saying that her position…
WEAVER: No, there is no – because that would be – now you`re trying to
get me to say that she committed a crime, which I`m not going to do.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re basically getting to it.
WEAVER: No, no, that`s what you`re getting to. That`s not me. That`s not
where I`m getting to.
MATTHEWS: Your candidate is going after Hillary Clinton for giving
speeches for big money, and then he cutely says they must be really good
WEAVER: Oh, of course. All right.
MATTHEWS: OK, what is the joke?
WEAVER: The joke is, she won`t release the transcripts. Tell us what is
in the transcripts. She said she went to Wall Street…
MATTHEWS: So, she has to clear herself of the charge.
WEAVER: She said she went and gave them what-for.
MATTHEWS: OK. Just to put your thoughts together. She has to clear
herself of the charges. There might be a quid pro quo, but you don`t know
what the quid pro quo is. And you might find it in this haystack of
transcripts. You might find it in there.
WEAVER: OK. Well, if you don`t think voters want to know what`s in the
transcripts, then I think you`re wrong.
MATTHEWS: Of course. You guys have been dog-training people for weeks to
MATTHEWS: I agree. Look, it`s smart politics.
WEAVER: No, it`s not just politics. It`s substance.
MATTHEWS: Well, you don`t know what the substance is, though.
WEAVER: The substance is, is that they won`t release the transcripts.
That`s the substance.
MATTHEWS: OK. Great. I`m sorry to use up all this time.
Governor, you`re more important than this. Let me ask you this about
Hillary Clinton. Is she going to win all five on Tuesday, do you think?
How does it look in Maryland and it looks in Delaware? We have got Rhode
Island. We have Pennsylvania and Connecticut. It`s a hell of a handful.
RENDELL: I don`t know about Rhode Island. But I think she is going to win
the other four.
But, look, just to respond to Mr. Weaver, as you know, Chris, I probably
raised more money than any elected official in the history of the state of
Pennsylvania. And all I ever gave my contributors was the ability to come
in and make their case.
I could pass any lie-detector test anywhere. If you ask me, did I ever do
something for a contributor because they gave me money, against the
interest of the people, I would say no and I would pass with flying colors.
And it`s really offensive to everyone who has ever been an honest and
decent elected official – and the majority of elected officials are honest
and decent – to make the claim that both Mr. Weaver and to some degree
Senator Sanders is making.
WEAVER: It`s a totally – he just said that he gave people access to come
in and make their case. The average man on the street does not get to come
in and make his case.
RENDELL: But I also gave people access who I never met before and who
wrote me a letter and said we want to speak to you about environmental
conditions in Hazleton. I gave people access, but I never did anything as
a quid pro quo ever.
WEAVER: Most politicians do.
RENDELL: Well, and I think it`s true about Hillary Clinton. So, we should
get off this. Let`s talk about substantive things.
WEAVER: We can end it as soon as she releases the transcripts.
MATTHEWS: You know, Governor, I think they are going back to the Nixon
era. I think they heard release the tapes 30, 40 years ago, and they have
just gotten their phrase.
WEAVER: There was a lot on those tapes.
MATTHEWS: I know. Look, you guys, I know you found your little thing
WEAVER: Well, no, the new thing is, is that the secretary now apparently
supports a 72 percent tax on soda.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. Thank you. We will talk about that off-camera.
It`s of no interest.
By the way, it`s the Philadelphia soda tax that…
MATTHEWS: … pushing, anyway, 3 cents per ounce.
Anyway, Jeff Weaver, off the subject there. A good debate. Thank you,
Governor Rendell, very well.
Up next, a major expansion of voting rights in the key battleground state
of Virginia. It`s a move that could help, it will help the Democrats in
November if these guys get out and get registered.
And Governor Terry McAuliffe is coming here right now to tell us about it.
It`s a fascinating new story.
And on Monday, join us for HARDBALL at 7:00 Eastern. And stay tuned for a
double-header of town halls Monday night. At 8:00 Eastern, my colleague
Chris Hayes sits down with Bernie Sanders. And at 9:00 Eastern, another
colleague, Rachel Maddow, has Hillary Clinton. We got them all tonight on
the Democratic side, Monday night. That`s coming Monday right here on
MSNBC, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
The Carver County sheriff said today he has no reason to suspect Prince`s
death was a suicide. And the music icon`s body showed no signs of trauma.
Results of today`s autopsy have not been released.
President Obama met Prime Minister David Cameron in London today. The
president caused a stir when he warned against a British exit from the E.U.
And the Obamas dined with Prince William, the duchess of Cambridge and
Prince Harry at Kensington Palace tonight. Prince George got a bedtime
extension so he could meet the president. So cute – now we`re going to
take you back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: I believe that our commonwealth cannot
achieve its full potential until all men and women act on this fundamental
right and participate in the decisions about their own children`s
education, about their taxes and every other aspect of their lives.
Unfortunately, Virginia has had a long and sad history of actively
suppressing the voices of many thousands of men and women at the ballot
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe used his executive authority today to
restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons. The action
allows all felons who have served their prison time and finished their
parole to register to vote.
The governor tweeted: “We will ensure everyone with freedom to live in our
communities has the right to participate in the democratic process.
Virginia will no longer build walls and barriers to the ballot box. We
will break them down.”
Well, Virginia is a key state, of course, a swing state in November. So,
keep an eye, by the way, off the point here, to Senator Tim Kaine, if
Hillary Clinton needs a running mate.
Governor Terry McAuliffe joins us right now.
Governor, how long have you been sort of thinking of – this is really a –
it goes back to British common law, I guess, this idea that you lose the
franchise if you have been convicted of a felony. What brought you – this
is really a fundamental. This may lead the way for a lot of other moderate
states. Tell me about how you got there.
MCAULIFFE: And I hope they do that.
I have been working on this for seven years. Since the day I stepped into
office when I came into office January 2014, I have systematically worked.
I have restored the rights of 18,000 felons before today, which is – if
you take my seven predecessors and add them together over four years,
that`s more – I did more than they all did.
But, listen, Chris, I stood on our Capitol today; 1901 and 1902, they put
in our constitution the poll tax, literacy tests, and horrible
disenfranchisement for felons. Ten yards from where I spoke is where
Abraham Lincoln addressed the freed slaves 151 years ago this month.
We have to end this process of disenfranchising folks. So, I used my
authority, which I have, legal authority and the moral authority, today to
restore the rights of 206,000 felons who, as you said, Chris, they have
served their time. They are done with probation. They are done with
parole. They are free citizens.
They live in their communities. They work. They have families. Let`s
make them full citizens of our commonwealth. Let`s let them vote again.
Let`s let them feel good about themselves again. We have got to stop this
MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me ask you about this, because I`m trying to – I`m
sure you have empathized with these guys, mostly men and many of them
minority, many of them.
MATTHEWS: And I`m just thinking what it does to you to say you have to
tell your wife and your kids, even when they grow up to vote, you can`t
And so it has that permanent – you can never really get societal
MCAULIFFE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: You can never work it down. Even if you spent hard time and
eight or 10 years in prison putting up with that horror of isolation and
bad company, and all that, and then you still have to carry with you the
rest of your life, I`m an ex-con, I can`t vote.
Keep going. Explain. Have you talked to guys who have been through this
and expressed the – well, the pain of being an outcast, basically,
MCAULIFFE: Right, a second-class citizen. That`s what I – today, I ended
that for 206,000 Virginians.
But you`re right on point, Chris. I have met with so many people of the
18,000 I have already done. They`re embarrassed to tell their children.
On Election Day, they would go and say they were actually going to vote.
They didn`t want to tell their children that they didn`t have the right to
vote. You have hit it right on the head. Why should they be treated this
way? They have already paid their sentence. They have already done their
debt to society.
And what I don`t understand is why these folks today have come out and
attacked me for doing this. Why would you want to deny someone the right
to vote? I`m not giving you your gun rights back. I`m not commuting your
sentence. I`m not doing a pardon.
MCAULIFFE: What I`m doing is allowing you, as a free citizen, to be able
to just go and vote.
I did a gentleman the other day, Bobby Blevins. Chris. he had not voted
for 60 years. He made a mistake when he was 19 years old, 79 years ago. I
personally gave him his right back a couple months ago. He broke into
tears and said it was the happiest day of his life.
This is why I`m in elective office, to help people do morally the right
MATTHEWS: Yes. It`s a great bet on humanity. That`s what I would call
it, a great bet on humanity.
Thank you so much, Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.
MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Chris. Thank you, sir.
MATTHEWS: Up next: With Donald Trump`s top campaign aide saying what we
have seen so far is an act, who is the real Donald Trump? The HARDBALL
roundtable joins us to answer that question next.
You`re watching it, HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Recent revelations by Trump`s chief strategist Paul Manafort had struck a
nerve with one of the Republican frontrunners` opponents. Manafort says
his candidate is just playing part with his crass talk to drum up votes,
and lurking beneath the brass exterior is a real presidential persona.
But after months of being labeled “Lyin` Ted”, Senator Cruz hit back today
while campaigning in Pennsylvania. Catch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the past 48 hours, Donald
Trump`s lobbyists have taken over his campaign and they have gone down and
told Republican Party bosses that everything Donald has said on the
campaign is just a show. He doesn`t believe any of it. He`s not going to
build a wall. He`s not going to deport anyone. This is just a lie.
And I will say to the millions of Americans who are frustrated with
politicians who are lying to them – Donald is telling us he`s lying to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And on the Democratic side Bernie Sanders is back on the attack against
Hillary Clinton. Sanders blasting Clinton`s ties to the billionaire class,
as he calls it, and attacked her for delivering paid pages while she was
out of office, which is just days to go before Tuesday`s primaries, there`s
five of them this Tuesday. Sanders is back to being Sanders and Trump is
back to being, well, we`re not quite sure which persona is going to appear
Joining me right now is the HARDBALL roundtable tonight, all the fun was
saved for Friday. Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post” opinion writer and
MSNBC contributor, Francesca Chambers, White House correspondent for “The
Daily Mail”, and Michael Lind, policy director of economic growth program
at the New America Foundation.
Michael, you`re the newbie here. You know, I never heard of Dr. Jekyll
describing Mr. Hyde. You know, this is other person – he looks like me, a
little angrier, but that`s not me.
MICHAEL LIND, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: No, I think Trump is pivoting right
on schedule towards the general election.
MATTHEWS: It`s May, I must be what?
LIND: Being a great showman. He`s a master of changing.
MATTHEWS: Was this a disguise for the last year?
LIND: Who knows unless you know him personally? But part of the problem
of analyzing Trump is people don`t take his message seriously. You can`t
explain Trump`s rise except in light of the fact the positions he`s
offering, including heretical ones for the Republican Party like Social
Security, Medicare, actually appeal to the base. It`s not simply style.
MATTHEWS: I think it`s nationalism. I think it`s screw all other
countries, from Putin, to the Chinese aristocracy (ph) and the Mexican
Vicente Fox. It`s we Americans who are getting pushed and shove around and
you little guy, you`ve been shoved around, too. Let`s stop this stuff. I
think that`s the Trump message. Not sophisticated.
Let me ask you about the Dr. Jekyll part.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: OK.
MATTHEWS: Because Dr. Jekyll was the good guy. Mr. Hyde was the bad guy.
OK. We all know that. We know that stories from kids.
This guy has two different persona. One is the one that says Lyin` Ted.
The other says Senator Cruz.
CHAMBERS: But I think everybody puts on a show, Chris, when they`re out at
a rally and trying to gin people up.
MATTHEWS: Are you putting the show now? Is this a show?
CHAMBERS: Isn`t everybody putting on a show when they come on television,
OK? It`s not like people in real life talks like, and this is Francesca
Chambers, you know, doing my hair. OK? Everyone puts on some sort of show
when they`re out in public and particularly if you`re trying to gin up
voters and get them out to the polls. I think every candidate does that to
a certain extent. I don`t think when he`s making these deals that he walks
in with China and the first thing he does is insults them, and then expects
MATTHEWS: Jonathan is dirty. He walks down the street, get out of my way.
Get out of my –
MATTHEWS: No way!
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Look, I want to take on things
that both they said.
MATTHEWS: Do you find out everybody is a show when on TV?
CAPEHART: Not everyone. There are people on television who are the same
way in real life.
CHAMBERS: Myself, included.
CAPEHART: You`re one of those people.
But, look, Donald Trump is the first runner for the Republican nomination
because he built a wave of popularity on insults. He insulted –
MATTHEWS: Yes, Don Rickles.
CAPEHART: He insulted, he denigrated, he –
MATTHEWS: How about the latest?
MATTHEWS: Michael, the latest one is remember Little Marco. Little Marco
with the big ears. Now he wants him in his cabinet or something. What`s
LIND: Well, look, he is masterly insult comic. But if he had the same
insults that he had been proposing, slashing Social Security, slashing
Medicare, tripling guest workers, I don`t believe for him He has a message.
MATTHEWS: Here`s “The Washington Post”, your colleague, Paul Waldman,
writes in an opinion piece that Trump voters maybe uniquely understanding
of candidates. That, quote, “The people who support Trump don`t want
someone qualified in a traditional sense. They want someone who is angry,
who will stick it to the people they hate, who will talk like the shock
jock-in-chief, and what they say in private and wish they could say in” –
that`s exactly what I think, Francesca. That`s exactly what I think.
CHAMBERS: No, absolutely. Bernie Sanders, let`s go to the Democratic side
for another example. I certainly don`t think that Bernie Sanders in his
private life goes around yelling at Jane all the time about the
billionaires and the millionaires! You know? Possibly.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. I want the transcripts. I want the transcripts.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead because I think that person, your colleague, opinion
writer, op-ed writer, has him nailed. People have this sort of oomph they
like about the guy, the sort of thrust of him.
CAPEHART: Yes, they like that. The stuff he`s saying that they want to
say in private and they want to say in public, he`s saying it out there in
public. All this talk about a pivot to a presidential Trump, that can
never happen. In this day of Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, everything that
Donald Trump has said since June 16th will come back to haunt him in the
general election and the Republicans –
MATTHEWS: Quick answer, have you ever met anyone personally you know to
CHAMBERS: Oh, no.
LIND: Well, most politicians.
MATTHEWS: Have you ever met anyone who has changed?
LIND: Sure, people change, you know? Yes.
CHAMBERS: There`s plenty of people who turned over a new leaf in life.
MATTHEWS: OK. You`re an optimist.
CHAMBERS: But in terms of Trump, I have to agree with what you`re saying
here, which is that his followers are used to a certain Trump. This is the
person they voted for, and that`s the person that they want to –
MATTHEWS: Go do a reunion and everybody is the same?
CAPEHART: No. People change. People evolve is the better way. You can`t
evolve from a victory speech in the evening and then a rally the next
afternoon. That just doesn`t happen.
MATTHEWS: Unless you drink.
Anyway, roundtable is staying with us. I know.
And up next, these three are going to tell me something I don`t know.
That`s the HARDBALL. Here we are, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Looking for more in-depth political discussion? Play HARDBALL
with us all weekend online. Follow us @hardball on Twitter and Instagram
and like us on Facebook. You`ll get access to exclusive videos, behind the
scenes photos, and the best analysis and commentary as the primary season
winds down. I don`t think it`s ever going to wind down.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Michael, tell me something I don`t know.
LIND: In 2000, when he was considering running for the reform party`s
nomination for president, Donald Trump said that his ideal vice
presidential running mate would be Oprah Winfrey.
MATTHEWS: Ergo? What`s coming? You don`t know what to expect.
Go ahead. Francesca?
CHAMBERS: Well, Chris, we have seen how divisive things have gotten on the
Democratic side and the Clinton campaign keeps telling the Sanders people
to tone it down. We asked other day, have they told the Sanders people
that? They said not only are they not back channeling with them, they
barely talk at all.
On election nights, there`s no calls of concessions most of the time. And
I`ve been told that goes both ways. The Hillary Clinton people don`t call
the Bernie Sanders people when they won either.
MATTHEWS: No manners.
CHAMBERS: It`s standard. It`s typically been standard to call your
MATTHEWS: Sure, it`s ritual.
CHAMBERS: That`s not happening on the Democratic side.
MATTHEWS: I have to tell you, Francesca. I`ve been watching concession
speeches all my life. I think the best speeches because they`re honest,
it`s over. But this time, I can`t tell the difference between victory and
concession speeches because they never say, I lost.
CHAMBERS: I think that`s part of the reason they`re not making the phone
calls is they don`t see it as a loss.
CAPEHART: You know, Trump set the Republican world on fire yesterday by
criticizing the North Carolina bathroom bill that they did. Well, the Gay
and Lesbian Victory Fund is doing research that shows that when there are
openly gay elected officials in states, they have an influence on their
straight colleagues and so these laws don`t happen.
North Carolina and Mississippi have zero openly LGBT elected officials.
Georgia where the governor vetoed the bill, three.
MATTHEWS: Greatest argument for diversity in any business or any room,
anywhere you meet. It improves your IQ. Diversity, it does. Political IQ
Jonathan Capehart, thank you. Francesca Chambers, and Michael Lind.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a grand honor I`ve just been
accorded. The mayor of Donegal over in Ireland has written formally
declaring that I will be presented the Tip O`Neill Award there in
September. There`s the letter, by the way.
As many of you know, I worked for Speaker O`Neill back in the 1980s, during
the time he was the progressive rival of President Reagan. And those were
extraordinary years colored with strong philosophical debate over Latin
America, the Middle East. Yet I believe also marked by effective politics,
In those days, the partisanship was balanced with historical achievement,
saving Social Security, real tax reform, the ending of the Cold War. Less
known is how these two leaders of Irish background, Reagan and O`Neill,
worked together in urging British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher toward
the power-sharing agreement that led Northern Ireland on the road to ending
Well, the point of the Tip O`Neill Award I`ll be receiving over in County
Donegal is to honor someone with roots in Ireland who has managed to do
something over year. You must know how I will treasure the award and the
ceremony over in Ireland this September.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Tune in tonight at
10:00 Eastern for the premiere of our documentary on Hillary Clinton, “It
Takes A Country.”
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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