Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/4/2016
Date: May 4, 2016
Guest: Ron Klain, Heidi Przybyla, Tim Mak, Clint Hill, Scottie Nell
Hughes, Anne Gearan, Carolyn Ryan, Jeff Weaver
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Love that opening. Anyway, good evening. I am
Chris Matthews back again in Washington.
Donald Trump`s final opponent, John Kasich, suspended his campaign this
evening, bringing to a close the Republican race for the White House. It`s
over. Donald Trump, a reality TV star and businessman from New York with
no political background, is the new standard bearer of the Republican
Party, like it or not.
And with that reality comes a moment of truth for the Republican Party
itself. Can they back him? A growing list of Republicans are saying yes,
they can – Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Mike Huckabee, Senator
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Senator Susan Collins of Maine all aboard
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Senator John McCain told NBC, “As John McCain
has said, he will support the nominee of the Republican Party, who is now
presumptively Donald Trump. He is adamantly opposed to the continuation of
the failed policies of President Obama that would occur under Hillary
Clinton and have led to a world more volatile and less safe than any time
since World War II.”
But there`s also a number of conservative activists out there who say they
refuse to back Trump, even now that he`s won the nomination. The two
former Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George Herbert Walker
Bush, both now say they will stay out of it. They will not endorse Trump.
In the last hour, Donald Trump told NBC`s Lester Holt his negative numbers
will come down – calm down, too, as well, as his campaign against Hillary
Clinton kicks in.
Let`s watch the latest. This is a few minutes old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLD, ANCHOR, “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”: The negatives are staggering.
Disapproval, 69 percent women, African-Americans, 88 percent, Latinos 79,
people under 34, 75 percent disapprove.
How much of that is self-inflicted by some of the rhetoric from the primary
campaign, and how do you heal that while still respecting those who got you
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the highly respected
Rasmussen poll just came out and I`m 41 to 39 up on Hillary Clinton. It
just came out. I haven`t even started on Hillary Clinton yet. So I don`t
know what you`re talking about with the negatives.
Now, I will say I think I`ll do very well with women, and as you know, in
the last seven states, which I won in landslides, I won in women, I won
with African-American, I won with Hispanics. I won at every single level.
HOLT: So you discard all these numbers?
TRUMP: I don`t discard anything. I mean, I just started. I just got it
not even 24 hours ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Eugene Robinson`s a Washington Post columnist – I had a
sort of a hem (ph) in my voice there…
MATTHEWS: … and MSNBC political analyst, after listening to that from
Trump. Howard Fineman`s global editorial director for the Huffingtonpost
and an MSNBC political analyst. And Scottie Nell Hughes is a Republican
strategist and Trump supporter.
Let me go to Gene on that and just unpack some of that because the
Rasmussen poll is – is a robo-poll.
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: It`s, like, limited – its limited in its accuracy, but it`s
it`s also a Republican poll.
MATTHEWS: And there are a lot of other polls out there that show
ROBINSON: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: … a staggering gap between him and Hillary right – 13 points
in our poll…
ROBINSON: Poll after poll after poll after poll shows him losing to
Hillary Clinton. I mean, that`s just the fact. He never acknowledges it,
but it`s the fact.
You know, today – we should just take a minute to think about what just
happened in the last 24 hours.
MATTHEWS: It`s big!
ROBINSON: This is – this is a cataclysm, and the Republican Party today
is like Rome on the morning after the night when the barbarians came
through the gate, right?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: I was going to say Berlin after…
ROBINSON: The city has been sacked and people are – there`s a lot of
running around. There`s a lot of screaming. There`s a lot of wailing.
And people are trying to figure out what to do.
And so, you know, it`s maybe not the best day to make confident predictions
as to what`s going to happen two weeks from now, four weeks from now or
whatever. Will the resistance manage to gather itself?
MATTHEWS: I was in Budapest at the end of the cold war, when it was about
to end, and one of the more cynical people in the economic ministry said,
The road to Damascus is very crowded these days.
MATTHEWS: There are a lot of converts! And I`m wondering if there are a
lot of people…
FINEMAN: It`s not that…
MATTHEWS: Look at this, John McCain support for Trump is a surprise to
some, given the very personal attack Trump leveled at him last summer.
Just to remind ourselves of how vicious it got early on, let`s watch Trump
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I supported him. He lost. He let us down. But you know, he lost.
So I never liked him as much after that because I don`t like losers.
TRUMP: But Frank – Frank, Frank, let me get to it. He hit me…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a war hero!
TRUMP: He`s not war hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a war hero.
TRUMP: He`s a war hero…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five-and-a-half years…
TRUMP: He`s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that
weren`t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But McCain`s on base, though.
FINEMAN: I think that`s very interesting. I agree with you that
sometimes, the road to Damascus is very crowded. Right now, it`s sort of
eerily sparse, I would say. Yes, there`s some Republicans who are creeping
forward to say, I`m going to support Donald Trump. There`s an interesting
locution coming out of New Hampshire, where Kelly Ayotte, the senator, said
this morning in an interview that she would support but not endorse Donald
MATTHEWS: What does that mean?
FINEMAN: I have no idea.
FINEMAN: That`s almost like a Mideast peace accord!
MATTHEWS: The other women in the party who are high level, Nikki Haley…
FINEMAN: No, but…
FINEMAN: I do think McCain is bored (ph). Everybody was making a big deal
last night that Mark Salter, his former aide and speech writer, said he`d
never vote for Donald Trump.
MATTHEWS: Mark Salter.
FINEMAN: Yes, Mark Salter. If you`re Donald Trump, you`ll take John
McCain over Mark Salter.
ROBINSON: Yes, over Mark Salter.
MATTHEWS: Mark Salter says he`s going with Hillary.
Let me bring in Scottie Nell Hughes. Give us a sense of how you think this
is going to shake out within the reality – within in the walls of Rome, if
you will, to use that metaphor. How many people are going to scatter, how
many are going to hide and how many are going to salute?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I`m sitting here shaking
my head today, Chris, because the same people who told me that I was going
to have to go and I was going to have to vote for Romney, I was going to
have to vote for McCain, are now basically saying that they`re not going to
vote for Donald Trump. And yet I still went in (INAUDIBLE) They`re not
taking their own piece of advice.
Listen, today has shown the adults from the children within the Republican
Party and the ones that actually put the party ahead of their egos. Those
guys that are still holding onto, I`m not going to vote for him, a lot of
them are probably just sour grapes…
HUGHES: … and they`re having to face the reality that their word is not
as strong as their mommy gave them credit for.
On the opposite side, though, you do see these guys going, You know what?
I`m going to put the party, I`m going to put unity ahead because,
ultimately, we`re going to have to go against this major machine that was
created before Barack Obama that`s now going to be headed up for Hillary
Clinton, and it`s going to be something that we`re going to take.
Everybody`s going to have to be part of if we`re going to able to defeat.
MATTHEWS: Well, Reince Priebus agrees with you, acknowledged the problem
facing his candidate, however, given his negative numbers.
Let`s watch Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: We got to unify. We need time to unify.
And – and we will unify. But this is what today starts, which is this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in his interview with Lester Holt just a couple of minutes
ago, Trump didn`t try to back way from his calls to ban Muslims from this
country and deport 11 million people here illegally. Let`s watch him go at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLT: Do you stand by them? Do you stand, for example, by the idea of a
ban against foreign Muslims coming here?
TRUMP: I do. We have to be vigilant. We have to be strong. We have to
see what`s going on. There`s a big problem in the world. You look at
what`s happening with the migration in Europe.
HOLT: You`ve also promised to deport those in this country illegally? Do
you stand by that?
TRUMP: And come back. Yes, they`re going to be deported. Look, we either
have a country or we don`t. We have many illegals in the country, and we
have to get them out and go through a process, go through a system. And
ones that have done well and have really achieved, we want to bring them
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Back to where we started tonight. And join in here, Scottie –
the quickness with which this came. Up until last night, we had a sense
that although Trump was going to win Indiana that Cruz was going to stick
to the fight.
MATTHEWS: Kasich would even hang in there, that this thing would go on for
MATTHEWS: I think that`s what stunned us last night, the end so quick.
ROBINSON: Right. It looked like Trump was going to win in the end, or I
certainly thought he was going to win in the end, but certainly, Cruz was
going to stick in for a while. Kasich was going to stick in for a while
because their – you know, how did their situation change? They – you
ROBINSON: … looked bad for them after.
MATTHEWS: Because there`s an anti-Trump faction in the Republican Party
that has all of a sudden found itself with no contenders.
ROBINSON: Well, exactly. And so what do they do now? You know, you know,
how do you – you can`t beat somebody with nobody. They didn`t have much
of a somebody in the first place…
ROBINSON: … now they literally have nobody.
FINEMAN: What they`re doing…
MATTHEWS: Scottie, go in here. I want to hear Scottie`s thinking about
HUGHES: Here`s my…
MATTHEWS: … because what happened so fast? Do you know why the
opposition to Trump crumbled last night. Sometime early – I guess early
in the day yesterday, they got the word that the exit polls – I don`t know
how they got the exit numbers early, but they got some sort of polling out
of the actual voting to say that Cruz was going to get hammered. And I
guess Kasich already knew he was down in the single digits and it wasn`t
going to happen for him ever. But they could have still fought for a
HUGHES: Well, sometimes, reality bites for presidential candidates, and we
saw that yesterday. You know, I think the polling came back that in New
Jersey, Trump was leading by double digits, West Virginia, California.
There was truly no sense to actually be able to have a way of going through
a brokered convention, where these ideas is actually resonating with the
people that this is a rigged system that keep politicians in power.
And you have Senator Ted Cruz, who does still have a hopeful political
future, and he wanted to sit there and cut off his losses while he can and
see if he can still escape this unscathed.
But I do have to bring up one point. You played that clip. Why is it so
surprising that Mr. Trump – I mean, I guess we`re so used to politicians
flip-flopping on what their position is. Those points that Mr. Trump made
are the same thing he has said consistently all along. Why would he…
MATTHEWS: Fair enough.
HUGHES: … flip-flop now that he`s the candidate? That right there would
MATTHEWS: Because candidates tend to do that. After they say inflammatory
things to win the left or the right, they tend to come back somewhere in
the center to win the general. That`s why. I think you have a fair point
there, but that`s the normal way politicians behave.
HUGHES: But people have – that`s the one thing about Mr. Trump. Whether
you might not like every word you (sic) say, you have trust that what is he
is telling you is what he`s going to say and what he`s going to stand by.
You might not like 100 percent of what he says, but you like some things.
And what we`re missing in politics today…
MATTHEWS: Well, let me…
HUGHES: … is truth and trust. And that is why Mr. Trump is appealing to
MATTHEWS: OK. Do you think it`s right to take 11 million people here
who`ve been living here as Americans, even if they`re not legal, living as
Americans, and send them to Mexico or anywhere else they came from? Do you
think that`s a reasonable U.S. policy under the next presidency?
HUGHES: I think…
MATTHEWS: Is that reasonable?
HUGHES: I think we have a broken system, and Ronald Reagan thought…
MATTHEWS: No, that`s not what he`s saying.
HUGHES: … that he was solving the problem when he passed it back in
1986. It did not solve it. So therefore, why are we going to repeat
something that did not solve it? We need a reasonable – we need to look
at our immigration system. We know that. I think everybody agrees with
MATTHEWS: I know that, but that`s not what he`s saying. He`s saying send
back 11 million people. Should we do that?
HUGHES: And let them come back legally so we know…
MATTHEWS: What does that mean?
HUGHES: … who is here. We are living in a different age. We need to
know exactly who is within our borders. The same thing goes with Muslims.
HUGHES: We need – he`s not sitting here saying he`s going to ban all
Muslims from America. He`s just saying all American Muslims are going to
continue to flow back and forth freely. We just need know who exactly is
in within our borders (INAUDIBLE) Every other country…
MATTHEWS: And how do we – how do we tell…
HUGHES: … has those rules. Why not the United States?
MATTHEWS: How do we tell the religion – (INAUDIBLE) Scottie, but how can
we detect, honestly and truthfully the religion of someone applying to come
in the country on a visitor`s visa, a tourist, whatever, business deal, on
any kind of entry into the country? How do you detect a person`s religion?
HUGHES: But we – we`re able to – at least we`re trying. At least we`re
asking the questions that…
MATTHEWS: How would we do it?
HUGHES: At least we`re vetting, and…
MATTHEWS: Just how would we do it?
HUGHES: … we`re not just letting them come in. Well, that`s the great
thing about technology today. And we can sit there and look at it. You
can ask them. There are screening processes we can use that are not in
place right now. Our system is broken. All he`s asking for…
MATTHEWS: No, I`m just asking, can we detect through any electronic
ability today – can we screen for religion? I didn`t know we could. How
can we do that?
HUGHES: No, we can`t – no, but we can actually vet – as American
citizens, we do have the right to know who exactly is coming within our
country, too. And I mean, I have to sit there and say, Chris, I`m going to
defend America first, kind of like what his foreign policy is (INAUDIBLE)
of these other countries. And I think most Americans would agree with
that, regardless of what party you belong in.
I think that is only fair that we know who it is. Let`s get the system
HUGHES: … and then we`ll be able to bring people in and out freely.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well…
HUGHES: But at least our American families are safe, something we can`t
guarantee right now.
MATTHEWS: All right. Thank you very much, Eugene Robinson, and thank you,
Howard Fineman. And we`ll get you back again. You got sort of pushed
FINEMAN: No problem.
MATTHEWS: Scottie Nell Hughes.
Coming up – Donald Trump says he`ll focus on Hillary Clinton`s past, not
her ideas for the future, as they battle for the White House now. Looks
like a two-person fight. It`s going to be a scorched earth campaign, as
well, like we`ve not seen before. Are Clinton and the Democrats ready for
what`s coming from Trump? You just heard a bit of it there.
Plus, why can`t Hillary Clinton shake Bernie Sanders loose from her? He`s
still on her – he`s still chasing her. He beat her last night in Indiana
pretty well, and he`s helping Trump actually by staying in the race that is
virtually impossible for him to win, but he can still win primaries. Can
Clinton battle Trump with Sanders still on her left flank?
And with Cruz and Kasich out of race now as of today, Donald Trump`s the
presumptive Republican nominee. It`s a deal. He`s in. And given all he`s
said and done, it`s an earth-shaking moment many people said could never
happen, should never happen, a lot of people have said. The HARDBALL
roundtable`s going to be with us. We`ll talk about some of Trump`s not so
Finally, Donald Trump`s false claim that he led – well, that Ted Cruz`s
father was connected to John F. Kennedy`s assassination. We`re going to
speak to President Kennedy`s Secret Service agent tonight.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama visited Flint, Michigan, earlier today, his
first trip to the city since it was hit by a tainted water crisis that
sickened thousands of people. Well, the president met with local, state
and federal officials at a food bank, where he was briefed on the ongoing
response and recovery efforts. Toward the end of the briefing, Obama drank
from a glass of water and proclaimed the tap water to be drinkable with the
use of a filter. He had a filter.
The president delivered remarks to a crowd at the local high school, where
he assured the people of Flint that the government has their back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not rest, and I`m
going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don`t
rest, until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink
and safe to cook with and safe to bathe in…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: … because that`s part of the basic responsibilities of a
government in the United States of America!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. With a general election matchup
likely between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a new head-to-head poll
out just today shows Clinton with a – catch – this is the one to remember
tonight, this is the news – 54-41. This is an election that will get
closer, but it`s pretty wide apart right now. Clinton ties Trump with
support among men and leads him by 26 points among women. Remember that
number, a 26-point lead.
But in a preview of what kind of campaign we can expect, Trump says he
hasn`t even started in on Clinton yet. He told “The Washington Post,” “Her
past is really the thing, her past, rather than what she plans to do in the
future. Her past has a lot of problems.” You like the way he phrases
that? She`s got a past, to put it bluntly. That – that`s Trump signaling
where he`s going.
And here`s what he said on “MORNING JOE” today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Look, Bernie Sanders said about Hillary Clinton she`s got poor
judgment. He also said, by the way, she`s unqualified, but I won`t even go
there. But Bernie Sanders said that she`s got poor judgment. And she
does. You look at the e-mail scandal. She shouldn`t even be allowed to
run. You know that. Joe knows that and everybody knows that. She`s only
being protected by the Democrats. She should not be allowed to run in the
election. She should not be – she should suffer like other people have
suffered who have done far less than she has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Team Clinton is already preparing for this kind of attack.
Her campaign strategist, Joel Benenson, said Republican attacks go
unanswered – (INAUDIBLE) go unanswered, he said, would be a mistake.
“When he does this, we`ll be aggressive,” Benenson said.
In fact, the Clinton campaign`s already using the Republican`s own words
against Trump. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am a unifier. We`re going to be a unified party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a con artist.
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: A phony.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is the know
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald is a bully.
ROMNEY: This is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter.
TRUMP: Oh, I don`t remember!
ROMNEY: Who attributed a reporter`s questions to her menstrual cycle.
TRUMP: Blood coming out of here wherever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most vulgar person to ever aspire to the
CARLY FIORINA (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A man who seems to only
feels big when he`s trying to make people look small.
TRUMP: Don`t worry about it, little Marco.
CRUZ: (INAUDIBLE) the man is utterly amoral.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sign of deep insecurity and weakness.
ROMNEY: The bullying, the greed, the showing off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He needs therapy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Needs therapy! Stuart Stevens (ph), an adviser to Mitt Romney`s
2012 campaign said that Trump, quote – “He`s about to walk into a $1
billion buzzsaw.” I guess he`s talking about the campaign budget for the
Anyway, Carolyn Ryan is senior editor of politics at “The New York Times” -
- thank you, Carolyn – and Anne Gearan is the national political reporter
for “The Washington Post.”
Well, Anne, you were here first. Let me – what do you think, knowing what
you know about the Clinton armor? How good is it? How strong is her
armor, or SDI system, even, to be more advanced, to strike back at this
ANNE GEARAN, “WASHINGTON POST”: Yes, I mean, it`s – I mean, it`s – it`s
two things at once, right? It is defensive and offensive. And it is built
– to continue the military, the martial analogy – I mean, it is built
It – from the start, the Clintons, plural, have expected an assault on
them, on everything about them, on the entire architecture of the Clinton
political franchise, starting with Bill Clinton, good and bad, and
continuing through Hillary.
So, they have designed ways, they think, are effective to protect that and
GEARAN: … want to get through.
MATTHEWS: Well, they had the war room.
GEARAN: And they have a model of that now. Yes.
MATTHEWS: They had the war room back in `92 with George and everything
there and James.
And what was great about that was instant retaliation. They would follow
the news cycle the way Trump follows it, which is every second. They`re up
against the guy who is in the news cycle. And they were able to hit back
so fast. And they learned the lesson from Dukakis in `88, where Michael
Dukakis didn`t respond.
GEARAN: Right. No, they did learn that lesson. The question is how
Hillary Clinton as a candidate can fulfill the role.
MATTHEWS: Carolyn, how will she respond to it, based upon her track
record? Will she – smiling is a weird thing in politics today. People
smile the most aggressive smiles I have ever since.
And it`s not like I`m happy. It`s like I can take it or you think you`re
so smart, you`re not. Look, all smiles seem to say something about
aggression these days. Anyway, how does she laugh her way through or
chuckle her way through what looks to be a storm of attack?
CAROLYN RYAN, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: I think she feels like she`s got a
pretty steely spine, in that she`s been through all kinds of humiliations,
attacks, aggression throughout her career.
But, remember, she`s going to have a very interesting and powerful weapon
at her side this time in Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
RYAN: Their campaign, the Clinton campaign want to unleash Barack Obama.
And if you recall, during the White House Correspondents Dinner previously,
how much she enjoys going after Trump, almost ridiculing him. And he`s
champing at the bit to get out there and to make the case. So, she is
essentially going to have two presidents at her side sort of buffering her.
I don`t think the campaign wants her directly one-on-one going at Trump,
but they want to create kind of a megaphone around her to kind of deflect
and go after him.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Barack Obama is cool enough, because he has to be
able to take these shots down? And when you shoot down, it`s dangerous,
because that pulls you down into the fight.
How does he keep his dignity in a match with Trump, who is good at
destroying the other guy`s dignity? How does he keep from being part of
RYAN: I think he`s master of it. I mean, almost to an extreme, he has an
ability to sort of stay aloof.
And, remember, Trump went after his citizenship, his – the birther
RYAN: It was very personal. And the way that Obama responded at that
White House Correspondents Dinner was mocking, derision, joking, but he did
not lose his cool, and he never really did over that issue.
But he`s very eager to be a part of this campaign. And he is very eager to
make the case against Trump. The one area where I think the Clintons know
they have a problem and they`re thinking about how to address it is social
media and personality.
Trump has shown that that is a powerful platform in a modern campaign. And
the Clintons don`t have anything that matches his eight million followers
and the ardor that they have and the personality that drives social media
the way that Trump does.
It`s not just on television anymore. It`s on Twitter. And they are kind
of trying to figure out if they could create something to be a
countervailing force there.
MATTHEWS: I think Trump is going to grab all the available stuff. He is
going to start with the three speeches for Goldman Sachs. He`s going to
trumpet everybody Bernie said, the hero of the left.
And he`s going to say just release the transcripts. And for whatever
reason, Hillary doesn`t want to release it. It just would be bad –
chatter with people that sounds friendly. It could be totally harmless,
but be used against her.
But they`re going to say, you took the 600-some-million bucks – or
$600,000. You owe us the truth and just keep pounding that. I can see him
doing that because he makes her the incumbent that way.
Bernie is at the moment providing part of a script that Trump has already
started to take up. I`m not sure he totally needs it. One of his great
strengths so far, which one would expect to be a strength against him –
against Hillary going forward, is his ability to change the conversation.
Whatever it is that she wants to talk about or his Republican opponents
until now had wanted to talk about on any given day could be immediately
hijacked by, as Carolyn says, his effective use of social media, by his
ability to call in to any radio station or television station anywhere on
the planet, by his ability to do any number of things that suddenly made
the conversation about him and about something that he wanted to say in the
MATTHEWS: He can tweet, and that`s a news story.
MATTHEWS: Very quick, very quick, Carolyn. I`m sorry.
RYAN: One thing I would just suggest is that this campaign will also
redraw the typical ideological lines.
You are going to have Trump going to – campaigning to the left of the
Democratic candidate on issues like trade, on issues like foreign policy,
on issues like Wall Street. It is going to be this fascinating
rescrambling of what we have come to expect from modern politics.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree.
It`s interesting. He wants to be bully, but he also wants to make Hillary
RYAN: Yes, exactly.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. He is going to be – have to do some real
I think it`s great having you guys on, because this is terra incognita for
all of us. I don`t think we have been here. And the days of the
gatekeepers and the David Broders, well, I have been there, and Jack
Germond, well, nobody`s been here before. Nobody.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Anne Gearan. Thank you, Carolyn Ryan.
Coming up: Bernie Sanders pulls off a win in Indiana, but what is his path
forward in the nomination fight? He`s still fighting, but where is the
way? I am going to ask his campaign manager next. Jeff Weaver is coming
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
The Justice Department says North Carolina`s anti-LGBT measure violates
federal civil rights laws. It`s sparked protest and drawn fire from
entertainers and firms, including PayPal and Deutsche Bank.
A massive wildfire in Fort McMurray, Canada, has scorched nearly 25,000
acres; 1,600 structures are damaged or destroyed; 88,000 residents have
And the U.S. Attorney`s Office and the DEA are joining the investigation
into Prince`s death. The music icon died on April 21. No cause of death
has been determined – back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand that
Secretary Clinton thinks that this campaign is over. I got some bad news
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: I think that while the path is narrow – and I do not deny that
for a moment – I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets
in the history of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Senator Bernie Sanders claiming victory over Hillary
Clinton actually in Indiana last night, because he won. But while Sanders
managed to net an additional seven delegates last night, the fact remains
that he still has little chance, according to the numbers, of overtaking
Clinton in the overall count for Philadelphia.
Anyway, Clinton now needs just 17 percent of the remaining delegates to
clinch the nomination, which means that Bernie Sanders would need
overwhelming margins in the remaining states, or he will need to persuade a
lot of Democratic so-called superdelegates to change their allegiance to
Well, this comes as Clinton looks to the looming general election battle
against Donald Trump, with Sanders still in the race, of course. She`s got
to fight a two-front war right now.
Well, during the New York primary last month, the Sanders campaign ran its
hardest-hitting campaign against Clinton, slamming her for taking money
from Goldman Sachs for speeches. Let`s watch that ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: While Washington politicians are paid over $200,000 an hour for
speeches, they oppose raising the living range to $15 an hour, $200,000 an
hour for them, but not even 15 bucks an hour for all Americans. Enough is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump recently said he plans to recycle Sanders`
attacks like that against Hillary in the general election. Here is Trump
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie Sanders has a message
that`s interesting. I`m going to be taking a lot of things that Bernie
said and using them.
I can reread some of his speeches. I can get some very good material.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by Sanders` campaign manager, Jeff
Jeff, this ad, I thought – I was taken with it. It shows a picture of the
U.S. Capitol and it says that Washington politicians, presumably those who
work in that building, get $200,000 an hour for speeches, when they oppose
the minimum wage going up to $15.
Well, you know as working – you have worked on the Hill.
JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I have.
MATTHEWS: Senators, including Senator Sanders, know that they`re not
allowed to take money for speeches. So, why would you put an ad out that
says they take huge amounts of money for speeches, Washington politicians,
when you know that`s not the case?
WEAVER: Well, look, Chris, you and I actually have trod this ground
before, when we were in New York. So, we have had this conversation in the
MATTHEWS: Well, go on. Just explain it again then. Well, try.
WEAVER: We – well, I`m happy to.
Well, Washington politicians include people who were in Congress or who
have been in the government. Those are also Washington politicians.
MATTHEWS: Well, why do you show the Capitol? Why do you show the Capitol
Building and say Washington politicians?
WEAVER: That`s in Washington, Chris. That`s emblematic of Washington.
MATTHEWS: Well, the Capitol Building – two kinds of people work in the
Capitol Building, members of Congress and U.S. senators, neither of which
are allowed to take money for speeches. So, why are you saying that?
WEAVER: Yes, but former senators – but former senators certainly are.
MATTHEWS: OK. Does it say that in the ad?
WEAVER: Well, you`re reading more into it than I think a lot of other
MATTHEWS: No, I`m not. Anybody watching this knows what I saw there.
Washington politicians, picture of the U.S. Capitol, take $200,000 for
speeches while opposing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, simple
fact claim, indicting Washington for taking money.
You know senators, including your boss, can`t take money for speeches. You
know that is the case, and yet you run this ad, which you know Donald Trump
is going to use.
WEAVER: But former senators – former senators can and do. And we know
MATTHEWS: That`s not what you wrote in the ad.
WEAVER: Former senators can and do. We know that`s the case.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s move on.
WEAVER: Former presidents do.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that. But that`s not what the ad says.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about Trump using your guy`s stuff. You think he
WEAVER: Look, Trump will do whatever Trump will do. Who knows?
Look, he has an oppo book a mile thick on Secretary Clinton. A lot of this
stuff, we would never even go near with a 10-foot pole, but certainly the
Republicans will. And they will anyway, Chris. You know that. You know
Donald Trump will say and do anything.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Trump has the advantage in that department of oppo?
WEAVER: No. I`m sure there`s a lot of oppo on him. So, the Clinton
people are very good at oppo. And the Democratic Party is very good at
oppo. And we`re very good at oppo, frankly.
But we try to keep the campaign on the issues, frankly. And that`s what we
have done in this campaign.
MATTHEWS: What has Hillary used ever against Senator Sanders?
WEAVER: What is that?
MATTHEWS: What has Hillary ever done in developing negative information on
Senator Sanders in this campaign that is about to end at some point? What
has she used against you guys?
WEAVER: There`s been plenty, Chris.
I get calls all the time. And I know you get a lot of off-the-record stuff
all the time too from Correct the Record and David Brock. Those guys are
pumping out stuff day and night, believe me. I talk to reporters. I know
it`s all off the record, and you`re not allowed to talk about it or
acknowledge it. But that`s the truth. And you know it`s the truth.
MATTHEWS: So, Brock is for Hillary?
WEAVER: David Brock is for Hillary. Yes, David Brock runs Correct the
Record, an affiliated super PAC with Hillary`s primary campaign fund. Yes.
And they acknowledge that they coordinate.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about this endgame.
How do you see it going? Let`s be very optimistic for your candidate, for
Senator Sanders, who has lot of fans watching right now. What would work
for him? I mean, outside factors could come in. Something terrible in
terms of this perhaps investigation of e-mail might break. Things could
But if they don`t happen from outside the process, I watched Senator
Sanders last night very affirmatively saying this is going to go on. How
does it go on here to Philly in July? And I think Jane Sanders has been
great. There`s a lot of spirit in your campaign.
WEAVER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: But how does that spirit carry you to victory in Philadelphia?
How does it work? Just tell – explain it to your own people right now.
WEAVER: Look, this is how it works.
As we go ahead, the number – there`s a number of contests. In fact, most
of the contests are very favorable to the senator, frankly. The largest
state in the country is coming up, California, with 475 delegates. Over
the course of the next few weeks, the rest of the process, Bernie Sanders
will substantially narrow Secretary Clinton`s lead in pledged delegates.
When we arrive this Philadelphia, neither candidate is going to have the
requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. So, when
you get there, nobody has won yet.
And, as you know, the superdelegates, during the course of the convention,
can – are able to weigh in on this. Now, I know you`re talking about this
18 percent or whatever it is, it`s all she has to win.
Well, that`s assuming all those pledged or those unpledged superdelegates
stay with her. There`s no guarantee of that.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
WEAVER: And I – what`s that?
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about – I agree with you. I understand the
numbers and your hope that you will be able to win over those
superdelegates. I understand it. I have heard Senator Sanders make that
point rather sharply.
But here`s the question. What`s the difference down the road, say, between
now and November if you guys – and I think you can do this – won in
California? Because that`s going to be the cherry on the sundae, if you
will, of your whole campaign. If you can in California, the biggest state
– and it`s a state that Democrats care about and always need in a general
If you can win there, what does that give you going into Philly you
wouldn`t have if you lose a squeaker out there? What does it give you in
terms of platform, perhaps participation in the campaign message Hillary
Clinton delivers further down the road? What does it give you if you win
WEAVER: Well, I think if we win California, it gives the senator certainly
a lot of momentum going into the convention to talk to the superdelegates
about the need to nominate the candidate who can best deal with Donald
Trump, which the polls, as you know, consistently show the past few months
Bernie Sanders does better than Donald Trump than does Secretary Clinton
There`s no – almost nothing that`s contrary to that. And so that`s one
element to it. And he`s going to go to the convention. Win or lose, he`s
going to go in. We`re going to talk about the platform. He`s very
interested in the platform and very interested in electoral reform, so that
the Democratic nominating process becomes more open and inclusive.
That`s certainly something that he feels very, very strongly about. So, on
MATTHEWS: How about a trade? I want to recommend a trade. Get rid of all
the caucuses, get rid of all the conventions in states and get rid of all
What a great trade. That would be a grand bargain. It would hurt the left
on some places, like the caucuses, but it would get rid of the damn
superdelegates. Wouldn`t you like a deal like that? Wouldn`t that be
great? Clean it up. Make it democratic, lower case-D. Wouldn`t that be
great? Every vote counts.
WEAVER: The senator will be advocating for a package of reforms.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that a great deal? But isn`t that a great deal, Jeff?
Isn`t that a great deal?
Make one person, one vote really matter in the Democratic Party? Wouldn`t
it be great?
WEAVER: That`s very important.
MATTHEWS: No more caucuses, no more conventions. Every vote matters, and
those superdelegates – I think it`s a deal.
What do you think?
WEAVER: OK. Well, we hope you will be there at the convention advocating
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re going to be there. I`m trying to work you already,
Jeff. I would like to see it. I want to clean up the party process.
WEAVER: I can see that.
MATTHEWS: I can`t stand these conventions. I don`t think they`re
democratic at all. And caucuses, they are great for people like us who
love politics. But so many people don`t show up.
Anyway, thank you, Jeff Weaver, who loves caucuses and hates
WEAVER: Glad to be here, Chris. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next, the roundtable is coming here to react to the
day we all thought wouldn`t happen so quickly certainly or even at all.
Donald Trump is now, look like – well, he is – the presumptive nominee
for president of the United States. It`s done.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Wild day today after a wild night.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Donald Trump has done it, what very few people thought he could do. He`s
won the nomination of the Republican Party after nine months of hurling
insults to immigrants, other politicians, journalists, of course, even the
pope, even Pope Francis.
And here for your recollection, some of the most unbelievable, I think,
moments of Trump`s campaign until now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its people,
they`re not sending their best. They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing
crime. They`re rapist.
He`s not war hero. He`s a war hero because he was captured. I like people
that weren`t captured.
You can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her
The pope says something negative about me. Now, it`s probably going to be
all over the world. Who the hell cares, OK? I don`t care. I don`t care.
I watch this lightweight Rubio, total lightweight. Little mouth on him.
Bing, bing, bing.
I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that in
place like this, they`d be carried out on a stretcher. I`d like to punch
him in the face, I`ll tell you.
His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being shot. I mean,
the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being
shot? And nobody even brings it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know that was just yesterday. This is all fresh meat, by
Joining me right now is the HARDBALL roundtable, Ron Klain, Democratic
strategist, who supports Hillary Clinton, Heidi Przybyla writes for “The
USA Today”, Tim Mack, senior correspondent for “The Daily Beast”.
Tim, every once in a while I get the feeling the door has been slammed in
this guy`s face. He can be president of the United States, accused his
opponent of his father killing Kennedy. And yet, that`s just another day
in the life of Donald Trump.
TIM MAK, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, I think every step along the way, a lot of
pundits, a lot of journalists said this can`t happen. Either the gaffes
would eliminate or when the field became smaller, that he`d be eliminated,
or the contested convention would eliminate him. And today, here we are
with a lot of egg on our face.
MATTHEWS: So, what`s happen to our zeitgeist, the way we look at things in
popular culture, do we just dismiss everything? I used to say that New
York radio was every two hours, had to be refreshed, because it`s always
moving. It`s like every ten minutes, it doesn`t matter what happened ten
minutes before, Heidi.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: I don`t know, Chris. I mean –
MATTHEWS: We have a memory for day, for two days.
PRZYBYLA: Honestly, part of it is just the jujitsu that Donald Trump was
done that was referenced earlier. He`s able to quickly pivot off these
more nefarious statements.
And, frankly, I think when this is all over, we the media, also need to
take a critical look at how we dealt with Donald Trump and the statements
he`s made that have not –
MATTHEWS: We tried to nail him down. I tried. I nailed him down a couple
Look, I just think, serious, yesterday, vehemently, he said on “Fox and
Friends”, on Fox, that Rafael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald
before the killing. This is a horrendous thing. It`s like an alarm.
Today when asked about it, he said I just mentioned something in the
This is the weird part – the ability to skip away from something as if he
didn`t say it.
RON KLAIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, I don`t want to underestimate the
success Donald Trump has had, but I don`t think we should overestimate it.
MATTHEWS: OK. What can he say that would kill him? What can he
potentially say –
KLAIN: The point is, what he has said has taken a toll. Maybe not with
Republican primary voters, minority but sufficient plurality of voters for
him to make their nominee, but he is the at least popular person in
American political life. I think what the voters who haven`t really had a
chance to weigh in, people who aren`t voting in Republican primaries start
to vote in the general election, this has taken a toll. And I don`t think
the American people are going to make him their next president.
He may be – he is the nominee of the Republican Party but that doesn`t
mean he will be president of the United States.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that. What about the Republicans who are backing
now? Like John McCain is backing him. Nikki Haley has backed him. Susan
Collins, Kelly Ayotte, a lot of who most of us consider very main street,
regular people, not zealots, not crazy people, solid political leaders.
One theory – his authenticity, his ability to speak against political
correctness, this stupid term, but just say awful things, somehow makes him
authentic. That gets him away – you know what I mean.
PRZYBYLA: Well, yes, but the other industry he`s blowing up is the D.C.
advisors because he hasn`t listened to them from the beginning. You see
that in a lot of comments he`s made.
He didn`t come out and say – try to hide the fact that he`s a billionaire.
He said I`m a billionaire. I`ve been inside this system. It`s corrupt. I
can go in there and rework it for you from the inside.
So, he didn`t try to misrepresent himself. I think his message also, you
know, coming back to it`s always about the economy, he made it very simple.
He said I`m going to get in there, I`m going to call up those executives
and tell them if they keep shipping jobs overseas, I`m going to slap them
with taxes or fines or whatever. And it was very simple message that spoke
KLAIN: Yes, but again, I think that message is being heard from good and
ill, and I think there`s a lot of ill there. He may be authentically
hateful towards Hispanic people, towards women, towards the pope. But, you
know, a lot of people like Hispanic people, women and the pope. He`s going
to pay a price for that.
MATTHEWS: A lot of people don`t believe he believes it.
KLAIN: Well –
MATTHEWS: That`s helped him, too. They think it`s a show. They think
it`s a con to some extent. Anyway, certainly, a pitch.
The roundtable is sticking with us. Up next, these three are going to tell
me something I don`t know, which is easy.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: You can play hardball with us all week long. Follow us on
@hardball and Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook. You`ll find
the show`s best interviews, exclusive behind the scenes photos and the
smartest take on politics and this race for 2016 which is about to be
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Ron, tell me something I don`t know.
KLAIN: Everyone`s all upset that Hillary Clinton lost last night. Barack
Obama lost nine of the last 12 contests in 2008 and went on to become the
Democratic nominee and the next president. I don`t think these late losses
have any impact on how she`s going do in the fall.
PRYZBYLA: Chris, we in D.C. –
MATTHEWS: That was the same with Jimmy Carter too. He won the nomination
and losing all the (INAUDIBLE)
KLAIN: It doesn`t matter.
PRZYBYLA: I feel like we in D.C. have a bit of caricature of the average
Trump voter. He`s this kind of angry, racist, white guy who sucker punches
people at rallies. But I was in West Virginia this past week, and I saw a
different side. West Virginia, by the way, is Trump country. He`s leading
by 27 points.
I saw a different side of this, which is sympathetic. This is the state
that has some of the highest overdose rates, drug addiction, babies born on
drugs. There`s a sympathetic side to this, too, that we have the
MAK: Trump claims to have raised $6 million for the veterans charities,
right before the Iowa caucuses.
MATTHEWS: I remember that.
MAK: I talked to his senior veterans advisers. They don`t know where that
is. He needs to be held account to precisely where that $6 million has
gone, how much of it they actually raised and whether or not it`s going to
be distributed –
MATTHEWS: Who is looking at this besides you? Anybody?
MAK: I think there had been a lot of outlets have been trying to track it
for a long time. I`ve been hammering it. A lot of other newspapers –
MATTHEWS: Keep it up.
Thank you, Ron Klain. Thank you, Heidi Przybyla. And thank you, Tim Mak.
HARDBALL is back after this.
MATTHEWS: OK. You`re going to be on the beach this summer and you`re
going to be in airplane soon and you want a book that you want to actually
read every page of because you can`t resist it.
Well, here it is. Our next guest has served an amazing career as a U.S.
Secret Service agent, from 1958 to `75. He worked under and protected
personally five presidents and his new book “Five Presidents: My
Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford”,
the great Clint Hill reflects into some of the most important and, of
course, tragic times in our history. And we know what we`re talking about.
Mr. Hill, this is the kind of book that everybody wants to read because
it`s the inside that you lived. You were protecting the president with you
life. I have to ask you the question, that Kennedy always said there`s a
reason people read these kind of books.
And I`ll start with Kennedy. What was he like?
CLINT HILL, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Oh, a great guy, very personable,
knew all the agents by their first name, call them by their name, knew if
they were married or had children, took a real definite interest in each of
every one of the agents that were involved.
MATTHEWS: What about Ike, the great war leader that won the Second World
War in the West?
HILL: We were kind of like his troops. He didn`t know our names, but he
said, “Hey, agent” whenever he needed anything from one of us, and we`d
respond. But he was a wonderful guy to schedule because if we told him we
had to leave at 9:30, he was there at 9:29, point 30.
MATTHEWS: Military man.
OK, let me ask you about Johnson? What was he like because he was kind of
gross at times? I`ve heard stories. Tell me what Johnson was like.
HILL: Very unpredictable.
HILL: You`d never knew what he was going do. His thought was that
surprise was his best defense.
HILL: So if he didn`t let anybody know what he was going to do, then he
was better off.
MATTHEWS: Yes, if somebody announced they were going to be named by him
for some big job and they put it out, they didn`t get the job.
HILL: That`s true.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Nixon, a strange guy most people think.
I`m not a Nixon hater. So, maybe I`m unique. I thought he was troubled. I
thought he was very smart. Kennedy thought he`s really smart. What did
HILL: He was smart but he had a split personality – public personality
and then a private one. He was a loner. (INAUDIBLE) established the
private office at EEOB.
MATTHEWS: Why did he go with the EEOB, the old building and not use the
Oval Office? Did you know?
HILL: He used the Oval Office, but most of the time, he`s at EEOB because
he wanted to be in that office alone and nobody would bother him there.
MATTHEWS: He had a pullout bar in his closet we found in the Carter
administration. We were going like, there`s Nixon`s pullout bar and it was
kind of strange.
HILL: Very strange. He had was a different kind of guy.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the assassination of Kennedy and you hear
today, this candidate today, Donald Trump saying that Cruz`s father had
something to do with. I mean, for me, it`s an iconic tragic event in our
history and I don`t like thinking about it. But, what do you think of it
HILL: Well, you know, apparently, this came from a photograph that was
taken in which somebody alleges was Cruz`s father in this photo.
HILL: Well, I think you and I have been in many photos where they could
make all kinds of allegations. There are people in a photo you probably
didn`t know who did some pretty horrible things probably at some time. So
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I think it`s a joke.
Let me ask you about the changing status of the president. When you went
in there as a young guy for Ike when Ike was there, the presidency was so
high to me. It was like the guy won World War II in the large extent, and
then he came in after Roosevelt and Trump, the presidency was to me
awesome. Is it still awesome?
HILL: In a sense, but it`s lost its kind of flavor. It`s not as – the
respect isn`t there like it used to be. With Eisenhower, it was worldwide,
the respect is just enormous, and I don`t think that`s the case today.
MATTHEWS: That`s too bad. That`s too bad, five presidents. My
extraordinary journey with – this is the kind of book you actually read
every page of because you want to know what these guys were like,
protecting them, and thank you for your service.
HILL: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You`re a great man to do this, Clint Hill.
It`s called “The Five Presidents.” So, this is HARDBALL. And that`s it
for tonight. Thanks for being with us.
Join us tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES”, of course, comes on right now.
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