Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/13/2016
Date: May 13, 2016
Guest: Abby Livingston, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Travis Weber, Anne Gearan,
Michael Tomasky, Margaret Carlson, Michael Tomasky, Anne Gearan, Mark
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Digging into Donald`s baggage.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Donald Trump`s baggage is exploding like a trunk load of Jack-in-the-boxes.
In a matter of hours, we`ve heard audiotapes of him pretending to be his
own PR guy, heard a former butler spew forth on the villainy of both Barack
Obama and Hillary Clinton, heard Trump`s unsavory chatter with Howard
Stern, and just today, that he won`t release his past or present tax
Did he, Donald Trump, when he decided on running for president, think none
of this would explode in his face, or did he not imagine he`d even get this
far, this close to actually being president?
Well, this week, there were multiple reminders of how much baggage that
nominee, Donald Trump, brings with him. There`s the 1991 audio obtained by
“The Washington Post” of a man who sounds awfully like Donald Trump
claiming to be Trump`s PR guy. There`s a renewed focus on his
conversations with Howard Stern over the years. There`s his insistence
that he won`t release his tax returns until after the election. As he said
today, “It`s none of your business.” And there`s the news yesterday that
Trump`s long – former long-time butler causally called for the killing of
the president of the United States.
We begin with that newly uncovered audio from 1991. The man in it calls
himself John Miller. “The Washington Post” reports he is Donald Trump.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your name again?
“JOHN MILLER”: John Miller.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You work with Donald?
MILLER: Yes. That`s correct.
He really decided that he wasn`t – you know, he didn`t want to make any
commitment. He didn`t want to make a commitment. He really thought it was
too soon. He`s coming out of a – you know, a marriage, and he`s – he`s
starting to do tremendously well financially. He`s somebody that has a lot
of options. And frankly, you know, he gets called by everybody. He gets
called by everybody in the book, in terms of women. He`s living with
Marla, and he`s got three other girlfriends. I`m sort of new here and I`m-
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your position?
MILLER: Well, I`m sort of handling PR because he gets so much of it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this morning on the “TODAY” show, Trump denied the man in
the audio was him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It was not me on the
phone. And it doesn`t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that,
and it was not me on the phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Robert Costa is a national reporter for “The Washington
Post” and MSNBC political analyst. David Corn is Washington bureau chief
for “Mother Jones” and an MSNBC political analyst, as well as my colleague,
Joy Reid. She`s here. She`s an MSNBC anchor.
Joy, you`re laughing already, so let`s talk about this. I guess we can all
assume, although we haven`t – I don`t think they`ve ever broken the case
here at NBC yet, but the fact is, most people would say that sounds like
Donald Trump pretending to be his flack.
And why would he – well, is this the kind of thing you do when you`re
preparing to run for president? No.
MATTHEWS: So what does this tell – I wonder if any of this stuff – we`re
going to go through all of it now – would have really stopped him from
being where he is right now. Do the American people who like Trump, that
minority that do, care about this one way or another?
JOY REID, MSNBC ANCHOR: You know, I don`t think they do. But it is
bizarre to watch this whole presidential race boil down to essentially the
MTV show “Catfish,” right, where you have this sort of George Wallace meets
reality show character who clearly did not live his life with any intent
whatsoever of ever being president of the United States. Otherwise, he
would have done a lot of things differently.
And you have somebody who seems to be so narcissistic that in order to
deflect bad media coverage, he pretends to be his own publicist. It`s just
weird. And I think that the thing that you`re going to start to see
MATTHEWS: Well, it worked, didn`t it?
MATTHEWS: – it was well known because he kept calling up and saying, This
guy`s really cool, this guy Trump.
MATTHEWS: You know?
REID: Yes, he–
MATTHEWS: Let me go to – let me go to Costa on this. Costa, Robert,
you`ve covered this guy to the point that probably as well as anybody, if
not better. And you`re trying to figure him out. Now, is there any
qualitative difference between the Trump who would call up tabloids of
whoever else he`s trying to get ink from, talking up this guy named Donald
Trump, like he`s a ventriloquist or something – Hey, this guy`s really
great – and the guy we`re watching tonight as a political figure? Is he
any different than that guy?
ROBERT COSTA, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Trump has
changed the political campaign and the way politics really functions in
this country because of the way he engages with the press. Early on, I was
always struck when I went to his office. He really read bylines in
different publications. He studied the press. He studied reporters.
And he really – and I asked him why he came to pile all this stuff on his
desk and look at the press that way. He said going back to the `80s and
the `90s, when this audio was recorded, he was someone who really did serve
as his own press officer, who realized the power of the press in shaping
his public image.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s been free, hasn`t it, Robert.
COSTA: It`s been a lot of coverage for him. And this goes back to the way
he really worked the New York tabloids–
COSTA: – in the 1980s.
MATTHEWS: Why is he denying that`s him on the phone there, on the phone
calling in on the greatness of Donald Trump? Why is he – why would he –
why wouldn`t he just say, There`s nothing wrong with what I did. I was a
little bit pushy, but you know, I was ambitious”? Why didn`t he just say
it and get it over with?
COSTA: I can`t read the mind of Donald Trump, but “The Post” stands by the
story. Sounds like Donald Trump. And this is something that has been
reported in the past as something he has done.
MATTHEWS: Well, you might say the other unsavory story from the Trump
world this week came from incendiary comments made by Trump`s long-time ex-
butler, Anthony Senecal. David Corn first reported on Facebook posts that
he made, Senecal made, about President Obama. NBC spoke with Senecal
yesterday. Let`s listen to the conversation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANTHONY SENECAL, TRUMP`S FORMER BUTLER: There`s more than some issues with
him. He`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor, T-R-A-I-T-O-R, traitor, period!
That`s the way I feel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so you think that that`s, I guess, what should be
done with traitors.
SENECAL: I think he ought to be hung. I think he should be hung. I think
he should be hung next to Hillary Clinton, and I think it should be public.
I think it should be televised. I think it ought to be done from the
portico of the White mosque. It used to be the White House.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s spokesman said yesterday Senecal no longer works
for Trump and they, quote, “totally and completely disavow” – the Trump
people do – the horrible statements made by this fellow regarding the
president of the United States.
David, good work. You scooped this thing. What do you think it means that
he had a – you imagine this butler must have been muttering along these
lines in the seven years ago when he worked for him for all those–
DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He`s his former
butler, but he`s been the informal historian at Mar-a-Lago since 2009 when
he wanted – when he retired as Butler and Trump begged him–
MATTHEWS: Is he paid?
CORN: – to stay on. He gets paid by the people he leads tours upon (ph).
And he`s been working there recently. So he still had an association with
And to me, there`s a lot going on here. I think Trump, you know, tells us
that he loves everybody, but he really is being sort of preaching a
demagoguery that seems to be enabling hatred. And there`s no–
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s the connection between what you just asserted there
– some people agree with you, many do – with what comes out about this
long-time 17-year experience–
CORN: I think Trump is enabling and helping people to express these –
these ideas, these hateful ideas and feeling that they`re now part of the
mainstream of political debate, just the way “Mother Jones,” also, I`m
proud of this week, were the first to report that he had a white
nationalist as a candidate for delegate in California. And that fellow
told us in an interview, See, I`m mainstream now. I want–
MATTHEWS: But did he ever – did Trump ever meet that guy?
CORN: I don`t know, but the campaign officially picked him, then they
said, We made a mistake–
MATTHEWS: Joy, your reaction to all this. Does this mix in with who Trump
REID: Absolutely, it does. Remember, Donald Trump, before he was a
politician, was a guy who ran a real estate empire that was sued by the
federal government for racial discrimination in housing. He ran apartments
in New York that refused to rent to black people. And he was sued for it
and had to settle with the federal government.
Donald Trump, when I experienced him as somebody who lived in New York in
the late 1980s, early 1990s, was a guy who called for the Central Park
five, who were falsely accused of gang rape, to be executed and that the
death penalty should be reinstated in New York for them and took out full-
page ads to that effect.
Donald Trump has been saying racially incendiary things since the late
`80s. Just because he hung around Mike Tyson doesn`t mean that African-
Americans haven`t know who this guy has been for a long, long time.
Even in his more petty role, as somebody who was the head of “The
Apprentice,” the host of that TV show, he hedged about giving the first
African-American winner the sole victory. He wanted him to share it with a
woman who happened to be white. And Randall Pinkett (ph) had to object to
that. Randall Pinkett is now leading the group of former “Apprentice” cast
members who are all African-American who are saying this guy`s unfit to be
He has had racially incendiary personal views that go back to the 1980s and
1990s. We know who this guy is. We need to just remind people. He`s a
birther. He`s somebody who has expressed that the president couldn`t have
possibly been smart enough to go to Harvard, that he couldn`t have written
his law review articles. He said that Mexican migrants are rapists.
We know who Donald Trump is.
MATTHEWS: By the way, just to further go in the direction you were going
there, the “wilding” – people who were arrested for the wilding incident
were all acquitted. Something–
MATTHEWS: – by the way – something else from his past that could haunt
Trump, Donald Trump, his frequent guest appearances on the Howard Stern
Let`s listen to a bit of him on Stern.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I never get this thing with Lady Di.
I know you`re very gracious of her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: No, no. I`ll tell you what. I think she`s magnificent. Lady Di
was truly a woman with great beauty. (INAUDIBLE)
STERN: You would have slept with her.
TRUMP: – a couple of times–
STERN: Would you have slept with her?
TRUMP: Without even hesitation. She had the height. She had the beauty.
She had the skin, the whole thing. She was crazy, but you know, these are
TRUMP: You know who`s really changed? Nicollette Sheridan. I think she`s
a solid 4.
STERN: OK, now–
TRUMP: She was an 8. She wasn`t a 10.
TRUMP: No, she went from being very flat-chested – I view a person who`s
flat-chested as very hard to be a 10, OK?
STERN: If Angelina Jolie is a 5, what is Jennifer Aniston?
TRUMP: I`d say she`s a 6 or a 7.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow! Who – who`s a 9?
TRUMP: Howard, my standards are very high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh! OK, let me go to Robert Costa on this. Let`s get back to
politics (INAUDIBLE) I never understood exactly the Stern appeal, except
they may be young – I don`t know who they are. I`m not going to say.
They weren`t married guys. They weren`t mature people. Let`s put it that
way – now, my sense of immature guys listening to Stern. But he has a
Is that part of Trump`s – just trying to take out the language and even
the topics. Is that part of his self-promotion? What would he get out of
doing Stern, politically or commercially? What would he – what was he up
to there, doing that show?
COSTA: Politically, right now, you look at the Howard Stern audience, it
reminds me a lot of the Rush Limbaugh audience just in terms of its reach.
It`s a subculture all on its own, and it`s a widespread one, one that
doesn`t often get mainstream attention. And that working class ethic that
Stern audience has, that – those are the kind of people, especially in
certain Rust Belt states and the Northeast – they`ve really connected with
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about that. Tell me about Stern. I don`t know
anything about it. What`s the audience like?
CORN: Well, you know, I think you can – they`re people going for crude.
I mean, he was the – he was during the beginning of the crudification of
the media. And he took pride in going past these, you know–
MATTHEWS: – Don Imus crossed the line a few times and got in trouble for
MATTHEWS: – Stern always crossed the line, right?
CORN: Yes, that was the point, crossing the line and talking about sex and
really objectifying women over and over. I found some clips of Donald
Trump on the show where they`re talking about J.Lo`s backside and whether
it`s too big or not.
CORN: And then he asked a question, if Melania was in a car accident,
would you still love her? And Stern asked – and Trump asked, well, what
about her breasts? Are her breasts injured?
I mean, again and again, he`s accepting and enabling and validating Stern.
He says it was all in good fun because Stern was his buddy. But you got to
look at this – and this is why he`s unfavorable with – you know, with
women much more than men–
MATTHEWS: These tapes–
CORN: – and a lot of women haven`t even heard this stuff.
MATTHEWS: Well, they`re going to hear it now.
MATTHEWS: It sounded like Trump took a page from his supporter, Governor
Chris Christie, when he was asked by George Stephanopoulos about his tax
returns. George asked him, What rate do you pay? Watch his reaction here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Do you believe voters have a right to see
your tax returns before they make a final decision?
TRUMP: I don`t think they do. But I do say this. I will really gladly
give them. They`re not going to learn anything. But it`s under routine
audit. When the audits ends, I`m going to present them. That should be
before the election. I hope it`s before the election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It`s none of your business. You`ll see it when I release. But I
fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Joy, that was a brutal counterpunch, that “none of your
business.” It did remind me of a – of Governor Christie talking to that
woman on the radio show. What do you make of that reaction? Maybe that is
the sensible – sensitive point. He doesn`t want to talk about his rate.
Sounded like it.
REID: Yes. Well, I`ll bet Mitt Romney wishes he could have just said that
and gotten away with it when he was running in 2012.
Look, even Richard Nixon released his tax returns. The Clintons – the
Clintons have released 35 years or something of their tax returns. But
this is Donald Trump saying he doesn`t have to follow even the most basic
norms of pursuing the presidency.
And I think we have to remind ourselves once again – Abraham Lincoln,
Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, hero of
World War II – these are the people who have occupied the office of
president of the United States. We have a current president who is as
urbane and intellectual as a person could possibly be, as degreed as a
person could possibly be.
The idea that someone this crude, frankly, is viable as president of the
United States really shouldn`t be an examination of Donald Trump. We need
to examine ourselves. What is going on in this country that this person,
who you just listened to those recordings of, is viable as president of the
MATTHEWS: OK. Robert Costa, David Corn, Joy Reid.
Coming up, the Obama administration orders public schools across the
country to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
It`s the latest flashpoint in the culture wars in this country, and
already, it`s triggering a backlash from the right, the far right
Plus, would Hillary Clinton be more willing to use military force around
the world than President Obama? We`ve got the author of a new book who
argues that Clinton would be much more of a hawk than President Obama.
He`s coming here to make his case.
And the HARDBALL roundtable`s coming to us tonight to cap off what has been
a wild week in politics as the Republican Party starts to line up behind
their nominee and why the scandals seem to trail the Clintons but bounce
off Trump. Seems like it.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with a man who clearly didn`t spend his life
preparing to run for president. You know who I`m talking about.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Former House speaker John Boehner was at his candid best
Thursday when he sat down for a discussion with MSNBC contributor Steve
Rattner (ph) at a conference out in Las Vegas. Boehner and Rattner hit on
a wide range of topics, one of them, of course, being Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE RATTNER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Let me give you a few of Donald Trump`s
policies and you tell me is you disagree or agree. Temporarily ban Muslims
from the country.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO, FMR. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No.
RATTNER: Build a wall across with Mexico.
RATTNER: Tear up a bunch of trade agreements and put 35 percent tariffs on
RATTNER: This neo-isolationist “America first” foreign policy articulated
in his speech in Washington a couple weeks ago.
BOEHNER: Not quite my style.
Then why are you for him?
BOEHNER: The point is, is that while I was for some other people, they
didn`t win, and Donald Trump`s going to be the nominee. And we as a party
are going to have to figure out, All right, how do we get our act together?
How do we get on the same page, and how do we win?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Obama administration issued a
warning today to all public schools in the country that transgender
students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room of the
student`s choice or risk the loss of federal money.
Well, critics like Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick say the order
tramples on states` rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: President Obama, in the dark of the
night, without consulting Congress, without consulting educators, without
consulting parents decides to issue an executive order forcing transgender
policies on schools and on parents who clearly don`t want it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Patrick said – that`s the lieutenant governor – that
Texas would forfeit the $10 billion it receives rather than comply, telling
the Associated Press, quote, “We will not be blackmailed by the president`s
30 pieces of silver.”
Well, joining me now is Abby Livingston, Washington bureau chief for “The
Abby, thank you for joining – what is the mood in Texas about this? I`m
trying to figure it out, how the country has gotten so hot on this issue,
from the right especially?
ABBY LIVINGSTON, “TEXAS TRIBUNE”: It`s restive. And you have to remember
the context of this is the Texas Republican convention. So you have within
a five-block radius the most conservative of conservative Texans all
rallying behind this.
And so it is everywhere you turn around at this convention, even to the
point that there were signs in the ladies room advocating for the state
chairman`s race on this particular issue.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, what are the – because my question about
it is – and I don`t want to be lighthearted because it`s a serious human
rights issue to most people, the way they look at it.
My question is this, is, if someone who is identifying as female, for
example, dressed as female, made up as female, whatever, the manner or
whatever presentation, comes off as female, why would they want to go into
a men`s room? That would cause chaos.
In other words, if you follow to the letter this North Carolina dictum, it
would seem to be chaotic. What room were they telling them to go to, the
one that they look like they belong or the one that they don`t look like
they belong in? Dead serious here. What is their recommendation to the
transgender person, except to go away?
LIVINGSTON: I haven`t heard much in the forms of recommendations.
What has commonly come up in the discussions on this is, we don`t want boys
running into the girl`s restroom. We want to protect our female students.
MATTHEWS: I understand that. Yes. Yes, go ahead.
LIVINGSTON: That`s the focus of this. And so that`s what I have seen.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, thank you so much, Abby Livingston of “The Texas
Tribune” down in Dallas.
Joining me right now is Travis Weber of the Family Research Council and
Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, who is featured in the E! Network series
“I Am Cait” with Caitlyn Jenner.
Jenny, you and Caitlyn recently took on the issue of transgender bathroom
choice on the show. Let`s watch a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “I AM CAIT”)
CAITLYN JENNER, FORMER OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: But, certainly, when it
comes to trans issues, I`m going to be on the same fight as them. We can
walk into a bathroom. Yes, I`m certainly not going into the men`s room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want America to know that trans people are just
looking to do the same thing in the bathroom. No one is taking any time to
meet or greet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Jenny, straighten this out from both sides. Tell me what you
think about this. What are we supposed to think about the logic and the
traffic management, if you will, of where people of different identities,
gender identities, should go when they go to the bathroom in public places
like schools. What are they supposed to do?
JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN, TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST: I don`t think this is about
bathrooms at all. I think it`s about equal rights.
Transgender people don`t want special rights. We want equal protection
under the law. And mostly what we want is to be left alone. And if we
can`t be left alone, we`d like to be treated with love. You don`t want me
in a men`s room.
And you know how to create that perfect situation? Just stop. Stop coming
up with these laws. Stop causing trouble where there is no trouble.
There`s been no reported signs of any incidents over the last several
And, by the way, a law very much like the one which President Obama put
into action last night has been on the books in California for two-and-a-
half years now with no incidents whatsoever. So, I say maybe these people
are really not trying. Maybe the issue is really not bathrooms at all.
Maybe they`re – because now gay men and lesbians can get married, and
they`re no longer the whipping boys and whipping girls in this country, now
maybe they`re trying to rile up people against transgender people. And
it`s not right and it`s not fair.
MATTHEWS: Travis, tell Jenny what bathroom she should use. Which one
should she should?
TRAVIS WEBER, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Yes. I mean, I`m not sure.
MATTHEWS: Well, just answer that question.
WEBER: I think people should use–
MATTHEWS: She should she would not be comfortable or not – cause a
problem if she walked into a men`s room. Should she walk into a men`s
WEBER: I think we can do things the way we have done them for decades and
people could use bathrooms according to biological sex, with specific
accommodation made for people who have a genuine issue. If we look at the
North Carolina law, it made an accommodation. People are happy with that,
MATTHEWS: Let`s just talk about transgender people. What should a
transgender person who identifies as a woman do? What bathroom should they
go to? Just keep it simple.
MATTHEWS: You can`t answer the question, can you? What should they do?
WEBER: They can use the bathroom of their biological sex, except when
there`s a genuine issue and an accommodation can be made.
MATTHEWS: What does that mean?
WEBER: Well, there`s someone who actually does have gender dysphoria and
MATTHEWS: Has what?
WEBER: Gender dysphoria.
WEBER: It`s a medical condition related to this issue, because the issue
contains a host of problems. The law allows for people to show up and say
my gender expression is the opposite sex.
This allows for abuse. And all of a sudden you have a lot of problems.
MATTHEWS: What would be the abuse?
WEBER: A boy who says I`m expressing myself as a girl, locker room is open
to them under the Obama administration`s decree today.
MATTHEWS: What would be the worst case?
WEBER: Well, the worst case is what we`re going to have under the Obama`s
administration guidance which is purporting to be law today, which is that
you`re going to have boys around the country saying I`m a girl today.
MATTHEWS: Where has this ever happened?
FINNEY BOYLAN: That is never going to happen.
MATTHEWS: When has it ever happened?
WEBER: It`s already happening in school districts out in the West.
FINNEY BOYLAN: No, it`s not.
MATTHEWS: Give me the example.
WEBER: You have girls who are uncomfortable.
MATTHEWS: What school district?
WEBER: This is Palatine High School in the Chicago area. You have girls
who are uncomfortable there sufficient to band together and sue.
MATTHEWS: No, no, I`m asking, where has a boy used a guise of transgender
rights and dignity to go into the wrong bathroom? Where has that ever
WEBER: Well, OK, in University of Toronto. The gender-neutral bathroom
policy, a guy was in there filming the girls. This does happen.
FINNEY BOYLAN: The gender-neutral policy in Canada, that`s the best you
I mean, look, this is a solution in search of a problem. And what I would
suggest that we do is what my mother, a Republican evangelical Christian
suggested we do, which is open your hearts.
Travis, if you had a child who was transgender – and I`m glad you
recognize the existence of gender dysphoria as a real condition that many
of us face. We don`t deserve to be humiliated. We don`t deserve to be
treated with anything other than love.
And this is not going to open the door to boys in girls bathrooms. That`s
a hallucination which the right has come up with in order to scare people.
And it`s not necessary. Even better would be if we simply open our hearts
and treat each other with kindness and with the respect and dignity that we
all deserve as citizens of this country.
MATTHEWS: What should Jenny do if she was living or visiting North
Carolina right now? Should she go to the men`s room? Should she? Answer
the question. You`re dodging the toughest question here, which is, what do
you want people to behave like?
WEBER: It`s not a matter of what I want.
MATTHEWS: What should she do?
WEBER: In North Carolina–
MATTHEWS: She should go to the men`s room?
WEBER: Actually, a private business can do whatever they want regarding
MATTHEWS: I`m at the airport.
WEBER: An accommodation can be made to protect the privacy of the student.
MATTHEWS: Can you answer the question? Should Jenny go to the men`s room
or the ladies room?
WEBER: Well, she can use an accommodation bathroom that is a single-use
bathroom that would protect the privacy interests of the students and the
MATTHEWS: Let her respond to that.
Does that mean anything to you, Jenny? I`m sorry.
FINNEY BOYLAN: That is gobbledygook. That means nothing.
I`m a woman. I have an F on my driver`s license. I have the anatomy of a
woman. But because my birth certificate says M, I would have to go to the
men`s room. And that makes me unsafe.
And transgender people do not deserve to be made more unsafe. We`re
talking about a small, but unfairly maligned group of people who want to be
left alone. We wish to be treated like anybody else. And that`s what the
Obama administration`s policy does.
It says that Title IX applies to transgender people as well. It`s not new
ground. It`s just saying that we are covered by the law.
MATTHEWS: OK. I think we have to end it.
WEBER: Well, let me just say, I agree with her that everyone should be
treated with love and respect. That`s a human basic.
It`s a human basic. And many people have different issues. They`re not
arguing – disrespectful. People love people and have different views on
human sexuality that is motivating a lot of this discussion.
MATTHEWS: It just seems odds to me that you would want Jenny to show up in
the men`s room you go to. You think that would be appropriate?
Would you say that is appropriate?
WEBER: It`s a matter of sorting out–
MATTHEWS: A simple question. Should Jenny go to your men`s room? Yes or
WEBER: We have to protect the privacy interests of people on both sides.
MATTHEWS: See, you`re dodging this question. It`s a tricky question.
FINNEY BOYLAN: He is dodging the question. It is a simple question. I
will be the lady`s room. Thanks very much.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, both. Thank you, both. I think you had very
different persons. And we have heard them both.
Travis Weber, thank you.
Jenny, thank you. And I`m rooting for you, Jennifer Finney Boylan.
Anyway, up next, a preview of this coming general election matchup and the
question, why does scandal seem to stick to the Clintons while it rolls off
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And what about his
taxes? So, we will get around to that too, because when you run for
president, especially when you become the nominee, that is kind of
My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns. We got eight years
on our Web site right now. You got to ask yourself, why doesn`t he want to
release them? Yes, well, we`re going to find out.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: What is your tax rate?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is none of your business.
You will see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Hillary Clinton says she wants to see Donald Trump`s tax returns. And
Trump tells George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” that his tax
rate is none of George`s business.
Well, it`s not the only controversy dogging Trump today. As we mentioned
earlier, “The Washington Post” on audio recordings of Trump posing as his
own publicist back in the early `90s. Trump denied that the voice was his.
And he did so on “The Today Show.”
Well, meanwhile, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that the Clinton Global
Initiative set up a $2 million financial commitment that benefited a for-
profit company part-owned by people with ties to the Clintons, including a
current and a former Democratic official and a close friend of former
President Bill Clinton.
Here is former President Clinton reacting on a rope line yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, Regarding the “Wall Street Journal” report, did
the CGI break the law?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I haven`t had a
chance to read it carefully, but I think my foundation, whatever, is
QUESTION: Do you deny that the CGI broke the law in any way?
CLINTON: Oh, God yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable.
Margaret Carlson is a columnist with Bloomberg View. And Michael Tomasky
is with The Daily Beast and Anne Gearan is a correspondent with “The
Anne, you wanted to talk about tax things first. This has been sort of a
quadrennial thing. Politicians have to show the tax returns, but not
ANNE GEARAN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, sure.
It has become–
MATTHEWS: Or Bernie.
GEARAN: Or Bernie yet, although he says he will. And they`re just–
MATTHEWS: Jane is working on them.
GEARAN: Jane is working on them. She`s been busy, he says.
But, I mean, of all parties, right, going back to–
MATTHEWS: You`re a major – you write the main bar pieces for a major
paper, a metropolitan paper.
Why do we, meaning the great royal we of American political world, want to
see tax returns? What do they tell us about the candidate?
GEARAN: A couple things.
It tells you the candidate is just like you. They have got to put on their
pants legs one at a time. They have to do their taxes every year. They
got to submit their taxes. It isn`t a particularly revealing look at
someone`s true financial picture. It gives you an idea–
MATTHEWS: Tells you how much money they give away.
GEARAN: It tells you how much money they give away. What their gross
income is. What their tax rate is. Whether they have been prudent to some
degree with their investments. That sort of thing.
It gives a picture of someone`s sort of overall financial prudence.
MATTHEWS: And if you saw a bunch of them, like 10 of them in a row, you
would probably be able to figure out the wealth of somebody, because wealth
is a combination of all your income, I think, except you don`t take the
capital gains, so maybe money growing all over the place.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, they can hide their wealth pretty
well. But one thing that you can learn is the effective tax rate.
The key word is the effective tax rate.
MATTHEWS: He didn`t like that question from George.
TOMASKY: No, he didn`t like that question at all.
In other words, there`s stated published tax rates. And then you take your
deductions and you hire your fancy lawyers and you come out with an
effective tax rate. The average American pays, I think, 20, 22 percent.
Mitt Romney, if I recall correctly, we learned in 2012 paid about 14
percent effective tax rate.
MATTHEWS: Could the problem be that his wealth is in buildings and
ownership? And if you go out there and tell everybody you`re worth $11
billion, they expect you to pay a lot of taxes. And he could be – first
of all, he could not be taking the money in earnings. He may be saying,
oh, I`m just throwing it back in or keeping the money tied up all the time.
MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Well, the things the tax
returns tell you are the things he doesn`t want us to know that he hasn`t
MATTHEWS: Charitable giving.
CARLSON: His charitable rate, whether he pays more than Howard – the
billionaire Howard Buffett`s secretary.
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, Warren Buffett.
CARLSON: Because his rate may be way down there. Does he have money in
the Cayman Islands, like Mitt Romney?
An Bloomberg View editor, Tim O`Brien, wrote a biography of Trump. He was
sued by Trump. And one of the things that came out finally was Trump`s tax
returns. But he said they were so redacted, it looked like a crossword
puzzle. And so you really–
MATTHEWS: Redacted, with all the good stuff is crossed out.
CARLSON: All the black stuff.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you if all this stuff adds up.
If you add up, won`t turn out his tax returns, won`t turn them in, posing
as this guy John Martin or whoever, John Barron, whatever the name is, as
his own flack, his own P.R. guy.
If the thing – sort of the potty talk on “Stern” and all that sort of
stuff, if you knew all that stuff, would he still be any further back in
line than he is now, Anne? I don`t think it would have affected his voters
at all. But you tell me.
GEARAN: No, going back – looking backwards, apparently not.
MATTHEWS: If they had known it all up front.
GEARAN: Because equivalent stuff hasn`t seemed to affect him.
What Democrats are certainly hoping is that going forward when he is going
to try to appeal to a larger audience, that this stuff does start to
matter. Particularly on the taxes, I think he is giving Hillary Clinton a
MATTHEWS: Flipping it over, Mike, what about the Clinton CGI money going
to somebody they like. I don`t know where you – I don`t how much
discrimination they`re allowed to show in these investments, these
contributions to worthwhile causes.
TOMASKY: Yes, I don`t know. I don`t know what to make of that story. I
don`t think we have enough context to really judge that story yet.
But I would say this. I think that – I have always thought that the
foundation is going to hang around. It`s going to hover around as a story
for the Clintons. There`s probably going to be more things that are going
to come out. They may not be big things individually.
But I have long thought that the Clintons should make some kind of
statement about guidelines that the foundation will operate under in the
MATTHEWS: But they`re not giving it away. This is a big part of their
legacy. They`re not giving it up. Right?
TOMASKY: No, no, no, not at all. And they don`t need to, they don`t need
CARLSON: Also, this is a little like Donald Trump`s tax returns. They
don`t want to know too much about the foundation, where the money has gone.
Remember, there were confluences between Bill Clinton`s speeches, who was
getting money, Hillary Clinton`s secretary of state. And they don`t want
They brought in Donna Shalala to organize it, to organize it in a very –
more professional way.
MATTHEWS: Well, she`s clean as a whistle, so that was a good decision.
It`s hard to fix everything overnight, though, isn`t it?
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, these three will
tell me something I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with HARDBALL round table.
The first to tell me something I don`t know is Margaret Carlson.
MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Chris, in South Carolina Donald Trump
blamed the Mitt Romney/Ryan loss specifically on Paul Ryan, and reviewed
and brought up that wheelchair ad in which the dark suited man is pushing
the old lady over the cliff because of entitlement reform. So, this
difficulty with Paul Ryan goes back a while. He doesn`t want to lose on
Paul Ryan`s platform.
MATTHEWS: Everybody talks entitlement reform but it`s always dangerous.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Puerto Rico, the shining stars they used
to say in TV ads will be an important primary this year. Nobody is focused
on it. We never, ever talk about it. It`s going to happen two days before
California and New Jersey and the rest of them vote on a Sunday, a lot of
delegates, 60 delegates.
MATTHEWS: That`s good for Puerto Rico because they`re in this financial
TOMASKY: That`s right. And 60 delegates at stake. It`s a big, big
number. And the way she has been winning –
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) get votes.
TOMASKY: I can`t answer that, metaphysically.
TOMASKY: Listen, she`s going to net 20.
MATTHEWS: I can never figure out Guam, for example. How`s Guam doing?
It`s nice to know but what relevant is it?
TOMASKY: She`s going to net 20 delegates.
ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Clinton is now campaigning in more
places and more heavily for his wife than she is campaigning for herself.
If travel is your guide, he`s going to be in Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands over the next two days. In the last two days he`s done six events
in two states. She did one in one state. After he does Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands, he`s going to spend five days on the road in California
and new Mexico.
MATTHEWS: He`s still not allowed to make news. He`s gagged.
MATTHEWS: He doesn`t want to. Stay away from the rope line.
Anyway, Margaret Carlson, Michael Tomasky, and Anne Gearan.
Coming up, if Hillary Clinton becomes more president, will we see a more
hawkish administration than what we`ve seen from President Obama?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: General David Petraeus is fed up with the anti-Muslim bigotry
that some say has stained our political discourse. The former CIA director
and U.S. army general wrote an op-ed in “The Washington Post”, voicing his
concern over the danger of this rhetoric poses to our country. While never
naming Donald Trump, it is clear where his words of condemnation are aimed.
Petraeus writes, “I have grown increasingly concerned about inflammatory
political discourse that`s become far too common both at home and abroad
against Muslims and Islam, including proposals from various quarters, from
blanket discrimination against people on the basis of their religion. As
policy, these concepts are totally counterproductive. Rather than making
our country safer, they will compounds the grave terrorist danger to our
citizens. As ideas, they are toxic and indeed non-biodegradable – a kind
of poison that once released into our body politic, is not easily
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Could we see a more hawkish administration and U.S. foreign policy if
Hillary Clinton wins the White House in 2016? As “New York Times” reporter
Mark Landler recently wrote, quote, “Clinton`s affinity for the armed
forces rooted is a lifelong belief that the calculated use of military
power is vital to the defending of our national interests.”
That`s quite the contrasting from that of her boss, President Obama. Back
in March during a town hall, I asked Hillary Clinton what she thought about
enforcing regime change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think, quickly, of the whole history of the United
States in your lifetime of knocking off leaders, whether it`s Mossadegh in
Iran, Guatemala, or knocking off Allende in Chile, or knocking Patrice
Lumumba in the Congo, knocking off Trujillo, who else have I missed? We`ve
been doing this a long time, that`s why I`m skeptical.
What is your view of all those assassinations, all those attempts to change
the history of other countries? Should we be doing that kind of thing,
knocking off leaders? Diem, we knocked him off.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don`t think – in the
vast majority of cases, the answer is no. But, you know, there`s always
historical games you could play. If somebody could have assassinated
Hitler before he took over Germany, would that have been a good thing or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Mark Landler is here with me. He`s just written a new
book, “Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle
Over American Power.”
Now, everybody`s going to find this fascinating. What did you make of her
response to my question? I thought she`d say something like, oh, that was
a bad part of our Cold War history. We shouldn`t have knocked off those
guys. No, she said, we could have gotten Hitler.
MARK LANDLER, AUTHOR, “ALTER EGOS”: Yes. No, I zeroed in on that very
last piece of it, because she was almost pushing back on what you were
saying and saying, there is rationale for this kind of thing. I think
that`s what you saw during the first term of the Obama administration where
she sort of functions as a house hawk.
But more than even just being a hawk. She also was the person who was the
most willing to see interventions ending with a good outcome. And that`s
what made her very different than President Obama who I think generally
viewed interventions as ending with a bad outcome.
MATTHEWS: How do you figure that with the fact she grew up sort of as a
young woman with the Vietnam War all around her, watching all these guys
getting drafted and the killing of – the horrible killing that went on in
Vietnam? Most people said that was overreach, we tried to stake over a
country, we tried to run it, we should have limited our intervention. Yet
you say she believes in positive intervention.
LANDLER: I think she does. And I think if you go back and look at that
Vietnam experience, which I tried to again in this book is, you know, she
actually had a sort of interesting history with Vietnam. She wasn`t
fervently opposed and passionately opposed the way some anti-Vietnam
And to some extent, her opposition was rooted in fears of things like, was
the president abusing his executive authority when he did the secret
bombing in Cambodia? That was something that really interested her back
when she was an intern in Washington. I think though the difference is,
she still defaults to a belief that American intervention is fundamentally
can be a good thing. It doesn`t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
And the contrast I draw and I draw it through the entire book is that Obama
having spent a childhood in a very different place, some of it in
Indonesia, simply had a different view of America`s role and generally
thought these interventions didn`t end well. And then, of course, the Iraq
war, for him a formative foreign policy experience, probably the most
important one he had and the one he brought into office with him, whereas
she had seen some things work out well. The Balkan interventions.
MATTHEWS: Well, her key decision politically, which hurt her in the 2008
race was supporting the authorization for going to war in Iraq. How did
she turn on that over the months and years since then and before that? How
did she get to that decision, how has she reviewed it since?
LANDLER: Well, look, first of all, she`s acknowledged it was a mistake.
MATTHEWS: What`s that mean, though? What`s mistake mean?
LANDLER: OK, she acknowledged it was a mistake because she said she wasn`t
given access –
MATTHEWS: That`s not a mistake.
LANDLER: – to the full intelligence dossier, right? The point is she
read the full NIE that talked about whether Saddam had weapons of mass
destruction or not.
MATTHEWS: But did he have nuclear weapons? No evidence has suggested we
knew or thought he did but they sold it.
LANDLER: That`s right. So, the bottom line is she sort of hung it around
being deceived by the administration when the argument is she probably
didn`t do adequate due diligence to figure out the truth for herself.
MATTHEWS: Why (INAUDIBLE)
LANDLER: I think it was a combination of what I said earlier, which is her
own instincts. Plus, you have to also acknowledge, New York senator, post-
9/11, worried about her own –
LANDLER: Precisely. And worried about her own possible –
MATTHEWS: How about being a woman? It`s hard to do the psycho babble.
Does she feel as a woman, she has to prove herself extra-tough? Like more
of a hawk than a regular male candidate?
LANDLER: I think that was probably true in the Senate certainly. But I
almost feel at this point it`s now more a matter of what she of her
reflexes or instincts and it`s a less of pose. Maybe it was more of a pose
early on. I think now, it`s much more –
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. Mark I think you got it. I think she`s tough. I
think she`s going to be a strong president if she gets in there. Look out,
Anyway, “Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight
Struggle Over American Power.”
When we return, let me finish with a man who clearly didn`t spend his life
preparing to run for president, you know who I`m talking about.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. A number of politicians fit
the stereotype we all remember from school. They decide from an early age,
their middle teens, they want to go into politics. They have a role model
in mind – John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, you name it – and set about a
They settle on a college that will give them the right brand, a major state
university for the more democratic touch and Ivy League school to set them
up and apart. They major in political science, run for student government,
all with an eye for law school and with it, a slipstream for running for
public office. Oh, yes, they try to keep their nose clean as we used to
say so they could breeze into politics without anyone having anything good
This I can say without any dispute is not the way Donald Trump built his
life prior to running for president. He was married a couple of times,
bragging about himself as an attractive partner, chatted away on “The
Howard Stern Show”, and, oh, yes, he paid the least amount of federal
income taxes as he could legally get away with, because he said so. And
just to prove he wasn`t conniving the run for office, he seems to have
wildly masqueraded as his own publicity agent even to the point of using
Well, none of this is the usual foreplay for seeking the approval of the
majority of the American voters. The usually model of a budding pol is to
be as straight and as boring as one can, avoiding any behavior that might
be called interesting much less colorful. I`m not sure how to whale this
flotsam and jetsam that`s washed ashore except to say, had it washed ashore
a year ago, I doubt it would have stopped or slowed the Trump bandwagon now
headed to Cleveland.
Now, I`m not at all sure what most Americans are looking for in the next
president is boredom, and I think it might well be the opposite, which
explains why we could well elect, for better or worse, despite hell or high
water, a president with a past.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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