Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 6/16/2016
Date: June 16, 2016
Guest: Colleen McCain Nelson, Michael Steel, Indira Lakshmanan, Cory
Booker, Heidi Przybyla, Steve McMahon, Dianne Feinstein
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump alone.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Well, tonight, the man who will be the Republican candidate for president
of this country stands on a mountain, high up there and alone. All around
him is the open space normally filled by the new friends that show up for
the spoils of victory. Is that because they see no victory coming?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CARD, FMR. GEORGE W. BUSH WH CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, my fear is that
Donald Trump is the head of the narcissist party, rather than the head of
the Republican Party right now. I think that he`s being very selfish.
SEN. MARK KIRK (R), ILLINOIS: I do not support Hillary Clinton, and I told
the public that I do not support Donald Trump, either. I think he`s too
bigoted and racist for the Land of Lincoln.
REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: We`ve got a long way to go, but it seems to
a lot of us that the train is off the track. Not a lot of happy campers in
terms of how this race is proceeding so far.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s painful. You
know, people even get divorces. You know, I mean, sometimes, things come
about that – that – look, I`m sorry that this has happened, but I mean,
we`ll see where it ends up. It`s – I`m not making any final decision yet.
But at this point, I just can`t do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump`s response to all that? Who cares.
Yesterday, he told supporters in Atlanta Republican leaders need to be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The Republicans –
honestly, folks, our leaders – our leaders have to get tougher. Our
leaders have to get a lot tougher! And be quiet. Just please be quiet.
Don`t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet, to the leaders, because they
have to get tougher. They have the get sharper. They have to get smarter.
We have to have our Republicans either stick together, or let me just do it
by myself. I`ll do very well. I`m going to do very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me do it by myself.
Perhaps the most troubling figure for Trump right now is the number 70.
According to the latest “Washington Post”/ABC poll, that`s his national
unfavorable rating. It`s an historic high for a major party`s nominee for
By comparison, Hillary Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of
voters, which is also her highest negative number to date. Can Trump turn
Robert Costa`s national political reporter for “The Washington Post” and an
MSNBC political analyst. Michael Steele`s the former chair of the
Republican National Committee and an MSNBC political analyst. And Steve
McMahon is a Democratic strategist.
Robert, I – you`ve been covering this guy for an awful long time. And I
guess my question – is this the final plan of the Republican Party to
basically say, You don`t like Hillary, vote for this guy, because all we
got on the Republican side is a very high number, somewhere close to 50, of
negativity toward Hillary, or more?
ROBERT COSTA, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, there`s a
sense within the party that Trump is not of the party, that he is just
running for Trump. And some of them are comfortable with that. They think
he can rouse working class voters and his populism and celebrity could draw
some people to the polls. But there`s not an embrace of bringing him into
fold and of people trying to get into the Trump camp. There`s a sense that
his is going to go on. They can`t stop him at the moment, but they have to
just survive and endure.
MATTHEWS: What`s it feel like to be shut off from this guy? How`s the –
how`s the gag order working for “The Washington Post”? Does it work at
all? Does it bother your reporting at all? I`m just curious because he`s
shut out more and more. Everybody seems to be on this growing list of
reporters that Trump says can`t come and cover him.
COSTA: My reporting continues. So does “The Washington Post.” I`ve been
talking to my Trump sources today. I spoke to Sam Clovis, the campaign
chairman, on the record interview in the last couple days. And my sense is
in Trump`s campaign, they`re going to with the candidate`s gut, and that`s
to not care about warming up to Paul Ryan or to Leader McConnell in the
Senate. This is Trump, and they`re going to continue to ride that train.
MATTHEWS: Let me go – hang in there. Let me go to Michael Steele.
There`s a sort of a Howard Beale thing catching on here, don`t you think?
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: You know, from that work (ph) – a little scary because…
MATTHEWS: … when you say things – I don`t want your help, Go away,
basically, Shut up.
STEELE: Well, he`s always been an independent actor. He`s been a lone
wolf in business, certainly been a lone wolf in what he`s been doing in
terms of national media. This arrangement now is such that you have all
these other folks who have an opinion about what you`re doing and they have
a way in which they want you to do it. And he`s rejecting that.
MATTHEWS: He needs five times the votes in November that he got…
STEELE: That`s the problem.
MATTHEWS: Does he know that?
STEELE: He`s still running a primary strategy in a general election, in
which case, he`s…
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: How`s that going to work for him?
STEELE: It`s not going to work out well, and I think that`s…
MATTHEWS: That was a set-up…
STEELE: Yes, it`s a set-up for you (ph). Trying to make your job a little
MCMAHON: Thank you.
STEELE: … because it`ll become more difficult later…
STEELE: … this November, when we start talking about other things. But
– we have to get there first. But the reality for Trump right now, I
think, Chris, is, does he want to share at least a little bit of that space
with the party and its leadership so that they can go into this convention
and come out of it on a better footing than they are right now? They`ve
got to bring that 70 percent number down. It cannot afford – they cannot
afford to have it grow more…
MATTHEWS: Yes, I…
STEELE: … nor can they have it stick. That – that`s the reality.
MATTHEWS: I think they still have the big (INAUDIBLE) states like
Pennsylvania, and I just wonder, Steve – Steve, how do – why wouldn`t you
want to take advantage of the fact that a lot of people are born
Republicans, they`ll end up being dead Republicans because this is the way
they were brought up? Why wouldn`t you want all those automatic Republican
votes if you`re Donald Trump?
MCMAHON: You would. And you need every single one of them in order to get
close, and then you need to convert some of the ones who are Democrats last
time in order to win.
MCMAHON: And he`s actually going in the other direction. As Hillary
Clinton is consolidating her vote – you know, Bernie Sanders is gracefully
MATTHEWS: OK, why is Hillary spiking to the highest negatives she`s ever
had after the best week she`s ever had? I don`t get this.
MCMAHON: Yes. Well…
MATTHEWS: She had a very good week last week, a hell of a speech. She
played it brilliantly. She stuck it to Trump, great sarcasm, great
substance. Up to 55 percent negative. If it weren`t for Trump, she`d be -
- she`d be breaking the record.
MCMAHON: So it`s very – it`s very difficult, as you know, once you get a
MATTHEWS: But it`s going up.
STEELE: It`s going up.
MCMAHON: Once you get a negative…
MATTHEWS: Is Bernie doing it? Is he…
MCMAHON: Bernie`s – Bernie`s done it a little bit. Donald Trump is doing
it some. I expect the Bernie voter to start to warm to Hillary Clinton.
It doesn`t happen…
STEELE: Good luck with that!
MATTHEWS: We`ll get to that…
MCMAHON: Structurally, this is still a 7 or 8-point race to Hillary`s
advantage. You`re starting to see that now in the polls, and Donald Trump
isn`t doing anything to reverse it. He`s actually doing something to drive
the Republicans away.
STEELE: Which is a key point to understand, that this is still within his
grasp to move it in his direction.
MCMAHON: But he`s moving it the wrong way.
STEELE: But he`s moving it the wrong…
MATTHEWS: OK, earlier today, Senator John McCain accused President Obama
of being, quote – his quote – “directly responsible” for the attack in
Orlando this past weekend. Here`s the senator`s reasoning.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Barack Obama is directly responsible for it
because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al Qaeda went to Syria and
became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama`s
failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq, thinking that
conflicts end just because we leave. So the responsibility lies with
President Barack Obama and his failed policies.
QUESTION: How do you say he`s directly responsible?
MCCAIN: Directly responsible because he pulled everybody out of Iraq. And
I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked and there would be
attacks on the United States of America. It`s a matter of record. So he
is directly responsible.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator McCain put out a statement later in the day today,
trying to clarify. Quote, “I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the
president was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama`s
national security decisions, not the president himself.”
McCain`s comments quickly became political fodder. Senator Harry Reid`s
spokesman said, “Senator McCain`s unhinged” – well, that`s an interesting
word – “unhinged comments are just the latest proof that Senate
Republicans are puppets of Donald Trump.”
Anyway, meanwhile, Trump`s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, seized on
McCain`s comments tweeting out the quote that the president was directly
Interesting. Let me go back to Robert on this. Robert, it`s great having
you on. I`m trying to figure out this McCain thing. Is this primary
politics, general election politics, because all afternoon, he was trying
to pull it back, but he ended up saying the same thing, the actions of
President Obama led to ISIS, and I guess, ultimately to this attack because
it`s – it was blamed on ISIS. It was scored in favor of ISIS, if you
will, by the guy who did it.
And my question is, why are we getting back into that blame game again,
where the Democrats can say the same thing to the Republicans for having
taken apart the Iraqi army from top to bottom and sending them off to join
ISIS? Anybody can play this game. Why does he want to – why is – what`s
the – what`s this partisanship getting vividly unpleasant about all of a
COSTA: When Senator McCain was up for reelection in 2010, we saw him ramp
up his rhetoric on immigration. He`s in a tough reelection fight six years
later, this year. And we see him, when it comes to terrorism and national
security, doing the same kind of tactic and strategy.
I think what you`re seeing from McCain, though, is what you`re seeing from
a lot of people within the Republican Party. Orlando has changed how they
talk about national security, and as much as they`re uncomfortable with
Trump, they`re starting to sound more like Trump when they talk about the
threats abroad, when they start to talk about terrorism…
COSTA: … and Islam
MATTHEWS: What is it about election that makes everybody turn into a
partisan meatball? I mean – I mean, people as smart as McCain, who knows
the nuances, who knows all this.
STEELE: The voters do. The voters. The voters – the voters are the ones
that drive the…
MATTHEWS: What, they want simple?
STEELE: Well, yes, sometimes they do. But also, what they want is things
to be less complicated than they`ve been. So they`re looking for the
straightforward, you know, from-the-hip response to some very complex
MCMAHON: I think there`s a…
MATTHEWS: And the idea that one party`s responsible. I mean, I know how
to do that, too. And I do think the de-Baathification program, where you
took all the Baathist leaders of Iraq and threw them out without pay,
without respect, and they`re going to find another army to fight with –
MCMAHON: Yes. And there`s actually a somewhat more cynical explanation,
as well, which is gerrymandering in the House makes Republicans fear
MATTHEWS: This is a Senate seat!
MCMAHON: I know, but in the Senate, it`s the same fear. If you look at
all those guys who are vulnerable to Tea Party challenges both the last
time and two years before that, they`re afraid of their right flank.
They`re not afraid of the middle or the left.
STEELE: But we saw it in 2010 with Democrats on “Obama care.” It was the
same issue, only in reverse.
MCMAHON: You might be responsible for…
STEELE: I – I…
MCMAHON: … because you were party chairman…
MATTHEWS: Can we do that (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Just kidding! (INAUDIBLE) a lot. Anyway, thank you. I do
respect McCain for his war record and what he did for this country, and I
do root for him all the time to say the right thing. He doesn`t do it all
the time, by a long stretch sometimes.
Hey, Robert Costa, it`s good to have you back. We miss you. We like you
here a lot. Anyway, Robert Costa, the star of the reporting team of “The
Washington Post.” Michael Steele, thank you, sir. And thank you, Steve
Coming up, by the way, President Obama goes to Orlando today. And he`s
once more – and this is sad – in the role of consoler. He has to go down
as a president, to be the president in times like this, when tragedy
Back here in Washington, the Democrats` filibuster on gun safety worked,
actually. They`ve successfully pressured the Republicans to at least hold
votes in the Senate on stricter gun laws in the wake of the Orlando attack,
and that`s coming up ahead. We`ll see if anything`s going to get done.
Plus, Hillary Clinton`s battleground blitz. She`s launching new campaign
ads now, expensive ads, in the key states that will decide the election,
looking to build her early lead and kick Trump when he`s down. That`s
always smart. Get him on the sidewalk and pound.
Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable previews what Bernie Sanders plans to tell
his supporters tonight. That is a mystery, 8:30 tonight Eastern. Is
tonight the night Sanders will endorse Hillary and get out of the race? I
don`t think so, but we`ll find out if Bernie`s in or out sometime tonight.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the need to act – and I believe it – in the
aftermath of tragedy.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: A bit of bipartisanship on Air Force One today as the president
few to Orlando. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida, joined
President Obama on the trip to Rubio`s home state. Rubio has been
reevaluating whether he`ll run for reelection in Florida after saying he
wouldn`t run for both the presidency and the Senate this year. His fellow
Republicans sound willing to step aside should he jump back into the race
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: … our hearts are broken,
too, and that we stand with you, and that we are here for you, and that we
are remembering those who you loved so deeply. As a nation, we`ve also
been inspired by the courage of those who risked their lives and cared for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, President Obama.
He was speaking earlier today in Orlando. The president and Vice President
Biden – he was there – both paid their respects to the 49 victims of
Sunday`s nightclub attack. They also visited with the families of the
victims and survivors of the attack.
For more on the visit, I`m joined right now by NBC correspondent Chris
Jansing. Chris, thank you.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I have to tell you,the
skies have opened. It`s really a torrential storm here. Somehow, it seems
like a metaphor for grief that the president described.
In fact, he said their grief is beyond description, talking about the
family members he met with for two hours today. And afterwards, when he
spoke for 17 minutes, he talked very much about what was lost, about an 18-
year-old girl whose parents told him about how happy she was and how many
dreams she had.
But it also turned quickly into the frustration. You could hear it in his
voice, Chris. You could hear him when he talked about how something had to
be done and saying that these family members pleaded with him to make sure
that this doesn`t happen again.
And of course, then it turned to the politics. This is a president who has
said before that the most frustrating thing, at least one of the most
frustrating things about his presidency is that he has not been able to get
anything done legislatively in the wake of these many attacks. Ten times -
- this is the tenth time he has traveled somewhere in the United States to
a scene of a mass killing, Chris.
So he has six months left. He knows that the clock is ticking. He also
has the highest approval rating he`s had in a long time, and we heard
determination in his voice even as he clearly was grieving and laid 49
white roses, along with Joe Biden, at a memorial to the victims, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Chris Jansing.
Anyway, yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate mounted a nearly 15-hour
filibuster led by Connecticut senator Chris Murphy and New Jersey senator
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: We cannot go on with business as usual
in this body.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: This individual could have been
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Virtually every member of this body has
probably stated or tweeted out their thoughts and prayers for the victims
in Orlando. They want to see more than thoughts and prayers. They
actually want to see us act.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: If we fail to act, the next time
someone uses a gun to kill one of us, a gun that we could have kept out of
the hands of a terrorist, the members of this Congress will have blood on
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: It doesn`t take courage to stand here
on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14
hours. (INAUDIBLE) courage to stand up to the gun lobby when 90 percent of
your constituents want change to happen.
Ask yourself, what can you do to make sure that Orlando, or Sandy Hook
never, ever happens again. With deep gratitude to all those who have
endured this very, very late night, I yield the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Democrats are asking for votes to be held on two
amendments to ban those on the government`s terrorist watch list from
obtaining gun licenses and whether to expand background checks to gun shows
and Internet sales.
Joining me right now is an expert on these issues, California senator
Dianne Feinstein, the chief sponsor of a bill banning people on the terror
watch list from buying guns.
Senator, how do you reconcile keeping people from buying guns who are on
the watch list with their due process rights?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, we provide due process
rights. We provide an administrative appeal or a court appeal or both. So
that can take place.
I think the problem here is – and I think Director Brennan this morning
addressed it when he said his assessment is that we will see increasing
attempts at attacks.
Now, most of the people on these terrorist watch lists, the overwhelming
number, are foreigners. So, either ISIL is selecting or they`re self-
selecting themselves with no record to come into this country to buy a
weapon and to engage in a terror attack.
So, now I can`t say that`s for sure for everybody. But it sure is for
some. So, what we want is that those on the terrorists watch list have an
opportunity to, when they get the background check, the Justice Department
can review it, and if they have considered the evidence in totality and
feel that the individual is a threat to our nation`s security, they can
deny the purchase of a weapon.
Now, realistically, this is a small step. People who are felons, are
fugitives, are addicts, who are misdemeanor domestic violence convictions,
there are 10 categories for which you can deny a weapon, and no one is
saying anything about those. But a terrorist is not included in those 10
categories. And that`s the problem. It should be. And that`s what we`re
trying to do.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about this.
Suppose a suspect, someone on the watch list, goes into a gun store and
tries to buy a semiautomatic rifle, an assault weapon. What would – and
just run through what would happen. They`re on the list. They`re still on
the list. What would happen?
FEINSTEIN: Oh, I don`t know what list you`re talking to – about.
MATTHEWS: No, the watch list, the watch list.
They`re on the watch list, and they go in to buy a gun. And they have to
do a background check. Well, what we provide for is, within the
appropriations, a program to be set up whereby, by computer, the database
can be checked on that individual and what they know.
And if there are suspicions, the ping goes to the Justice Department. The
Justice Department can evaluate it. And if they see fit, they can stop the
sale. Right now, Justice has no authority to stop the sale in this
category. But in all other categories, it does.
MATTHEWS: How long can they stop it?
FEINSTEIN: Well, they can just stop it. That individual will not be able
to buy a weapon in this country, period.
MATTHEWS: And how about the Republican option? Do they have something
like this that`s more restrictive in terms of the administration and
ability to do something like this?
FEINSTEIN: Well, yes.
As I understand the Cornyn bill, it is a 72-hour provision. And you have
to have probable cause. Probable cause is the standard under which an
arrest can be made, under which you can go in and search an individual.
So, this will reduce the numbers to very small, and likely not be very
efficient in really sensing out these people, because these are people that
you don`t have that standard of information because you just don`t know.
But what you do have, we point out what has to be there in the bill, so the
Justice Department can make the finding and stop the sale.
MATTHEWS: That would seem to be idiotic, because it would say you would
have to go out and buy the gun first. Then you would be put on a probable
cause list. And then you have already had the gun.
Anyway, let me ask you about Senator McCain`s comment today that President
Obama is directly responsible, not personally, but directly, and then he
said his actions are responsible by withdrawing troops from Iraq, for ISIS
and for what happened this past weekend.
FEINSTEIN: Well, that`s not the John McCain that I know.
And I`m really sorry that he said that. I think what we need is more light
and less heat on this subject. And I don`t think that`s particularly
helpful. I have worked with John. I have a great appreciation for him.
But I think he`s wrong.
MATTHEWS: Great. And I hope you run for reelection, Senator. That`s my
FEINSTEIN: Well, thank you. It`s a ways off.
MATTHEWS: I hope you run again. One more term for Feinstein.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you very much, Senator Feinstein from California.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And joining me right now is U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New
Jersey, who helped lead that 15-hour filibuster overnight.
Senator, thank you for joining us.
I guess those of us who have grown up with gun control debates, yourself
included, I`m sure, had high school debates over gun debate – over gun
control, gun safety.
How is this debate and this very impressive filibuster going to lead to an
actual bill, something the president can sign?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, what I have been finding recently
is how many Americans did not realize that you can be under investigation
by the FBI, that you could have been put on the no-fly list because you
were considered to be too dangerous to enter plane, but you could still go
out and buy a trunk load full of weapons.
And so here we have this real war that we`re on, a war against terrorism.
We`re basically telling our enemy, exploit this loophole. In fact, our
enemy, al Qaeda operatives, have said, hey, we want you to use this
loophole to attack and kill Americans.
So, most of us know we`re at war. We need to shut down that loophole
effectively. We need to do it as quickly as possible, so we don`t see more
of these horrific attacks like we saw in Orlando.
MATTHEWS: Well, not to make the case for the gun guys, but they do have
the argument that getting on an airplane is not a right. Owning a gun
under the Second Amendment is a right. So, how do we deal with the due
process problem, or don`t you see one?
BOOKER: Well, first of all, I do see one, actually. I really do.
First of all, you and I both know First Amendment, Second Amendment, none
of these are absolute rights. I don`t have the right to slander. I don`t
have the right to run into a crowded theater and yell fire.
There are understandable restrictions on those rights. And even in the
Heller decision, conservative justices of the Heller decision in the
majority opinion, said the same thing. This is not an absolute right.
There are reasonable restrictions for the safety of all Americans.
Americans understand that if you have a person bent on terror who is
already under investigation, we should do what`s necessary to prevent them
from getting a gun.
And, by the way, if mistakes are made, because we know they are, there
should be a process by which a person can grieve that complaint. And
that`s what we have in the bill that is going to be voted on next week.
MATTHEWS: Do you think an administrative arm of the government, not a
judicial arm, has the right to restrict your rights?
BOOKER: Do I think an administrative arm of the United States
MATTHEWS: Like the FBI. Can the FBI say, you can`t get on an airplane,
you can`t buy a gun? You think – or do you have to go to a judge to get
that kind of ruling in any particular case?
BOOKER: I think that there are reasonable law enforcement – and I have
seen this in local police departments – for – when you`re under certain
suspicions, I can stop somebody and have a field interview with them, under
And I feel like, if those conditions are met that have triggered an FBI
investigation where a person has been interviewed, where people – there`s
a reasonable suspicion that this person is involved in terrorist activity,
we should put a pause on their ability to buy a gun.
That`s perfectly understandable. And law enforcement does these kind of
things in the United States every single day. There`s rules and barriers
that been actually meted out by the Supreme Court that they have to obey.
And I have no problem with that, as long as there`s a due process ability
for a person to grieve that complaint.
MATTHEWS: So much of lawmaking is balancing. Of course you know that,
And I was wondering. The people in New Jersey have talked it. Is it time
now to recognize that the terrorist threat is dire and we have to take
steps now to deal with that threat primarily right now? Do they see the
need to deal with restrictions in this case because of the terrorist
BOOKER: Yes, Chris, I think when people see these horrific mass shootings,
the worst one we just had in our country`s history, I think people
understand that we`re in an ongoing war, where there are people who are
every day plotting at ways to try to attack and take away our way of life.
And so this is not crazy, though. This is not a radical step. This is not
a major abridgment of people`s rights. This is simply saying that, hey, if
our FBI has an ongoing investigation where they have a lot of evidence
building, reason to believe that you might be involved in terrorist
activity, let`s put a pause on your ability to buy a gun.
It`s as simple as that, and not give those terrorists back doors with which
to avoid those background checks by letting them go to the Internet or gun
shows. Let`s create a real wall against terrorists getting weapons. We,
by the way, would not, against the Japanese or the Germans during World War
II, we wouldn`t have given them arms.
But in this country, we`re basically saying, hey, terrorists, here is a
massive loophole you can go through to get armament that often is seen in
MATTHEWS: Yes. In fact, during 9/11, or prior to, we gave them flying
lessons. That`s the most astounding thing.
But thank you so much, Senator Booker, for common sense, for coming on this
BOOKER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, 17 years ago, Donald Trump told me that Oprah Winfrey
would make a great running mate. He told me that personally.
But, today, Winfrey is coming out in support of Hillary Clinton. We`re
turning back the HARDBALL clock when we return. We`re going to show you
some of the old stuff.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Officials say three babies have been born in the U.S. with birth defects
related to the Zika virus. And three more were lost to either miscarriage
or abortion. All the cases were associated with travel outside of the U.S.
The cockpit voice recorder has been recovered from the EgyptAir jet that
crashed last month. It was will be handed over to investigators for
And Disney says it is reviewing its use of warning signs after a toddler
was dragged off and killed in an alligator attack On Tuesday – back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Hillary Clinton is punctuating a strong week for her by spending $7.3
million on three brand-new TV ads she`s running in eight battleground
states. And two of those ads, all airing today, will highlight a softer
side of Clinton, which is a not-so-veiled attempt by her campaign to boost
her low favorability numbers in the polls.
Well, earlier this week, ABC News/”Washington Post” poll, in that poll, it
showed that 55 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of Secretary
Clinton. But here is one of the new ads to fix that problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: It`s in the quiet moments when you see why she does this. For
Hillary, it`s always been about kids. And when millions couldn`t get
health care, this first lady worked with Republicans and Democrats to fix
it, creating the Children`s Health Insurance Program.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So that every child
gets the health care that child deserves to have.
NARRATOR: Now eight million kids are covered. That`s the kind of leader
she is and the kind of president she will be.
CLINTON: I`m Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, earlier today, Secretary Clinton got two important
endorsements. These are biggies, by the way, first from the AFL-CIO, the
largest conglomeration of unions which represents more than 12 million
workers from Rust Belt states. That`s where the battleground is, I think.
Anyway, the second endorsement came from super celebrity Oprah Winfrey.
And here is what Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey, told “Good Morning America” today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, “THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW”: I`m with her. I have to
say, I`m with her.
And I would also say that regardless of your politics, you cannot be a
woman in the world and not see that this is a monumental time for women
breaking the ceiling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, this comes as a boomerang blow to Donald Trump, who saw a different
course for Oprah Winfrey back when he was mulling a presidential run back
in 1999. We`re going into the way-back machine here.
Listen to what he told me back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1999)
QUESTION: Would you consider a woman for your running mate, and if so,
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Well, I would
consider. And, as Chris can tell you, I threw out the name of a friend of
mine who I think the world of. She`s great. And some people thought it
was an incredible idea. Some people didn`t, but Oprah.
I said Oprah Winfrey, who is really great. And I think we would be a very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, for more, I`m joined right now by Heidi Przybyla, the
senior political reporter for “USA Today,” and Jeremy Peters of “The New
York Times.” He`s an MSNBC contributor.
Well, let`s talk about a couple things here.
First of all, ads to make you seem nicer. I thought it was interesting
about the ad – and we all know who have been Hillary Clinton – you have
been with her – how nicer, to use a word generally used about her, when
you`re with her than when she`s out on the stage necessarily.
But that was an ad that seemed to be aimed at, this is the Hillary you
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, “USA TODAY”: Right.
MATTHEWS: And it`s much more favorable. You might have a favorable view.
PRZYBYLA: And that`s what they know they need to do right now.
Look, Chris, they have been doing great job of beating up on Donald Trump
and saying, look, he`s way worse than I am. But that`s not good enough
looking at her structural problems. And her main structural problem is the
likability about issue. People still say she is the most famous woman that
people really don`t know.
And so there is a heavy push. And it`s not new that they know that they
have this problem. They have sent a video crew around with her through the
whole primaries trying to capture these spontaneous moments and put them
out there and turn them around into ads.
So, this, they see a new opportunity. They`re going into a general
election and they`re going to try to introduce her again.
MATTHEWS: Jeremy Peters, what do you think about these ads? Because,
clearly, we would all like to have one done about us. I don`t know about
you, but I would like somebody to run ads about how nice I am, that I care
JEREMY PETERS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You have a TV show that does that for
you every day.
MATTHEWS: Oh, no, not necessarily. But $7 million to run an ad campaign
about how nice – you know, the real quiet Chris Matthews, whoa, is he good
with kids. Is he good with kids.
Anyway, your thoughts?
PETERS: I`m not convinced that that exists.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe not. Your thoughts?
PETERS: I think there are two things about these ads.
Number one, I don`t think it`s a coincidence when they started running.
It`s perfect juxtaposition, Hillary, very warm, open, responsible,
Compare that with Donald Trump, who has been shooting his mouth off for the
last six months. And it always ends up with his foot right in it.
I think the other thing there, when you look at these ads, what do you see
a lot of? White women. Republicans usually win white women. Romney won
them by about 14 points. If Hillary chips into that significantly enough,
which she has already – she`s either tied with white women Trump in some
polls or Trump is slightly ahead. If she chips away at that, she wins the
MATTHEWS: Yes. I wonder.
Do you think appearing to be Marian Wright Edelman there, appearing a good
principled liberal in terms of treatment of children, does that help you
with white Republican women, looking like a progressive?
PRZYBYLA: Well, it can`t hurt, right?
So, she`s already making that appeal on several other fronts, including to
security moms on foreign policy issues. She`s letting him kind of walk his
own way with the more incendiary things he`s made about women`s faces and
whatnot. So, that`s something that unites all women is the experience of
motherhood and children.
PRZYBYLA: And so of course, it can`t hurt her with Republican women.
And when you talk to Republican women, that`s the main problem, Chris, that
they have. They never cite like policy differences with her. It`s more
they find her personally not likable. So, it can`t hurt.
MATTHEWS: I think many years in politics makes a very tough shield around
Jeremy, let me ask you, why do you think went up, spiked up in the negative
even after a really great week? It didn`t make sense to me.
PETERS: These polls tend to be pretty noisy. I wouldn`t read too much
I think the person who should be really worried about negatives is Donald
Trump. He has a 29 percent favorability rating, according to the latest
polls. That`s astonishingly low. That`s like George W. Bush level low at
the nadir of his presidency. So, I think whatever Hillary`s negatives are
at this point in time, that they pale in comparison to just how rough a
time Trump has had these last few weeks.
MATTHEWS: Jeremy, you have just explained to me why every commentator who
takes the right-wing position shifts to Hillary the minute I ask them about
Now, let`s talk about Hillary. No, no, let`s go over and talk about
Hillary. Let`s talk about Hillary. No matter what you ask, the default
position is, let`s talk about Hillary. She`s 55 percent negative. We
don`t need a candidate. Just run against that. Unbelievable.
Anyway, they make her into a scarecrow for the right wing. She`s the
scarecrow. They`re scaring everybody to vote Republican. Don`t mess with
Anyway, thank you, Heidi Przybyla. Thank you, Jeremy Peters.
Up next, the primary season is over, but Bernie Sanders hasn`t dropped out.
Is he planning – and he is planning a big address to his supporters
tonight around 8:30. Is he in or is he out? Remember that in the screen
door? Are you in or you out, your parents would always out.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, Democrats are anxiously awaiting now Bernie Sanders` next move. And
tonight, Sanders is set to deliver a live streaming video address at 8:30.
In an e-mail announcing the speech, the Sanders campaign called this a
critical moment, saying, “In order for the work to be long lasting for
years to come, we must continue our political revolution.” It signed, by
the way, “in solidarity.” That`s the phrase by campaign manager, Jeff
His spokesman told “Reuters” Sanders does not plan to concede the race even
though Hillary Clinton has effectively secured the Democratic nomination.
I`m joined right now by Indira Lakshmanan, opinion writer for “The Boston
Globe”, as well as Republican strategist Michael Steel, his the former aide
to John Boehner, and Colleen McCain Nelson, White House correspondent for
“The Wall Street Journal.”
Well, first of all, let me start with Colleen about this.
Where is Bernie Sanders right now? Because a lot of people think, when you
a lose a race, you sort of concede normally.
COLLEEN MCCAIN NELSON, THE WALL TREET JOURNAL: Right.
MATTHEWS: He has a lot of delegates, a lot of strength. He has a
movement. What`s he going to do with that between now. It`s obviously
going to be unconventional between now and Philadelphia.
NELSON: Right. Well, he wants a couple of things. He wants to maximize
his leverage. He wants to see a path to keep his movement alive. He wants
to feel like he got something from the Clinton campaign.
So, he`s asking for ideas of his to be reflected in the Democratic Party
platform. He`s asking for rule changes to the primary process. He`s
asking for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to be replaced. But he`s probably not
going to get most of those things.
Clinton advisers are saying they`re not going to major concessions. And
so, they`re not going to suddenly turn around and say, OK, we`ll be for a
single payer health care system. So, he`s in danger of overplaying his
hand if he pushes this too far.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes, I just wonder, if you`re Hillary Clinton and you want
to look at it, you want to look good by being magnanimous and giving Bernie
what he wants. Or do you want to look strong by saying, Bernie, nice try,
but I won. Where do you want – how do you position yourself on that baby?
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER JEB BUSH ADVISOR: I think Sanders and his supporters
are in danger of overplaying their hand. I think they are overestimating
their leverage because as you transition from this primary campaign where
progressives or the battle within the Democratic Party, suddenly she`s
facing Donald Trump who is going to unify Democrats the way no other
character in American political history has. She doesn`t need to worry
about her left flank in a fight against Donald Trump. So, I think there`s
real danger here that they think they have more leverage than they actually
MATTHEWS: I have a mixed opinion here. I`m not totally unsentimental. I
look at Bernie Sanders and I`m not far over usually. When I look at him
and go, he`s had this crowd cheering him now. He`s 74-year-old man. He`s
had a crowd cheering him like a rock star for a year now.
To walk away from that is going to be very hard. So, he doesn`t want to
give up the gun and say I`m out of this fight. He does – I guess it`s
He`s not going to get all the social stuff he wants. If Hillary gives him
the social stuff he wants like the $15 and she gives him Social Security
benefits way beyond what people are paying into it, which turns it into a
welfare program and health care as a right. I`m not sure what that means
exactly, by the way, as a right. You force people to go to medical school
or nursing school and administer hospitals because you have to do it
because we made this commitment?
I mean, how does that physically work, that right thing?
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, THE BOSTON GLOBE: OK, just back to the question of what
does he want and what he`s going to get.
MATTHEWS: Health care as a right I go, I know right to the freedom of
speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press. I get that. Freedom from
search. But what`s a right to something? I`m not sure how that works
because somebody else has to give it to you.
LAKSHMANAN: Well, the Obama administration would argue they have given the
right to health care through Obama care. Well, requirement.
But I will say about Bernie. I think some of this is about his ego. I
mean, you were alluding to that, by saying, you know, a 74-year-old man,
most of whose followers are under 45 years old, who are fairly –
MATTHEWS: Who never heard of him a year ago.
LAKSHMANAN: Who never heard of him a year ago, but they are still the
future of the Democratic Party.
MATTHEWS: Right. Are they in the party? Are they Democrats?
LAKSHMANAN: See, that is the thing.
MATTHEWS: Is he a Democrat?
LAKSHMANAN: Remember he still is an independent. He still is a socialist.
MATTHEWS: Some Democrats have voiced their frustration with Sanders
already right now, and one of them is Joe Manchin of West Virginia. And
they`re saying he`s putting the party`s interest after his own.
Anyway, as Senator Joe Manchin told “The Washington Post” this week,
“Bernie is not a Democrat. Can people get that through their heads? I
think his mission right now is whatever he can to move the platform further
left from his socialist ideas. I like Bernie.” Well, they always say.
“He identifies the problems, but his solutions don`t work.”
Well, Manchin is on the very moderate to conservative end of the Democratic
Party, and West Virginia.
LAKSHMANAN: But what he`s saying is exactly right, that Bernie wants to be
the ideas king maker. He didn`t get to be the kingmaker of, you know,
deciding who the nominee was going to be. But he wants to now decide the
platform. He doesn`t have any illusions.
MATTHEWS: What are his ideas?
LAKSHMANAN: Well, as you were alluding to, you know, income inequality,
free college –
MATTHEWS: How`s that an idea?
LAKSHMANAN: A great idea.
MATTHEWS: In California years ago, but the idea, it`s not an original
idea. It`s just a big demand.
LAKSHMANAN: His demands.
MATTHEWS: Every state university will get a check for everybody that
applies to these universities.
LAKSHMANAN: Well, we need to have an entire other conversation about
whether any of this is realistic. All the followers he stirred up –
MATTHEWS: They will get a check from the government larger than their own
NELSON: That`s not happening.
STEEL: Historical memory is so short that socialism seems like a new idea.
MATTHEWS: There is a Christopher Lloyd aspect to this, back to the future
aspect to this.
STEEL: Absolutely, and a physical resemblance.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s smart to do all these things, and I don`t think
they`ve been thought through at all.
NELSON: Well, at this point, he`s testing even the Democrats who are on
his side patience, because they were willing to give him time and space to
work through this, but you see his own supporters saying I`m ready to
endorse Hillary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: Ask Hillary Clinton on your next interview with her, are you a
socialist, and see how fast she says no. She`ll say no fast that your head
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.
And up next, this three will tell me something I don`t know.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Yesterday, we showed you Secretary Clinton`s 9-point lead over
Trump in Wisconsin. Well, today, we`ve got a look at Virginia.
Let`s check out the HARDBALL scoreboard.
According to a new PPP poll, Clinton has a 3-point advantage. It`s Clinton
48, Donald Trump 45. One bit of good news for Trump, he`s leading Virginia
independents, 42 to 29.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Indira, tell me something I don`t know.
LAKSHMANAN: People may not know the Saudi crowned prince, son of the new
king, is in the United States right now lobbying the White House, trying to
smooth over relations, and here as sort of a proponent of this new muscular
Saudi foreign policy. My column in today`s “Boston Globe” is taking the
Saudis to task over what they did at the U.N. recently, where they
essentially threatened to cut off funding for the U.N. or even pull out of
the world body entirely if they weren`t taken off a black list.
MATTHEWS: Maybe we`ll pull out of Saudi Arabia someday.
STEEL: I was going to say, I`ve been back off the campaign trail for a
couple of weeks now, I keep going to meetings where people ask, what is
Donald Trump going to do as president? And the conversation almost
immediately switches to Hillary, either because people here don`t believe
Trump is going to win or they simply have no idea what on earth he`d
NELSON: Hillary Clinton and her advisers are working on culling their list
of V.P. candidates. Bernie Sanders is not on the list. Elizabeth Warren`s
on the list, other familiar names – Tim Kaine, Tom Perez. There are a
couple of wild cards on the list, too. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is
one of the contender –
MATTHEWS: Do you believe all of that stuff? Salting the mine. Every
ethnic group in America gets a little taste.
MATTHEWS: I don`t believe any of this stuff. I don`t ever it`s ever going
Anyway, thank you, Colleen McCain Nelson, for giving us the long list.
Michael Steel and Indira Lakshmanan, thank you for joining us.
And when we return, let me finish with the need to act in the aftermath of
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a paradox.
Gun rights supporters argue that gun control or gun safety supporters
exploit tragedy. They exploit the horror of mass shootings to exact the
Bill of Rights. Of course they do but why shouldn`t they?
One thing I`ve learned watching American politics is that nothing gets done
unless it`s necessary that it get done. One classic example was the deal
President Reagan made with Speaker of the House Tip O`Neill back in 1983 to
save the Social Security Fund. What made that bipartisan effort work was
money was running out in the system and Republicans were getting whacked on
the issue and whacked hard.
Well, given that we have to imagine what urgency would trigger a bipartisan
push to restrict gun purchases. The one in hand right now might be just
the one the doctor ordered. Can you think of any politician in the country
wants to protect the right of suspected terrorists to easy access to
semiautomatic weapons, to buy them, and once again faced with a terrorist
mass shooting is there really a majority in the Congress truly opposed to
keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists?
Well, the fact is there are politicians in the Congress who believe no one
should be denied his or her Second Amendment rights without due process of
law. They don`t want to see a police agency like the FBI holding the
authority to deny such rights. They want to require something like a
search warrant to enforce such rulings.
Yet, the real obstacle is the resistance by a large number of House and
Senate members to do anything on gun safety for fear of incurring the wrath
of the NRA. That is the real American fact of life that keeps guns of all
kinds out there for anyone who wants to buy one. Even in the aftermath of
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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