Trump unloads on critics. TRANSCRIPT: 10/29/2018, Hardball w Chris Matthews.

Guests:
John Kasich, Julia Ioffe, Kimberly Atkins, Bill Peduto
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 29, 2018
Guest: John Kasich, Julia Ioffe, Kimberly Atkins, Bill Peduto

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: A spate of hate. Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews in Houston, Texas, ahead of our HARDBALL
college tour with Beto O`Rourke tomorrow night.

President Trump is playing a dangerous game right now in the wake of
tragedy, fanning the flames of division in an already combustible political
climate. It comes after three horrific crimes over the past week. Each
fueled by apparent religious, racial or political hatred. And they have
shaken this country.

When he was arrested for murdering, 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh tree of
life synagogue on Saturday, the alleged gunman Robert Bowers reportedly
told police that he wanted all Jews to die.

It comes after two African-American shoppers at a super market in Kentucky
were gunned down Wednesday in a shooting that is being investigated as a
potential hate crime.

And today a new package resembling those sent by Cesar Sayoc was found in
Atlanta on its way to CNN headquarters the third of its kind addressed to
the news organization. Amid all of this, the President seemingly ignored
pleas for civility and even restraint. Instead he has singled out the
media for blame.

Trump tweeted today, there is great anger in our country caused in part by
inaccurate and even fraudulent reporting of the news. The fake news media,
the true enemy of the people, must stop the open hostility and report the
news accurately and fairly.

What follows Trump`s tweet last night saying, the fake news is doing
everything in their power to blame Republican conservatives and me for the
division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our country.

Well, while President Trump condemned the anti-Semitic shooting in
Pittsburgh at his rally on Saturday night, he was quick to resume his usual
attacks on several of his favorite targets. Here`s how Trump rallied his
supporters just hours after the shooting unfolded on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to tone it down
just a little bit. Is that OK?

CROWD: No.

TRUMP: You are from Illinois. I had a feeling you might say that. Now I
did a little tiny bit of research, and Mike`s opponent Brendan Kelly is a
vote for Nancy Pelosi and, of course, Maxine Waters. If somebody named
Bill Smith was President and he did the things I did, tax cuts, regulation
cuts, two Supreme Court justices, they would say, he is the greatest
conservative of all time. But because his name is Donald Trump, you have
the haters and they continue to hate. These are foolish and very stupid
people. Very stupid people. I mean, these are losers. Why do they put
them on television? Seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: When pressed to explain the President`s failure to tone down his
rhetoric, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he`s just fighting
back against those who have come after him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will the President stop using that kind of language
in light of the fact that these individuals were targeted?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is
going to continue to draw a contrast. Let`s not forget these same
Democrats have repeatedly attacked the President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But at what point does a national tragedy take
precedence over the President needing to punch back, if not now, when?

SANDERS: I think you saw the President do exactly that in the wake of a
national tragedy. Not just this week, but every time our country has
experienced the type of heartache and pain that we have over the last week.

And if anything, I think it is sad and divisive the way that every single
thing that comes out of the media, 90 percent of what comes out of the
media`s mouth is negative about this President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now about Governor John Kasich of Ohio, a
Republican.

Governor Kasich, thank you for joining us tonight. It is a very difficult
and I think unsettling time for our country given what happened over the
weekend in Pittsburgh, not far from Columbus. And what do you think about
the President`s sort of rhetorical leadership at this moment?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You know, I thought there was a chance that he
would clean it up, and apparently he did for very short period of time, but
he`s right back at it, Chris. And, by the way, you know, I`m from
Pittsburgh. And I`m not – I was born and raised not far from where that
all took place.

I have never seen anything like this, you know. When I think back, and you
and I can remember together, the Presidents who have said, we have got to
put this behind us. Whether it was Reagan`s beautiful talk with the loss
of those astronauts, whether it was George Bush up on the truck after 9/11,
whether we saw, you know, Bobby Kennedy, the great book you wrote, Bobby
Kennedy in Indianapolis trying to bring order and calm to people.

Chris, that`s just what leaders do. And in some ways I`m just - I`m
flabbergasted. I mean, it seems as though they want to try to win an
election or he wants to try to win an election by just creating enemies and
selling fear.

And, look, I have said earlier today, I have been saying it for a week, it
all has to stop. Both sides have to stop. But, frankly, he is the
President. And, you know, we all grow up studying people like George
Washington and Abraham Lincoln and think about how they tried to bring our
country together.

And what I`m finding is, unfortunately, and I`m sad about this, our
President is trying to have an electoral gain by selling fear and division.
And it`s not right. And to call the press, you know, I didn`t really know
this, that he said, you know, 3:00 in the morning, the press is the enemy
of the people. Really? I mean, the press is there and I don`t know any
President that wasn`t – that hasn`t been upset about the press and felt
that they have unfairly treated them. I mean, it`s just part of it. And
what else can I say, Chris?

Now, we, you and me and all others, we just have to be calm and we have to
be cool and we have to be good examples. The back and forth isn`t going to
work, but he`s got the most powerful megaphone. I`m very disappointed to
hear everything I have heard tonight. And I don`t know what to tell you.
It`s a sad day.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s do it. Let`s follow your lead, governor Kasich.
Let`s take a look at some of the other Presidents who have handled similar
tragedies in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONAL REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will never forget
them nor the last time we saw them. This morning as they prepared for
their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to
touch the face of God.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To all my fellow
Americans beyond this hall, I saw one thing we owe those who have
sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave
rise to this evil.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a day when
all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and
peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can only hope it
helps for you to know that you`re not alone in your grief. But our world,
too, has been torn apart. That all across this land of ours, we have wept
with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Governor, I have to tell you, because you and I have been
politics at a much higher level. But I must say when Ronald Reagan gave
that speech at the loss of those astronauts including Christy McAuliffe,
the teacher, all those kids – all across the country were watching that
day, watching a teacher die in that split second. And Speaker O`Neal, I
was standing next to him when he was watching. He was in tears. And the
minute that speech was over, he sat down and wrote a note to Peggy Nunu
helped the President prepare those remarks. This country was much more
united under those kinds of leaders, just more united. It`s a fact.

KASICH: Chris, I think that – again, I don`t like to have to say these
things. I mean, I really don`t. But, you know, the Lord expects more from
us, doesn`t he? I mean, when he gives us gifts and gives us opportunity
and gives us a chance to make a difference, it has to be used in a positive
way.

And, you know, what I found on the campaign trail – not everybody, but
many people in this country are down on their luck. They have got lots of
challenges. The kids, you know, messing with drugs or the kids can`t get
work or they are under employed. We know this is true. But what we need
to do is we need to tell them there are better days ahead. I see your
problem. Let`s get it fixed.

Politics is not this old as I have talked about so many times now, for
weeks, the zero sum game, that I have to win and you have to lose. There
has to be a space for everybody. And I would just encourage all of us
citizens, just regular old citizens, learn to tame your tongue a little
bit. Be respectful to your neighbor. Remember the Lord is watching and
some day he will ask us what did we do with what we were given.

And when I see this division, Chris, after this terrible, terrible 11
people dead, and we hear enemy of the people – this is not the time nor is
it the place for this kind of rampant politics, on anybody`s behalf.

And, look, I have criticized Democrats who I think said, you know, well, if
they go low, we have to go lower. And I understand that. But when you
have the biggest megaphone, you have a responsibility. In my state, I have
the biggest megaphone. I have to have responsibility.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, governor. It`s great to have you on. Maybe we are
all learning a lesson in the worst way.

Thank you so much Governor John Kasich of Ohio.

KASICH: Yes. Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: I`m joined by Republican strategist Susan del Percio and
Jonathan Lemire, who is the White House reporter for the “Associated
Press.”

Thank you so much for that. How do you put together, Susan, you first.
This – and I know that Jewish people I have been talking to – this came
out, I want to talk about this at the end of the show. This concern about
the anti-immigrant rhetoric and this anti-Semitism are unfortunately
historically connected and they are being connected by people in their
hearts and had before, because I was hearing from people before this
Saturday.

But tell me what you think, Susan, about what`s been going on emotionally
in this country the last several hours.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the country is looking for
someone to be – to help them heal and grieve together. And this President
doesn`t have the ability to recognize a tragedy or be able to heal because
he has no empathy towards them.

And at this point, the lines in the sand have been drawn, especially by
this administration today, whether it be by Sarah Huckabee Sanders or
Kellyanne Conway. They set out to further divide this country today when
we need something much, much different. And the President simply sees it
as a way for political gain.

He is only looking to win the midterm elections. That`s it. And then his
own, of course. And that`s his priority. And it`s tragic for a lot of
people in this country.

MATTHEWS: Let`s listen before we go to Jonathan, I want you all at home,
and Susan, to watch what Kellyanne did say about what she sees as the cause
of all this horror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The anti-religiosity in this
country that is somehow, it`s in vogue, and funny to make fun of anybody of
faith, to constantly be making fun of people who express religion, the late
night comedians, the unfunny people on TV shows, it`s always anti-
religious. And remember, these people are gunned down in their place of
worship. This is no time to be driving God out of the public school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, Jonathan, I don`t have any problem with Kellyanne. I
have been friendly with her for years. But I don`t understand that logic.
It`s so twisted. To say that sure we have television and movies that are
pretty secular. But to blame that secularity for this, doesn`t seem to be
connected at all. This is anti-Semitic murder. This is like a small
horrible showcase of what happened in the `30s and `40s.s. And to say it
has something to do with bad television or movies, I don`t see the
connection. I can see the other argument against secularism, but not this.
Your thoughts?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I agree. And it
shows you where this White House is comfortable treading, which is on very
partisan ground. (INAUDIBLE) cultural issues whether it`s the national
anthem issue with the NFL and now this. And certainly no one is suggesting
Kellyanne Conway, you know, doesn`t believe that God should be in the
public square.

But it felt almost like a cynical play here where it`s a distraction
tactic, shifting that conversation about the rhetoric that may have
inspired some of these violent acts in the last week or so. And there`s no
one suggestion that Donald Trump is personally responsible, of course not.
But there is also no denying that his heated rhetoric about immigrants,
about the caravan, just the way he has changed the political discourse in
this country has strained things and has led this nation, in part, to be
sort of angry and more divided place.

He is a President who has no interest in being a uniter for all people.
Everything he does, his public remarks, public events, policies, are geared
toward his supporters, are geared toward his base. And we saw that just in
the last few days. Both in the aftermath of this terrible shooting in
Pittsburgh which hours later he held a rally and was back to his usually
partisan attacks, but also the mail-bombing spree sent out by the gentleman
from Florida who was of course, himself a major Trump supporter.

And while that manhunt was still going on, the President was bemoaning the
media attention it received because he felt like it was slowing Republican
momentum ahead of the midterms. And that is the concern of the White House
right now, is that they feel like they were on a roll, and they are
fearful, a week or so out, that they have lost some of that speed.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, I think it`s about red states and keeping them
red. He is not going to win in the northeast, places around Philly. But
he is fighting to get North Dakota. He is trying to get Missouri. He is
trying to get probably Nevada or Arizona or pick on to hold onto Tennessee.
It is clearly, he is looking at the red states, keeping them red hot with
this language.

Anyway, fanning the flames again today, the President continued to
scapegoat refugees and migrants traveling from Central America, saying
quote “this is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for
you.”

I mean, Susan, as if the soldiers are going to shoot them when they get to
the border. Those soldiers have no legitimate right and they know they are
not going there to do it. They can`t get involved with border control.
They are going down there to, I don`t know, what do you call it? Army
corps of Engineers kind of stuff. They are not going to have anything do
with stopping people from crossing the border, let alone shooting them
which is Trump seem to be saying. Well, he is saying. That`s what he just
said.

DEL PERCIO: And you are absolutely right, Chris. I would like to say
there`s no words, but this is television so we have to use them.

What President Trump is trying to do is frighten people, and at the same
time show how strong he is. We know he likes to act all strong and macho,
but he is not. He is a petty small person who is really just unable to
show any leadership, especially when it comes to military leadership, that
it`s just so frustrating, Chris. It just - it hurts me because this hurts
our country, and we should all be putting country first.

MATTHEWS: You know, it reminds me of the parade. Remember he`s going to
have a big parade down Connecticut, Constitution Avenue. This is like
another parade. These soldiers aren`t going to fight. I hope they don`t
shoot anybody. I hope they don`t bring any ammo. The idea to going down
there and shoot with their rifles like he says, it`s really pretty much
anti-American.

Anyway. Susan del Percio, thank you. Jonathan Lemire, we will have more
time next time. Please come back.

Coming up, anti-Semitism in America. Let`s talk about it. President Trump
calls himself a nationalist, at war with globalists. Is the President
stoking the flames with this kind of lingo?

Plus, eight days before the midterms, the country is truly divided. What
role will this weekend`s tragedy play in the midterms? I think a big role.

And Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto joins us here. He says the city is,
quote, stronger than hate. He`ll join us in a few moments to talk about
how the city of Pittsburgh plans to move forward and why he said it`s not
the right time for President Trump to come to Pittsburgh.

Finally, let me finish tonight with Abraham`s biblical call to welcome
strangers.

This is HARDBALL where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: Am I really experiencing
this? Is this just some horrific nightmare, and I`m going to wake up?

There is hate. And it isn`t going away. It just seems to be getting
worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh
responding to the horrific attack on his congregation this Saturday.

Saturday`s attack took the lives of 11 congregants, making it the deadliest
attack on Jewish people in U.S. history – in U.S. history.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, it`s part of a pattern, however,
of growing anti-Semitism in the country. In 2017, the number of anti-
Semitic incidents rose, rose by nearly 60 percent, the largest single
increase on record by the organization, by the ADL.

Over the weekend, President Trump condemned the attack is evil, but his
critics say his off-prompter comments, the ones that aren`t being written
on the prompter, have been more troubling.

Last week, for example, at a rally in Houston, right here, Trump referred
to himself as a nationalist, a term embraced by those with a racist
ideology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have a word, it sort of
became old-fashioned. It`s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we`re
not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I`m a nationalist, OK?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I`m a nationalist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump has continued to stoke conspiracies about
billionaire liberal donor George Soros, who is Jewish, and the target of
one of the mail bombs sent out last week.

Here he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It`s become radical resistance. You ever see their signs? Resist.
They say, what are you going to resist? I don`t know.

They will go to a person holding a sign who gets paid by Soros or somebody,
right? That`s what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: By Soros or somebody.

And last year, after the deadly rally led by white nationalists down in
Charlottesville, Virginia, this is what the president said:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think there`s blame on both sides. You look at – you look at
both sides, I think there`s blame on both sides. You also had people that
were very fine people on both sides.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Very fine people on both sides.

We`re joined right now by Julia Ioffe, a correspondent for “G.Q.” magazine,
and Howard Fireman, of course, an MSNBC news analyst.

Howard, I want to go to you about growing up in Pittsburgh on Squirrel
Hill.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I
basically grew up in the Tree of Life Synagogue.

My parents were Sunday school teachers there. I was bar mitzvahed there.
I grew up in the wonderful, peaceful, sprawling Jewish neighborhood of
Squirrel Hill, at the time maybe 50 percent Jewish, maybe a little less
than that now, but just a wonderful place to grow up, and a place where
something like this happening was, until Saturday at around 10:00 a.m.,
inconceivable.

I can tell you, Chris – and we know each other well – there was no place
in America that was more American and yet more comfortably Jewish than
Squirrel Hill. That comfort is gone. And the Jews in America are now
lining up with every other group, African-Americans going back hundreds of
years, Chinese immigrants, Hispanics, you name it, who have – Native
Americans – who`ve suffered violence for political reasons, because
they`re regarded as the other.

They`re regarded as something foreign, something not quite American. I
grew up thinking that was impossible.

MATTHEWS: So sad.

Julia, your thoughts. I have been reading about you and your experiences.
And, unfortunately, tragically, this is not completely new to.

JULIA IOFFE, “G.Q.”: Tight.

And I have to say, unfortunately, it wasn`t very surprising to me. I think
people like Howard, blessedly, grew up as Jews in America, where they did
think that this was completely unthinkable in America. And, until
Saturday`s events, it was unthinkable.

I, unfortunately, came from a place where it was far more easy to imagine.
The reason we came to the United States from the Soviet Union, we came as
refugees fleeing anti-Semitism, was because, in the summer of 1988, my
mother was stuck in the – in the Russian countryside with me. I was 5.
My little sister was 6 months old.

There was no phone, no connection to the outside world. And there were
very persistent rumors going around about a pogrom, an anti-Jewish pogrom
and riot. And she realized that she lived in a country where the political
climate had become so permissive that it was completely, extremely
plausible, and that she didn`t want to raise her kids in a country like
that.

And watching my parents` response to – and their heartbreak watching what
happened at Squirrel Hill – my father actually called it an old-fashioned
pogrom – has been, frankly, heartbreaking.

MATTHEWS: Howard, let me ask you, because you are a communications expert,
like I try to be.

And talk about these code words, because I – I guess I understand the
nationalist of national socialism, of course. In the era of the `30s, when
you had fascism, they all call themselves nationalists, including the guy -
- the guy whose name escapes me right now from Spain – Franco, of course,
and Mussolini, and they were all calling themselves nationalists. And they
were awful for minorities.

But this thing about globalist, I didn`t know that was a code. I didn`t I
didn`t know that Soros was particularly targeted because of his faith, his
religion, his Jewishness. Tell me about those code words.

FINEMAN: Well, Chris, to Jewish ears and Jewish eyes, the kind of words
that lend credence to the theory that there`s an insidious force in the
world, somehow not quite human, somehow not responding to your tribe, to
your family, that somehow has no local rules or allegiance, that`s been the
trope that`s – and the accusation that`s been used against the Jews for
hundreds, if not thousands of years.

And that`s something that, even though I did grow up as I – as I did, I
know a lot of history. And that`s all too familiar a sound, because it
posits the local people in the country as something different from the
Jews, who often, for many generations, have lived there and view themselves
as much American or Spanish or Russian as any other person.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: This is the conundrum. This is the threat. This is the
vulnerability that Jews have faced for thousands of years.

Can I add just one quick thing, Chris, since I have a lot of sources back
in Pittsburgh?

MATTHEWS: Sure.

FINEMAN: I am told that, on another network, i.e., FOX, they`re claiming
that all the local political officials, including the governor and the
mayor, et cetera, are going to be with Donald Trump if he goes to
Pittsburgh tomorrow.

I`m told authoritatively by some of those same people – and you should ask
Bill Peduto about this – they`re not having any of it. They might want
Trump at some time. They don`t want him right now, while the Jewish
families are hurrying under Jewish tradition to bury their dead.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, we have the mayor coming on in a moment to
straighten that out.

Let me go to Julia.

I thought – and I have thought a lot about history. I thought World War
II was the turning point. That was the assimilation of Catholics and Jews,
that that is when we got through the door because of all the service our
fathers and grandfathers fought in that war, all of them.

You should see the Star of Davids over at Arlington Cemetery on all those
tombs. It`s unbelievable, and along with the crosses. And I just thought
that was the door opened. But now I wonder about – certainly not
universally in this country, not universally.

IOFFE: Yes.

And it`s interesting you mention World War II, because when Donald Trump
said that he was a nationalist, he didn`t just off the cuff say he was a
nationalist. He said, listen, I – this is an old-fashioned world – word,
and I know I`m not supposed to say it.

Well, the reason it`s an old-fashioned word and the reason you`re not
supposed to say it is because nationalism led us to two World Wars and tens
of millions of people dead in horrible, horrible ways, including in the
Holocaust.

So there`s a reason for that stigma. And him kind of dredging that up and
applying it to himself, as the president of the United States, as – you
know, as we used to say, the leader of the free world, is, frankly,
horrifying.

And, at that point, I think the – kind of the racism and anti-Semitism
that he had been winking at and these dog whistles, I think, became a
vuvuzela.

The one thing I would add about George Soros, when I was a reporter in
Russia, I heard about George Soros` – quote, unquote – “pernicious”
political influence all the time, that he was not Russian, that he was
nefariously controlling all these people and controlling Russian affairs
with all his money.

That was in Russia. I never expected to see it here. I mean, Howard is
right. It`s a trope that goes back hundreds and thousands of years, but,
more approximately, it – I feel like it was plucked straight out of
Putin`s playbook.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, my fellow Americans, for that.

I think we will see. I hope this is a one-off. I still want to believe in
America. We will see.

Julia Ioffe, thank you so much. Howard Fineman.

Up next: The country is more divided than ever. We`re hearing that right
now. And President Trump doesn`t appear to have any interest in mending
it, bringing it together.

What kind of impact will this polarization, sparked up again this weekend,
have on the upcoming elections?

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The string of recent violent attacks has cast a dark shadow over the final
week of campaigning before the midterms, coming out a week and day from
today.

And President Trump initially called for unity in the wake of last week`s
bomb scares and the devastating murders in Pittsburgh, but, since then, he
has continued to attack, attack Democrats and the media and everyone.

Vice President Pence was asked about the president`s own rhetoric. Let`s
hear Pence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everyone has their own
style. And, frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language
about our political differences.

But I just don`t think you can connect it to threats or acts of violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, according to Gallup, however, the president`s approval
rating has dropped four points just this past week, with only 40 percent
approving his job right now.

He`s doing – well, he`s 54 percent negative now. It is the sharpest
decline since June, when President Trump enacted a policy of separating
families at the border. We all remember that.

For more, I`m sure right now by Robert Costa, national political reporter
for “The Washington Post,” and Kimberly Atkins, Washington bureau chief for
“The Boston Herald.”

I want to start with Robert.

You can read the president pretty well. Is he thinking what I was thinking
couple minutes ago? What he`s really trying to do is cut his losses next
Tuesday, figuring he will probably lose the House, probably because the
suburbs in the Midwest and the Northeast, but that he can hang on with a
red states, if he keeps them red hot, hang on, knock off a Democrat in
North Dakota, knock off a Democrat in Missouri, protect seats in Arizona,
Nevada, Tennessee, perhaps knock off a Democrat in Florida?

Is that his game, to split this decision, at least – holding at least the
Senate?

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s evident, in talking to top
advisers to the president and top Republicans, they say the actions the
president has taken, his allies are taking, the words they`re using, it`s
all to rouse that Trump voter, the core voter who came out in 2016 in the
red states.

In the closing stretch, they want to make sure the Trump base comes out
this year. They`re not going to just pitch the suburban voter and try to
win them over on the tax cut or on trade. It`s all about grievance
politics, core issues like trade, going after the media, et cetera.

MATTHEWS: Kimberly, how do you read his politics right now? What does he
see? He`s not an idiot. People may think he is, but he has some political
game plan in raising this hell over this hatred going on right now.

KIMBERLY ATKINS, “THE BOSTON HERALD”: I think that Robert is absolutely
right.

I think he is focusing on the core part of his support. And where that can
help in some of the Senate races and a couple House races, he will be
there.

But this is also – remember, Chris, 2020 has already started. He – this
is also about shoring up and keeping his own base angry by using these
sorts of grievance politics. This is what he`s been relying on since the
beginning of his presidential campaign.

And this plays right into it. I mean, that`s why we saw him express
frustration as attacks, as bombs were being mailed to various targets
around the country, because that took the news headlines off of the
midterms and what he wants to focus on, which is immigration.

That is the biggest grievance item that is on the menu, as far as he`s
concerned, leading into the midterms. That`s why 5,000 troops are going to
the southern border. That`s why he wants to have that imagery there by
Election Day, even though it will be weeks or maybe more than a month
before these migrants from Central America even make it to the border.

He really wants to keep that front and center to galvanize his own base.

MATTHEWS: Well, Robert, respond to that, because I think the iconic aspect
of that is obvious, 4,000 or 5,000, whatever, heading north from Honduras,
halfway here by Election Day, perhaps, that image of the mob at the gate,
as he might like to put it, alongside his use of force, the macho use of
U.S. military people, even though those military people have no legitimacy
at stopping it, much less shooting at people coming to the border.

It will look right as we approach the election. In other words, it`s a
show, like a parade on Constitution Avenue, the same effect.

COSTA: Inside the White House, they say the president`s not being
challenged by his own party.

So, whether it`s the response to the Pittsburgh tragedy, whether it`s his
hard-line position on immigration, Republicans, if you watched the Sunday
shows, if you listened to them today, they`re with this president. That
reveals a lot. They believe his political capital is necessary for their
own political survival, so they`re not calling him out in any fashion.

That gives the White House more leverage to just go full speed ahead on
their issues.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Robert Costa. Thank you, Kimberly Atkins.

Up next, we`re going to get the latest on the closely watched Senate race
down here in Texas.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D-AZ), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: When you describe people
as rapist and criminals inherently based on the country that they come
from, when you describe others as animals or an infestation, when you talk
about neo-Nazis and white supremacists and Klansmen as very fine people,
that`s not the example we need in this country at this moment. But the
great thing is that we don`t have to settle for that. We have an
opportunity to lead with our own example here in Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O`Rourke telling NBC`s
Garrett Haake that the president`s divisive rhetoric is not what this
country needs to heal right now. O`Rourke is battling Republican Senator
Ted Cruz in an effort to turn Texas blue.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Garrett Haake who was with the candidate
today. And he`s currently at an O`Rourke rally in Wichita Falls, Texas –
Garrett.

GARRETT HAAKE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, it`s been interesting to
follow the candidate here all day through very red parts of the state of
Texas, from the high plains down to Lubbock, home of Texas Tech, a place
where Donald Trump got 70 percent of the vote. Now to Wichita Falls, he`s
speaking behind me, I`m going to keep my voice a little bit quiet here.

But we have seen these big crowds all day long for a progressive Democrat
from El Paso in the reddest parts of Texas. This is what his campaign is
absolutely counted on. They added this rally overnight. They`re doing it
in a park in Wichita Falls and they were able to draw a couple hundred
people here.

I`ve been fascinated all day by this paradox. You have this progressive
candidate from the farther west part of the state. He`s raising a ton of
money. He`s turning out people who typically don`t vote.

The polling still shows him down here, and trying to get a finger on the
pulse of why that is, talking to folks who describe themselves as
Republicans for Beto, independents for Beto, folks who voted for Donald
Trump, who now see Beto O`Rourke as the candidate for change, the candidate
who maybe they wanted to see President Trump beat, someone who will fight
for the middle class voters in Texas, who in many cases people tell they
feel like got left behind after decades of Republican control here.

Chris, you`ll get a chance to press Beto O`Rourke on this again tomorrow.
But this is a state that hasn`t elected a Democrat in any statewide office
since 1994. So, there is this change element here, this excitement for
folks who see that perhaps this man could be the person to break that
logjam, and you`re seeing some of that energy right now. And he`s getting
– this has happened a couple times today, essentially followed back to his
car as he drives from city to city. It`s just not the sort of thing you
typically see in a Senate race. It feels like a very different kind of
energy here on the ground, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Garrett Haake. I can`t wait. You`re teasing
me with the excitement. We`ll be there tomorrow.

Be sure to watch right now. Tomorrow night in the HARDBALL College Tour,
we have Senate candidate Beto O`Rourke live from the University of Houston.
That`s tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern.

When we come back, I`ll be joined by the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

While the White House announced the president would visit Pittsburgh
tomorrow, that`s Tuesday, Pittsburgh`s Mayor Bill Peduto has said that,
quote, the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh. I would ask that he
not do so while we are burying the dead. Our attention, our focus is going
to be on them, and we don`t have public safety that can take away from that
until what is needed in order to do both.

Well, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joins us now.

Do you want the president to come tomorrow, sir?

MAYOR BILL PEDUTO (D), PITTSBURGH, PA: I would prefer if he would wait
until we have had the opportunity to have all of the funerals. We were
planning them out starting tomorrow and then going all the way through
Friday. That`s where our priority is in Pittsburgh.

We are trying to take care of the families and the victims and are
coordinating our efforts around that. Obviously, we are going to need a
lot of security at those locations, as well as security that`s been placed
at schools and synagogues and other of our Jewish communities, larger
facilities.

And there`s a lot of work that comes into planning a presidential visit and
it would just be better to let the focus of attention be with the families
tomorrow and not trying to detract it or place it somewhere else.

MATTHEWS: Well, I have to tell you from my own personal view and the
people I`ve been talking to for the last two days, this is not just a
Pittsburgh grieving. This is everywhere. And not just –

PEDUTO: This is worldwide, yes. We have to have –

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

PEDUTO: – a set of priorities of what you need to do. The immediate
concern is to the families of the victims and to those that were wounded,
and that`s where our priorities will be tomorrow. And it will be there
Wednesday all the way until we`re done with that final funeral. Then we
can have other conversations and be able to take care of other issues as
well. Just want to make sure that the president and the White House that`s
where our priorities will be tomorrow.

MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Peduto, Mr. Mayor, I saw you on “Meet the Press”
yesterday. I`m so impressed by your leadership. But hours after the
shooting, President Trump repeated his argument that he often uses after
mass shootings, that the gunman would have been stopped faster if there had
been an armed guard inside that synagogue, that temple.

Here he goes. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a case where if they
had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him
immediately. So, this would be a case where if there was an armed guard
inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him. Maybe there
would have been nobody killed, except for him frankly.

Certainly you want protection, and they didn`t have any protection. They
had a maniac walk in, and they didn`t have any protection, and that is just
so sad to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Mr. Mayor, I`ve been to bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, and I
just can`t imagine some guy standing there with a gun in the midst of a
religious ceremony like that. It doesn`t seem right.

PEDUTO: Well, after September 11th, during the high holy days, we have had
police at our synagogues. We have had synagogues –

MATTHEWS: Oh, you had?

PEDUTO: – which have guards. We have.

But this is the thing. The person who committed this crime was not acting
rationally. There`s no sense of why somebody would do this. To then try
to construct laws around it is not a rational way to approach it.

We should be working toward a society where there is the need for less
guns, not more. We have 300 million guns in this country. How many more
million will it take to stop something like that? And once you arm and
have people in synagogues and mosques and churches and schools, then you
start to have them in day cares and other areas where the elderly or the –
where children are. We might as well move into a prison at that point
because we`re living in a police state where everybody is the police.

I would rather move in a different direction. I`d rather find common sense
reforms that prohibit people that wish to murder because of the hatred from
within, to be able to get the weapons, to be able to kill people.

MATTHEWS: You know, I remember the Holocaust Museum in Washington was
attacked, and the guy – the guard, I think if was an African-American
guard there, he was shot and killed. I`m not sure a guard solved the
problem. Let me ask you about the presidential theme of the last couple
years since he began running for president.

Do you think it`s positive for a community of peace?

PEDUTO: Well, I can tell you this, that in the darkness that has befallen
Pittsburgh, there is a light that shines every few minutes, another act,
another person, another group, an organization from all over this city and
all over this world. Whatever the president`s comments have been over the
past couple of years, there is a large movement that believes that the
rhetoric that drives people to be able to, in open discussion of policy or
dialogue, use hate or bigotry against any people, we`re at a time that has
to end, where that needs to go back – as I said last night, down into the
basement and on a computer and out of the realm of public discourse.

When we tend to move towards hate, we tend to move towards the direction
that will separate us and never allow us to heal. When we move towards
compassion, when we move towards love, we find the way to heal, then we
find a way to be able to begin to work as one.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, you`re a city well-
led. Thank you, sir.

PEDUTO: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish tonight with Abraham`s biblical
call to welcome strangers.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. The Tree of Life synagogue in
Pittsburgh had, like others like it on Saturday, a reading from the Torah.
That`s how Abraham saw some men standing by his home and invited them in
for some water and a bit of food for their journey.

Here`s what Abraham said. Friends, if it`s all right with you, do not go
rush ahead and pass me by. Let me bring you some water, bathe your feet
and rest under the tree, and let me get you something to eat so that you
may refresh yourselves, then go on saying you have come this way.

Well, the example Abraham was giving his people was to welcome strangers,
to help those who pass by your door. I have been struck in recent days,
long before the horror of this weekend in Pittsburgh, by how Jewish people
have been affected by the negative attitudes towards immigration. One man
confronted me in an airport last week and demanded that I think about the
St. Louis, that ship carrying over 900 Jewish refugees that was refused
admission here in the United States in 1939 on the even of World War II.

That man who stopped me didn`t say there was a connection between the
Holocaust and the migrants coming north from Honduras. But President Trump
warns of so vociferously and so obsessively. He didn`t have to make a
connection. It was clear. It`s about turning away people in need,
treating strangers as if they`re enemies, not welcoming them, but repelling
them.

So much of life is about a simple choice between two words: yes or no.
That man who shot the 11 people on Saturday in Pittsburgh was say no to
their very existence. No to the very people being instructed by their
faith to say yes.

No one can safely assert a connection between the preaching of an American
president against migrants of Central America and Saturday`s killings by a
man who spoke maniacally of how Jewish people were aiding invaders. That
was his word. But then who can say there was no connection?

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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