President Trump pays tribute to Allied troops. TRANSCRIPT: 6/6/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Joe Crowley, Shannon Pettypiece, Aaron Blake, Carlos Curbelo, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Dana Milbank
Transcript:

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  And that does it for THE BEAT.  Again, I`ll see

you 6:00 P.M. Eastern tomorrow.  But don`t go anywhere because “HARDBALL”

with Chris Matthews is up next.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  I want to see him in prison.  Let`s play

HARDBALL.

 

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.  Those words were from the

Speaker of the u.s. House of Representatives about the President of the

United States.  I want to see him in prison.  Politico is reporting that in

a closed-door meeting on Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clashed

with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler over how to hold the President

accountable.

 

Unhappy with the Speaker`s current strategy, Nadler pressed Pelosi to allow

his committee to launch an impeachment inquiry but was rebuffed by the

Speaker, according to multiple unnamed sources.  Pelosi`s response,

however, was she didn`t want to him peach, she wants him in prison.  She`s

talking about the President.  Pelosi wants Trump defeated in 2020 and then

prosecuted under the law.

 

With 59 members of Congress who have now expressed support for impeachment

proceedings, here is what Chairman Nadler said in an interview yesterday.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST:  Why not now?  What`s the problem if you start it

right now and begin the process?  You`re going to go ahead with

investigations to begin with.

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  Well, right now, there doesn`t appear to be the

support for it.

 

BLITZER:  In your committee or among the democrats in the whole House?

 

NADLER:  Well, I`m not going to get into that, but there does not appear to

be support for it now and we will see the support may develop.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, this comes as the President today delivered some

politically charged remarks during an interview for the – right in front

of the American cemetery in Normandy, in France.  Speaking in front of

graves of U.S. service members, the President put decorum aside and

attacked Speaker Pelosi and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Do you mind if he testifies still before? 

You said he didn`t care if he were to testify.

 

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  Okay.  He made such a fool out of himself

the last time because what people don`t report is the letter he had to do

to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.  But Nancy

Pelosi, I call her Nervous Nancy, Nancy Pelosi doesn`t talk about it. 

Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, okay.  She is a disaster.  And let her do what

she wants.  You know what, I think they are in big trouble.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, this comes as Politico reports that Robert Mueller could

be subpoenaed in the next two weeks.

 

Democrats are also preparing a house resolution empowering their committee

chairs to enforce the subpoenas that the White House has blocked at every

turn.  According to Politico, it`s a move to stream line and speed up the

House`s ability to respond to a mounting list of confrontations with the

White House.

 

I`m joined now by Shannon Pettypiece, White House Reporter of Bloomberg,

Joe Crowley of New York, former U.S. Congressman from there and former

Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Aaron Blake is a Senior Political

Reporter at The Washington Post.

 

Congressman, thank you for joining us.  I have never heard – I sometimes

think Trump has brought deviation to the norm.  Now the Speaker is saying

he ought to be in prison.  Imagine you live in some rinky dink country out

in the world that has looked up to ours.  You know, some fourth world

country doesn`t even have democracy.  And here, we have the leader of the

opposition saying the other guy is in prison.  This is stuff we used to see

in Pakistan in the old days.  Defeat the guy then hang him.

 

FMR. REP. JOE CROWLEY (D-NY):  I do think though it`s in politic rhetoric. 

But Pelosi is speaking to a number of wings within the party itself.  And I

think she has to be heard to be strong on this as she`s taking a slightly

different tack.

 

MATTHEWS:  I get you.  That`s applied (ph) to it.  In other words, so she

said she really doesn`t like Trump, that makes up for the fact she is not

impeaching him.

 

CROWLEY:  Because, you know, Chris, I have been saying all along – right. 

And what I`ve been saying all along is that she doesn`t believe in a banana

republic.  She thinks that elections have consequences.  And impeachment

shouldn`t be used every time a person doesn`t like the President.  You

know, you hear about it all the time now.  It`s almost become the norm,

when someone doesn`t like it, that the other party tries to impeach them.

 

So what she`s been saying is stay the course, do your jobs, investigate and

let the truth lead where it will.

 

MATTHEWS:  But she`s not going to impeach.

 

CROWLEY:  Well, you know what –

 

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  I have asked a guy –

 

CROWLEY:  I`ve read the second volume of the Mueller report and it`s pretty

damning.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know what you think.  I mean, I accept it.  But I don`t

believe she`s going to be for impeachment a year from now.  So you do that. 

But I – I mean, Shannon, all the reporting said she is delaying.  She`s

saying, I want to hear from one more witness.  I want to hear from Don

McGahn.  I want to hear from Mueller.  I want to hear from – nobody

believes that after those hearings, we have a front page story the next day

that McGahn says he`s told him to fire Mueller, right?  But he didn`t

follow-up.  He didn`t fire Mueller.  So where is the case?  I can see this

coming apart.

 

SHANNON PETTYPIECE, BLOOMBERG NEWS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER:  Yes.  I mean, our

reporting indicates that this prison comment was meant to mean more exactly

what you were saying that I don`t want to impeach.  Let`s find any other

method than impeachment, like indict him and put him in prison after he is

out of office.

 

MATTHEWS:  She said I want him in prison.

 

PETTYPIECE:  Well, because she didn`t want to impeach him.  She said, I

don`t want to impeach him, I want him.

 

MATTHEWS:  She didn`t say, I want to have a trial.

 

PETTYPIECE:  I believe the full quote (ph) is that I don`t want to impeach

him.  I want him in prison.

 

MATTHEWS:  I want him in prison.

 

PETTYPIECE:  But as an alternative, I will do anything other than impeach

this president is what she`s trying to say.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  I agree with you guys with your interpretations.

 

AARON BLAKE, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  I mean, here

is the thing.  That`s not her choice.  That`s the choice of prosecutors,

the SDNY, other people in the Justice Department.  Also, she may – they

may not ultimately have that decision to make if the President is re-

elected, which a lot of people say is a 40, 50, 60 percent chance depending

upon who you ask.  The statute of limitations is going to run on most of

the federal crimes that they can charge him with.  So how are you going to

ultimately get him in prison if you can`t actually charge him after that

second term?

 

PETTYPIECE:  And you can always impeach him during the second term.

 

BLAKE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  Somebody said the other day, I mean, everybody is a pundit now,

I`m a pundit, that we should wait until the second term to impeach him. 

But that would lose a lot of its propulsion by then.

 

PETTYPIECE:  Well, I mean, I guess that`s –

 

MATTHEWS:  If the American people twice elect the guy and then you impeach

him?

 

PETTYPIECE:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, it`s been done.

 

PETTYPIECE:  Well, which what happened – which was exactly what happened

to Nixon in his second term.

 

The calculus in the White House though is that there is not going to be an

impeachment.  They do not think there is enough support in the Democratic

Party.  I don`t know if they are correct about.  But their calculus right

now is that the democrats aren`t going to impeach because they don`t have

the votes and the support, not because it will be bad politically, not

because they don`t think the President committed a crime but because there

is not the support among democrats.

 

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  Here is what I think.  Because I think Pelosi is the

smartest speaker we`ve ever had in so many ways.  And I think she is

calculating the following.  Remember the opening scene in Gone with the

Wind, where all of sudden there is a cheer and we`re going to war with the

Yankees?  Everybody is cheering.  At the end of the war, it was all the

dead people in Atlanta, right, all the people lying in the graves out in

the street there.

 

I get the feeling that she knows that from the second she moves impeachment

hearings, Trump calls the democrats in the House the impeachment House. 

You know, the impeachment democrats.  That`s all you are.  You`re worth

nothing else.  You just want to overturn the election of 2016.  That`s all

you are.  And every day, he dances on that grave from what you guys are

doing and he wins the election.  I think that`s what she`s afraid of.

 

CROWLEY:  It seems to be his game plan, right?  But what I`ve said a number

of times in this network, I think that what`s lacking this town apparently

is character and integrity, and Pelosi has it in droves.  And that`s why

she`d be able to keep this, her caucus together and behind here in this. 

They believe in her.  She has more suasion over this caucus.  And it`s a

testament to her friends.

 

MATTHEWS:  Could she keep the numbers pushing for impeachment down to under

40, roughly where it is now?

 

CROWLEY:  I think she can.  I think she can.  If that`s her will, I think

she can do that.

 

MATTHEWS:  What kind of pressure is on Chairman Nadler?

 

CROWLEY:  I believe Jerry (INAUDIBLE) 35 years.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  He`s been stalwart (ph).  But he is getting pressure, I

assume, from the newer members, like AOC and all of them, and he`s also

getting pressure from the boss.

 

CROWLEY:  Here`s a guy that voted for the Iran deal, and why it matters.  A

Jewish American himself, the largest supported by Jewish America and voted

for the deal which stood that against the primary.  And Jerry –

 

MATTHEWS:  Against the hard right over there, yes.

 

CROWLEYT:  Jerry is a tough guy.  And Jerry also doesn`t believe in using

the justice system to persecute, even this president.  He believes that

he`ll follow the law, he`ll follow – again, follow the truth.  Let the

truth come out and let it lead where it goes.

 

PETTYPIECE:  And he can continue doing indictments and contempt votes and

hearings and showing to that wing of the party that wants impeachment,

we`re doing something, we`re exposing this, we`re even embarrassing the

President.  He continues to paint (INAUDIBLE) without having to go down the

impeachment route.  So they can accomplish a lot of the things they may

want to accomplish without having to do –

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I`ll talk about what happened on Tuesday night at that

rough meeting apparently between her and the chairman, the Speaker and the

Chairman.  Given the chance, Nancy Pelosi refused to comment on Trump`s

possible impeachment while commemorating the fallen heroes of D-Day.  She

didn`t play Trump`s game today.  Watch.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST:  Do you worry about the politics right now,

impeachment and everything else on the table and how they can further

divide us?

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  Well, again, with all due respect to your

question, I`m not here to talk about impeachment.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  I have to wonder about this media.  I know Andrea is the best

there is, but we probably shouldn`t talk nasty boy politics in front of the

graves.  Everybody – we have all been there, I think.  It`s an astounding

place to go and the gravesites are something else, and it is sacred ground.

 

BLAKE:  And it`s always been that politics stops at the water`s edge and

that would doubly true when you`re standing in front of a cemetery honoring

dead American service members.  But, you know, this eroded over the course

of the last several years.

 

I was looking back in 2016 when Vice President Biden was in Latvia.  He

made a dig at President Trump who is then running for the presidency

talking about how he didn`t respect NATO, he didn`t understand Article V. 

And then, of course, the President comes in and then all bets are off when

the President is in office.

 

MATTHEWS:  Why don`t they go over to Arlington to debate politics?

 

CROWLEY:  No, you don`t.

 

MATTHEWS:  And cross the river for him.

 

CROWLEY:  I also think it was kind of a softball for Nancy.  He tossed this

up.  And instead of attacking the President, she showed who she really is. 

Our character again comes through.  We`re at a scared place, a solemn, and

this is not the place for it.  And I think it gave Nancy an opportunity to

show what she`s really made of.

 

MATTHEWS:  At least one 2020 candidate is stepping her rhetoric when it

comes to impeaching the President.  Here`s Senator Elizabeth Warren last

night during Chris Hayes` town hall.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA):  Donald Trump, as president, delayed,

deflected, moved, fired, and did everything he could to obstruct justice. 

If he were any other person in the United States, based on what`s

documented in that report, he would be carried out in handcuffs.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  So, Shannon, there you see the divide between the parliamentary

responsibility of the Speaker and the chairs of the committee and the road

show.  The road show is to speak to the animated, activated, energetic left

of the Democratic Party who were out for blood.

 

PETTYPIECE:  And, say, Elizabeth Warren, I think, many people forgot she

was running and then she came out real strong on impeachment.  It was one

of the first candidates to come out strongly on impeachment.  And we`ve

kind of seen her star rise since then.

 

MATTHEWS:  Smart.  Go through the whole thing now.  Bernie is not doing

that.

 

PETTYPIECE:  Right, no, he`s not.  And, I mean –

 

MATTHEWS:  She`s catching up.

 

PETTYPIECE:  And I would say maybe a month – I felt like a month of ago, I

was not hearing people talk about her.  It was pretty much that Bernie had

the left wing of the party sort of locked up.  And now, people are telling

me, they were in Oakland and they saw this crowd enormous crowd and

Elizabeth Warren`s event.  So, yes, she has been kind of a leader among the

2020 candidates on this impeachment, and I think that`s helped her

.

MATTHEWS:  Aaron, you watch that.  Because I`m watching her and I think if

you are willing to burn your bridges to the middle for the short time for

the next year and you`re willing to go hard left on something that`s so

emotional, getting rid of this president, I mean, I hear it everywhere, get

rid of this president.  And the people that are progressives or liberals or

people on the left are so angry about this, they want it over with. When

are we going – people stop me everywhere.  Why don`t we get rid of this

guy?  And she says, I want to get rid of him.

 

BLAKE:  Yes.  I saw that clip and I said it almost looks like she is

planning this to put in a campaign ad down the line.  And I wouldn`t be

surprised if she does.  But I think what she`s being smart about here is

she is doing that.  She came out early for impeachment.

 

MATTHEWS:  But couldn`t Bernie do this if he wanted to?

 

BLAKE:  He could.  But she`s also marrying it with the I have a plan thing. 

She`s putting out detailed policy proposals.  People are accusing Joe Biden

right now kind of being a one-note candidate.  He`s all anti-Trump.  That`s

the only thing he can talk about right now.  She is doing this thing that

Biden is doing in certain ways, but she`s also providing very detailed

things that liberal voters can look at and say, I would like this person

even if she wasn`t so anti-Trump.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well done (ph), sail and cargo, as I say in politics.  You have

to have the sail, which is excitement and all the drift, all the people

pushing for you, and you have to have something to bring along.  Do you

agree with that?

 

CROWLEY:  I do.

 

MATTHEWS:  And I think she`s got it.  I think – I keep thinking one

standard, Joe.  Can they carry Pennsylvania?  And with her, I don`t know. 

I think Biden could.  I think kamala could, a little riskier.  But in the

end, it`s going to be on conditions and how to –

 

CROWLEY:  What I heard about Elizabeth Warren is, for many democrats, is

that she has a good message.  She has a message that resonates, but it`s

the messenger.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  That`s the challenge.

 

PETTYPIECE:  And to your point of sail and cargo, if you`re just an anti-

Trump candidate, well, let`s say, you get elected, Trump is gone.  Then

what are you?  And then that question is going to come about.  But I think

you`re also right there.

 

MATTHEWS:  Or if you`re running on the hard left, you`re going to have

Medicare for all and all those good things, college expenses, and you

confront Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and you`re a senator with nothing

to get anything done, nothing.  That`s a possibility.  Your cargo is

dumped.

 

PETTYPIECE:  And to your point, it`s Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

is all that matters so far.

 

MATTHEWS:  Former Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, Shannon Pettypiece,

who is brilliant, because I agree with her, and Aaron Blake.

 

Coming up, the two faces of President Trump, the not so good.  One is okay,

one is awful, and face Janus masks.  You know, the President got all his

lines right about the heroism of allied forces on D-Day, but in his spirit

time, it was Trump airing his grievances about London`s Mayor, Special

Counsel Robert Mueller and even Bette Midler at 1:30 in the morning local

London time.  He`s got Bette Midler on his (INAUDIBLE) voice singing. 

What`s going on with this guy?

 

The President`s next big patriotic gesture comes next month, however, when

he turns America`s 4th of July celebration into a star spangled MAGA rally.

 

We`ve got much more aggravate here.  Stick with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  One these shores, on these blocks (ph), on this day 75 years ago,

10,000 men shed their blood and thousands sacrificed their lives for their

brothers, for their countries and for the survival of liberty.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  That was President Trump today

honoring American and allied soldiers on the 75th anniversary of D-Day,

where more than 150,000 troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, turning the

tide of World War II.

 

Well, the President was joined by French President Emmanuel Macron and

living veterans of the invasion.  We saw that today.  These guys were in

their 90s.  Trump paid tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the fighting

men and the enduring ties of the military alliance that went on to defeat

the Nazis.  Here he goes.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  To all of our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was

forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven in the

blessings of peace.  Our bond is unbreakable.

 

To the men who sit behind me and to the boys who rest in the field before

me, your example will never ever grow old.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  But that somber reflection stood a stark contrast with the

interview he gave to Fox News just minutes earlier, minutes, using the head

stones of the fallen heroes as a backdrop as he slammed House Speaker Nancy

Pelosi and other critics.  It`s in keeping with what The New York Times

called a split screen of a president, embracing regal respectability on one

side and settling scores on the other.

 

He was hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace just hours after

calling London`s Mayor a stone cold loser on Twitter.  He fired off Tweets

in the middle of the night calling Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer a

creep and actress Bette Midler, as I said, at 1:30 in the morning a washed

up psycho.

 

And then, once again he flipped the switch, acting presidential at a

commemoration event reading from Franklin Roosevelt`s prayer to the country

the night before D-Day.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon

a mighty endeavor.  A struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and

our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Peter Baker, chief White House

correspondent with “The New York Times,” and Jon Meacham, NBC News

historian and co-author of “Songs of America.”

 

Let me start with Jon.

 

Jon, do you think it`s, let`s say, plausible that the Democrats will run

against Trump next year the way that W. ran against Clinton, by saying,

when I take the oath of office, I will also take an oath to uphold the

dignity of the Oval Office?  And everybody knew what that meant.  It was

about Monica and Bill. 

 

Do you think the Democrats care that much about the dignity of the office

that you can run against this guy for what a clown he has been in his

political behavior in the last few days? 

 

JON MEACHAM, NBC NEWS HISTORIAN:  I do. 

 

I think it`s there for the picking.  We have a situation where the

president never pivoted.  The incumbent president never moved from

professional wrestler and provocateur to the person who, in another phrase

of Franklin Roosevelt`s, the presidency, which is preeminently a place of

moral leadership. 

 

And so I think the case for dignity, I think the case for respect and

empathy is going to be a huge part of this. 

 

Now, the interesting question, of course, is whether that moves enough

people, because, clearly, the people who are with the president have long

ago discounted, or perhaps even worse, decided that they enjoy this

bifurcated behavior.  It is part of the show. 

 

And so the question is, are there enough people in Pennsylvania, Michigan,

Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida who would like to have a president who acts and

sounds like a president all the time, not just when he decides to try it? 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

Peter, I want to get to a fact-check here, because I`m looking at Macron,

the president of France.  And he`s got his own problems too.  He`s no

perfect leader, whatever. 

 

But he must have heard the president of the United States say yesterday –

or today, actually, in a different time zone – that we have this bond with

Europe.  We have this bond that`s unshakable.  But he called it a military

bond. 

 

What`s happening with the idea – for months now, Trump, ever since he took

office, has been trashing our alliance with Europe, trashing our need to

respect our allies in NATO especially.  And, at the same time, he comes out

today and acts like, I`m your best brother in the world.  We have an

unshakeable bond with Europe, with the Allies from World War II. 

 

PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”:  Yes.

 

Well, imagine that.  President Trump is sometimes inconsistent.  I know we

should…

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

BAKER:  … maybe be surprised, but it`s not.

 

Look, I think what he would say is that they have differences on issues

like trade, on defense spending and so forth, but they can still be close

allies.  It doesn`t sound like that a lot of the time.  That`s the trick,

is that when he badgers them on an issue that other presidents have also

had with Europe about their – how much they contribute to the defense of

Europe in terms of NATO, he does it in a way that is so personal and so

visceral, it doesn`t sound like two allies urging each other to do better. 

 

It sounds like two – two adversaries who don`t particularly like each

other.  So when he gets out there, as you say, and mouths the words that

have been scripted for him for an event like this, the words you have to

say in this kind of a moment, it does kind of ring against the grain of the

other policies and adversarial approach he`s been taking to Europe. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

Well, the president`s dual personality was perhaps most evident as he

discussed the bravery of these soldiers of D-Day, after downplaying his own

lack of service in Vietnam during his interview with Piers Morgan

yesterday. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. 

Now they had come to offer their lives half-a-world from home.

 

They came, wave after wave, without question, without hesitation, and

without complaint.

 

PIERS MORGAN, TALK SHOW HOST:  You were not able to serve in Vietnam

because of a bone spur condition in your feet.  Do you wish you had been

able to serve?  Would you liked to have served your country?

 

TRUMP:  Well, I was never a fan of that war.  I will be honest with you.  I

thought it was a terrible war.  I thought it was very far away. 

 

Nobody ever – you know, you`re talking about Vietnam, and, at the time,

nobody ever heard of the country. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Jon, you don`t have to be a historian to recognize that, in

1968, when he got that deferment for his bone spur from that concierge

doctor in Manhattan, a tenant of his father who did it as a favor,

apparently, to know that the Vietnam War was the number one issue in the

country at the time.

 

It was dividing our country like we can`t believe even today.  And to say

that nobody ever heard of Vietnam is absurd. 

 

MEACHAM:  It is.

 

And it`s – by 1968, the average casualty rate per day killed in action was

47 – 47 Americans died every day, on average, in 1968.  And it was – the

war was one thing in 1966.  The war was a very different thing in `68-`69.

 

It was a generational choice that many people made.  But let`s be clear.  A

lot of people didn`t have a choice.  A lot of people who didn`t have the

means and the ability to manipulate the draft or move out of the line of

fire were those – and then people had to go in their place. 

 

And we are still dealing with the very un-American, unequal fallout from

the inequality of the way the draft worked. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

You know, Peter, back when I was a speechwriter, our goal was to read what

the president said, keep up with him.  Do Trump speechwriters listen to

what he says?  There`s no connection between what he said about D-Day and

what he said about himself.  There`s no connection.  That`s not the same

person talking.

 

One is a dodger, and one is an absolute patriot. 

 

BAKER:  Yes, he says, look, I have made up for it because, in effect, now,

by giving the military a lot of money through the budget, that should –

that should take care of any issues that are out there.  He`s so pro-

military, he`s saying that it doesn`t really matter whether he personally

served or not. 

 

Now, look, he`s not the first president to not have served in Vietnam. 

What`s really interesting, of course, is, we have three of the last four

presidents are Vietnam era generation, and all three of them managed to

avoid serving in Vietnam.  Bill Clinton, of course, avoided the draft.  And

George W. Bush served, but served in the Texas Air National Guard at home. 

 

President Trump, as you mentioned, had the bone spurs.  So, Americans used

to think that was a pretty important qualification for a president.  Today,

they look at it differently.  And I think that, because of the ambivalence

a lot of people feel about Vietnam, the president can probably say one

thing about Vietnam, another thing about the D-Day soldiers who went in 75

years ago.

 

MATTHEWS:  I think if the Republicans knew a Democratic president had

pulled that number that he did with his bone spur, they would never forgive

him, never. 

 

Anyway, thank you, Peter Baker.  Thank you, Jon Meacham. 

 

Up next: Joe Biden being separated right now from the rest of the

Democratic pack on the issue of federal funding for abortion.  Is

government funding for abortion going to be a Democratic litmus test come

2020 already?

 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden is maintaining his front-runner status,

with a new poll out from Reuters showing him with double the support of his

nearest rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. 

 

And now Biden`s Democratic challenges are looking for ways, of course, to

chip away at that lead of his.

 

On Wednesday – that`s yesterday – an opportunity presented itself for

that when the Biden campaign confirmed to NBC News that the former senator

– he was a senator for all those years – continues to support the Hyde

Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal money, federal funding for

abortions. 

 

The Hyde Amendment was first passed in 1976, three years after Roe v. Wade,

and has been attached to every health appropriations bill since then,

including Obamacare.  His Democratic challenges were quick to oppose

Biden`s position, while mostly not hitting him personally. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Things like the Hyde

Amendment are attacks on women.  And I will continue to fight to rip them

down and empower women to have better access to contraceptive care, to

health care, and the kinds of things that help them live healthy lives,

where they control their destinies, not a bunch of politicians. 

 

BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I hope that Joe Biden rethinks

his position this issue.  Perhaps he doesn`t have all the facts.  Perhaps

he doesn`t understand who the Hyde Amendment hurts most.  And, again, it`s

lower-income communities, communities of color.

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We do not pass laws

that take away that freedom for the women who are most vulnerable. 

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

WARREN:  It`s been the law for a while.  And it`s been wrong for a long

time, because it really is.  It`s just discrimination. 

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Historically, senators from both sides of the aisle have voted

in favor of funding bills with the Hyde language included with it. 

 

Every current or former member of Congress running for president has, in

fact, voted in favor of bills that do include the Hyde Amendment.  However,

eight of those members have co-sponsored a bill that would repeal it, the

Hyde Amendment.

 

For more, I`m joined by former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of

Florida, and Zerlina Maxwell, senior director of progressive programming

for SiriusXM. 

 

How does this work, do you see it now, in the next couple of weeks, even

days, Zerlina, politically?

 

ZERLINA MAXWELL, SIRIUSXM RADIO:  I think that this is a point of

vulnerability for Joe Biden. 

 

And I actually think that, eventually, we may see him shift his position on

the Hyde Amendment because of the pressure from the Democratic base.  This

is an issue that came up in 2016.  And Hillary Clinton was a staunch,

staunch opponent of the Hyde Amendment and was very vocal about repeal.

 

It ultimately ended up in the DNC-adopted platform at the convention

because the Democratic Party right now has shifted on this issue.  We

understand that the Hyde Amendment essentially means that there are two

classes of women in the United States.  One class of women can afford

abortion, and they have access to all of their constitutionally allowed

health care options. 

 

And then poor women, mostly women of color, do not have that access and

those – freedom to exercise their rights.  And, frankly, one in five

American women of reproductive age are on Medicaid.  So, this is a lot of

American women we`re talking about. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about the numbers now. 

 

Basically, I`m looking at the number here; 58 percent of the country, that

large, Democrat, Republican and independent, 58 percent are against using

Medicaid or government money, taxpayer money, to pay for abortions.  That`s

a pretty decent majority. 

 

On the other hand, among Democrats, Clinton supporters when they did this

poll, 57 percent, another healthy majority among Democrats, are for it. 

 

So, Congressman, what do you think of this trade-off?  Because it seems

like, if you just look at this in political terms, obviously, Biden is with

a minority of Democrats – there may be 30 or 40 percent of Democrats who

are against this funding.  The whole country as a whole is, by margin,

against it. 

 

What`s that tell you politically, as he goes from Iowa, to New Hampshire,

to South Carolina, to California?

 

CARLOS CURBELO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  Chris, Joe Biden is running

an unconventional campaign for a primary. 

 

He is basically not apologizing about the fact that he`s running as a

consensus-builder, as someone who wants to build a coalition to try to win

in November.  He`s almost looking past the primaries.  Now, that`s

dangerous.  And the big question here is whether Democratic base voters are

going to tolerate this kind of candidacy, where Biden isn`t apologizing,

he`s owning his positions. 

 

And he`s basically announcing or making it clear that he`s not going to

change who he is, that he`s been a dealmaker his whole career.  He`s

reached across the aisle.  And I think he`s signaling here to a lot of

those independent voters, those swing voters who will make the decision in

November of next year as to who`s going to be the next president that he is

going to govern from the middle. 

 

Again, this is dangerous.  This is unconventional these days, as both

parties have moved, Republicans to the right, Democrats to the left.  So

it`s a dangerous strategy for a primary.  We will just have to see if

Democrats will tolerate this kind of approach. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, do you think it`ll become a litmus test, Zerlina? 

 

MAXWELL:  I do think it will become somewhat of a litmus test.  I`m not

saying that people will not support Joe Biden only for this reason. 

 

But I think this goes to a litany of reasons why his candidacy is under

such scrutiny, not just because he`s the front-runner, but he was in the

Senate for longer than I was alive, Chris. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

MAXWELL:  And he has a record that doesn`t jibe with current views on many,

many issues, not just race, not just abortion, but also criminal justice

reform.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CURBELO:  But, Chris – but, Chris…

 

MATTHEWS:  Go ahead, Congressman.

 

CURBELO:  Chris, I think Joe Biden`s message to, not just Democrats, but to

the country, is that he wants to win in November.

 

And, sure, that means sacrificing some of the decisions that would be made

in a primary process.  We know that there`s a lot of pandering to the bases

of each party in primaries.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

CURBELO:  We have seen that a lot over the last decade.

 

Joe Biden is saying, I`m going to be principled.  I want to govern from the

middle.  I want a change.  And perhaps the change in politics these days is

to not go for the base strategy, to try to win those middle-of-the-road

voters. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MAXWELL:  But what about the women who are hurt by this policy? 

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

MAXWELL:  I think that`s what the conversation the Democratic base is

having right now, is about who is negatively impacted by this policy. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

 

MAXWELL:  And it`s women of color who are a very important constituency…

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m with you.

 

MAXWELL:  … that Biden will need in the primary and the general.

 

MATTHEWS:  Strong words, and true words, I think.

 

Anyway, on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on threats

to reproductive rights in America.  And during the hearing, the chairman of

the committee, Jerry Nadler, went on after a Republican member for wanting

to impose, as he put, his beliefs on other Americans.

 

Take a look at this quote. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY):  The rhetoric from the ranking member of the

subcommittee is heartfelt and sincere. 

 

It is also arrogant, in that it seeks to impose his and certain other

people`s moral commitments on everybody else who don`t – on people who

don`t share those moral opinions. 

 

The power of the state should not be used by one segment of society to

impose its moral or religious beliefs on another segment of society. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Congressman, I think you could argue that those words could be

used just as well from people who are – who believe that abortion is wrong

morally, it`s of grave moral consequences to them, and they don`t want

their money or their government supporting it by funding it. 

 

And, therefore, it`s the same way you could argue a person who doesn`t

share a maybe evangelical or Roman Catholic belief about the unborn or the

fetus life or whatever and the importance of life, if you don`t share in

that, you shouldn`t be out – shouldn`t be ignored and overlooked. 

 

This is a tricky question. 

 

CURBELO:  Well, Chris – yes, Chris, I…

 

MATTHEWS:  And I don`t think anybody can claim high moral ground, when

there`s so much moral consequence, both sides, in this issue. 

 

CURBELO:  Yes.  Yes.

 

I`m a Catholic.  And I`m pro-life.  And I can certainly relate to that. 

And I think that`s why so many Democrats over the years have agreed to

compromise with Republicans on this issue and to say, even though we, those

of us who are Democrats, support abortion rights, we will go ahead and

agree that taxpayers who may strongly disagree with this policy – in my

case, I do – that taxpayers not be forced to pay for these abortions. 

 

So, it`s a very controversial issue.  This has been going on, Chris, since

before…

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

CURBELO:  … Roe vs. Wade, the divide in our country.

 

But the fact is…

 

MATTHEWS:  I got to go.

 

CURBELO:  … even a lot of those Democrats who today are campaigning and

criticizing Joe Biden have voted in spending bills for this policy exactly

for that reason, because they don`t want to impose abortion on American

taxpayers. 

 

MATTHEWS:  We don`t as a country hold the same values.  We don`t all hold

the same values. 

 

Thank you, Congressman, former congressman.  As always, Zerlina Maxwell.

 

Up next, from a celebration of our country`s independence to a celebration

of Donald Trump?  A closer look at the president`s plans to insert himself

into what has been a nonpartisan, well, celebration on the Fourth of July. 

 

We`re back after this. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

For a man who loves pomp and circumstance, President Trump has received his

fair share of it this week.  Meeting with the queen of England and being

hosted for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. 

 

And today, he participated in a D-Day commemoration alongside French

President Emmanuel Macron that include a flyover, they`re they are, of

military aircraft.  Well, in just four weeks, President Trump, always the

showman, will be putting himself at the center of an annual celebration

here at home that is typically remained a political.  U.S. Park Police and

D.C. officials have confirmed to “The Washington Post” that the president

will deliver remarks from the Lincoln Memorial to the crowd celebrating the

Fourth of July. 

 

He will be the first president in almost seven decades to do so.  The last

was President Harry Truman back in 1951 for the 175th anniversary for the

Declaration of Independence. 

 

It was back in February, of course, that President Trump said he was

considering holding an event on the Fourth of July. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We are thinking about doing

something which would become perhaps a tradition, a salute to America on

July 4th or July 4th weekend.  It could be a very exciting day.  The

fireworks is there anyway, we just saved doing fireworks.  We get free

fireworks because it`s already being done. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Two of those members are gone right now. 

 

The president has been eager to find a way to insert himself into this

country`s celebration ever since he was dazzled by France`s Bastille Day

celebration in 2017.  He even talked about hosting a parade with tanks

rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

 

And not surprisingly, the reaction to the president`s plan has been largely

negative, with one member of the U.S. Congress comparing it to the old

Soviet Union. 

 

We`ll get to that, next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

President Trump`s plans to deliver a speech at this year`s Fourth of July

celebration is receiving push back from lawmakers who are worried the

president will try to make it all about him.  Three senior House Democrats,

including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a letter to the president asking

him to reconsider his plans.

 

And Washington, D.C.`s nonvoting representative, Congresswoman Eleanor

Holmes-Norton, told “The Washington Post”, you never want to make events

like this around a single person.  This is the difference between the

Soviet Union – the old Soviet Union and the United States.  Cults of

personality are not how we operate in this country. 

 

For more, I`m joined by herself, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and

Dana Milbank, political columnist for “The Washington Post”.

 

Congresswoman, it`s great to have you on and I know you`re protecting home

turf here.  It`s your District of Columbia, it`s your capital city, and

Trump wants to turn it into a MAGA event. 

 

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D-DC):  He does and he is trying to commandeer

the holiday that is perhaps most nonpartisan in our country.  I mean, it`s

all about – where are those fireworks come from?  They came from

Frankfort.  That`s what they did for joy.  We are doing them to this day. 

 

If you go to the Mall, and that`s where we usually have, in the foot of the

capital, you won`t be able to tell a Democrat from a Republican. 

Presidents do not insert themselves into these holidays.

 

What do we do there?  We have music.  We have picnics.

 

But once a president who was a political figure inserts himself into a

holiday of this kind, he invites protests.  That`s the last thing we need

on the Fourth of July.  Bring us together. Bring us together, don`t pull us

apart on the Fourth of July.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, speaking of that, Congresswoman, I`m imagining what the

president has in mind is the traditional concerts and entertainment at the

foot of the capitol, west front, which he had for years, and have these

dueling banjos situations where he`s down – simultaneously at the Lincoln

Memorial talking to his troops. 

 

There will be protests – the congresswoman said, there will be protests

against him or for him.  Certainly against him.  It`s not going to be

pretty. 

 

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST:  It doesn`t matter

if he`ll claim the crowd size was all there because of him.  No, I mean, I

suspect he would be very happy with that outcome because it`s sort of a

living embodiment of the polarization that he does. 

 

I`m not surprised that he`s tried to do that.  I`m surprised it`s taken him

this long.  I mean, think about it, he`s already announced that he made it

to safe to say merry Christmas again.  He tried to take over Veterans Day

with the parade.  He was asked on Thanksgiving what he is thankful for and

he said he is thankful for himself and for his leadership. 

 

So, he is injecting himself into every American tradition.  So, we

shouldn`t be surprised by this.  I mean, the question is where does this

end? 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, we have the head of the Republican Party, nationally,

Congresswoman, who thinks it`s great because on Fourth of July, she said,

it should be a celebrate – chance to be celebrating our president. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  This stuff I`ve never heard before.  Go ahead.

 

HOLMES NORTON:  How about celebrating our country?  That`s what I thought

it was all about. 

 

And even people who don`t think much about their country every day do think

about the birth of a nation.  That`s the time to celebrate it.  When you

mention Harry Truman, remember, that was on an anniversary of our

independence. 

 

This is his perhaps third try to insinuate himself into a holiday of this

kind.  And, by the way, I`m not sure he wants to go to the Mall.  That`s a

wide open space.  It`s not a good place to be on the Fourth of July with a

crowd like that. 

 

He says the Lincoln Memorial.  That was where we had the march on

Washington. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

HOLMES NORTON:  Presidents don`t go there just to be going there.  Even if

he were to give a completely Fourth of July nonpartisan speech, it would be

very much resented that he stole the Fourth of July for his own political

purposes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  He will probably go after Bette Midler there anyway. 

 

Let`s watch RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel saying this is also a day we should be

celebrating President Trump. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

RONNA ROMNEY MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIR:  We are celebrating the anniversary 75

years of D-Day.  This is a time where we should be celebrating our

president, the great achievements of America, and I don`t think the

American people like this constant negativity.  There are times when we

should be lifting our president, especially when he`s overseas. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Republican Party.  She thinks the party is the Trump party, we

should celebrate Donald Trump on the Fourth of July. 

 

MILBANK:  This is for the state – it`s him.  This isn`t a president.  This

is Louis XIV hat we`re talking about. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HOLMES NORTON:  We don`t celebrate a person.  We don`t celebrate any person

on the Fourth of July.  We celebrate the nation. 

 

MILBANK:  Not until this moment, Congresswoman.  But you can imagine

sitting there in front of the Lincoln Memorial comparing his poll numbers

favorably to Abe Lincoln.  I mean –

 

MATTHEWS:  And imagining the size of the crowd in his own mind. 

 

Thank you.  It`s great to have you on, Congresswoman.  Thank you, Eleanor

Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, and Dana Milbank. 

 

Up next, remembering a generation who taught us how to make a selfless

silent gift of patriotic courage. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, today, we remember the servicemen who risked and in some

cases lost their lives storming the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago.  Over

150,000 troops were carried by ships across the English Channel where they

invaded a 50-mile stretch of the German-held coastline.  And there, they

crossed the open beaches, completely exposed to enemy fire. 

 

It`s a generation of American men who never learned to brag.  My father`s

best friends piloted the boats that delivered the troops to the shores of

Normandy.  He did the same at other western landings in 1944.  And he and

his wife would rightly come over for coffee and cake or play pinochle with

my parents, and on Saturdays when he and dad played golf together.  And all

that time, he never mentioned what he had done in the war. 

 

There was Uncle George, my father`s brother, who drove his tank right into

the camps, the concentration camps, a liberator of the starving people they

met and set free.  And he never talked about it with us, nor did my father-

in-law who fought in the South Pacific. 

 

Tom Brokaw, that great man, called these guys the greatest generation, and

they were also, as the “New York Times” had it in this morning`s paper, the

quiet generation.  They didn`t brag.  They didn`t even share the stories of

courage in that great war that united so many, a war that ended 50 million

lives and changed so many more. 

 

So, tonight, in the quiet and safety of the 21st century America, I`d like

to share and paying tribute to those who came before us and taught us how

to do it, to take it, to get through it, and to make the selfless silent

gift of courage of which the battle of Normandy was a gleaming emblem. 

 

My grandfather – grandmother, rather, an immigrant from northern Ireland

had three photographs on her bedroom wall all the time, her three sons who

served in World War II for her new country.  She knew that those pictures

were all that needed to be said. 

 

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

 

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 

 

 

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