Trump defends racially charged remarks. TRANSCRIPT: 7/12/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, David Jolly, Susan Page, Anita Kumar, David Cay Johnston

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  That does it for me.  I`ll be back live from

Washington tomorrow for THE BEAT at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.


But right now, it`s “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  American blasphemy?  Let`s play HARDBALL.


Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.  When an American

President spoke of welfare queens, we knew what he meant.  When that same

American President spoke of the young buck who bought gin with his food

stamps, we got the point.  When his successor exploited the angry portrait

of Willie Horton, we got that again.  And when his successor went after

sister soldier, we saw him working the same racial wedge, but not since

Woodrow Wilson showed birth of a nation in the White House has an American

President been so flagrant in his racial messaging as this one.


Today, President Trump amplified his language on race from a dog whistle to

a bugle call, driving home his inflammatory and racist attacks on four

democratic congresswomen of color.


On Sunday, he went after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna

Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, Tweeting that the progressive democrat women,

congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a

complete and total catastrophe should go back and help fix the totally

broken and crime-infested places from which they came, then come back and

show us how it`s done.


Well, all four congresswomen are American citizens.  Three of them were

born here in this country.  Bbut today, the President sharpened his attack,

escalating his incendiary words.




DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  All I`m saying that if they`re not happy

here, they can leave.

They can leave.  And you know what?  I`m sure that there will be many

people that won`t miss them.


REPORTER:  Are you okay with people –


TRUMP:  But these are people – quiet, quiet, quiet.


REPORTER:  Mr. President, are you okay with people thinking your Tweets are

racist, sir?


TRUMP:  Quiet.  They`re socialists, definitely.  As to whether or not

they`re communists, I would think they might be.  But this isn`t what our

country is about.


Nevertheless, they are free to leave if they want.  These are people that

hate our country.  Hey, John, they hate our country.  They hate it, I

think, with a passion.


Now, it`s possible I`m wrong.  The voter will decide.


REPORTER:  Does it concern you that many people saw that Tweet as racist

and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that



TRUMP:  It doesn`t concern me because many people agree with me.  And all

I`m saying, they want to leave, they can leave.


Now, it doesn`t say leave forever.  It says leave if you want.




MATTHEWS:  Well, even before his tirade this afternoon, the President had

already dug in and demanded an apology from them, saying for the foul

language they have used and the terrible things they have said.


Well, democrats were united in their condemnation of the President`s

invective.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tweeted, the President`s Tweet,

quote, reaffirms his plan to make America great again has always been about

making America white again.  Our diversity is our strength and our unity is

our power.


Well, the four congresswomen who responded to the President`s comments

today at the Capitol just a short time ago.




REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI):  The recent Tweets and words from the President

are simply a continuation of his racist, xenophobic playbook.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN):  This is his plan to pit us against one another.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY):  All of this is a distraction.  It`s

a distraction from what`s most important and from our core values as

American citizens.


REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA):  I encourage the American people and all of us

in this room and beyond to not take the bait.  This is a disruptive

distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the

American people.




MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Christina Greer, Associate Professor of

Political Science at Fordham University, Jamal Simmons, democratic

strategist, Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York

Times, and Jon Meacham, NBC News Historian.  I want to start with



It`s possible, I guess, we saw today that the President can say something

that`s not only evil but also dumb.  What did he accomplish today in

American history?



UNIVERSITY:  I mean, he shored up his base, per usual.  But I think the

greater problem is we spend so much time talking about these racist, not

racially coded, these racist Tweets and his behavior that is getting more

and more incendiary and we`re not keeping our eye on the ball.


And we have to – you know, we have to keep talking about Flint.  We have

to keep talking about hurricane season and the fact that Puerto Rico is

still without power and medicine and sort of basic needs as American

citizens deserve.  We have to talk about so many of the social justice

issues that this president just continues to ignore.


And so, unfortunately, he realizes that this bully pulpit, as he gets more

and more nervous as 2020 approaches, he has to make sure that he makes his

case to the American people in framing it.  Because he has failed economic

policies, it has to be Latinos and immigrants who are taking their jobs

away, which is obviously not true, right?  He has to sort of make this case

that all of his failed initiatives that he promised his base and his party

when he came down that gold escalator.


Mind you now, as a child of immigrants and twice married to two immigrants,

right?  Four of his five children are children of immigrants, but he has to

use this rhetoric to make sure that he can frame all of his failures in a

way that it`s never him and it`s always someone else who is taking away

from the good, quote, unquote, white Americans who deserve to be here.


And I think what really needs to happen is, if I hear one person say, well,

I didn`t vote for him, you know, I definitely didn`t vote for him, but

everyone in my family did, you know, it`s time for a lot of American

citizens who are so frustrated and disgusted by this president, they have

to do the work in their own families to make sure that this does not happen

again, because this particular president is getting more and more vicious

in his attacks.


MATTHEWS:  Professor, I don`t tell my brothers how to vote and they don`t

tell me how to vote, so good luck with that one.  I`m not sure that`s going

to work.


Let me go to Peter.


Look, I disagree with the professor.  I think it is front page news.  I

think every newspaper in the country is going to put it the top of the fold

tomorrow, these four impressive women who were attacked by the President. 

I think it is history-making, the language he used.


As she said, Christina, I think the language was direct and racist, unlike

the dog whistles we`ve been getting from previous presidents.  Your

thoughts about the news worthy nature of what he said today and over the



GREER:  Oh, definitely.  I mean, the fact that he is singling out four

women of color specifically, explicitly and consistently lets us know that

we know that he has a gender problem, we know that he has a race problem

and he cannot ever stand to see that these women are equal in representing

the United States of America as citizens.  I mean, he just cannot wrap his

mind around it.  And the particular ire he has toward these four public

servants, mind you, is really disgusting.


But the problem is, it`s not just the President, it`s the silence of the

Republican Party.


MATTHEWS:  I agree.


GREER:  You know, every single republican should be having the same press

conference saying this is absolutely unacceptable.  But yet and still we

are greeted by his racist and xenophobic and white supremacist language

with absolute silence from people who know better and should be doing

better because there are many republicans that have been public servants

for many decades and we are not seeing or hearing from them in a way that

we should.


MATTHEWS:  All right.  Peter – well said.  Let me go to Peter on this,

because, Peter, you write the big front page analysis piece about this. 

What is the political power of what the President has been saying?  While

just today out there in the Rose Garden – well, by the way, I felt sorry

for the U.S. Marine there in uniform that had to stand there and do his job

while this crapola was coming out of the President`s mouth.  And he had to

stand there like a real patriot and just take it.  Your thoughts?



You know, he`s drawing a line for 2020 in effect.  He`s drawing a line

between people who share his memory of a largely white, native-born America

that hasn`t really been the case here for quite awhile, and the more

diverse, more foreign-born, more, you know, eclectic America that we see

today.  It`s right at the heart of the multicultural, you know, divide that

we have seen as the demographics change, as the culture changes, as the

country evolves over these years.  And he goes straight for the wedge,



As you say, other presidents, you know, danced around to it, played to it

in in a kind of subtle, maybe less subtle way.  He goes straight for it. 

He doesn`t shy away from it.  He doesn`t even bother to really make much of

a pretense.  He goes straight for it in a way that no other politician in

the modern times would feel comfortable doing, certainly any who would rise

to the Presidency.


What`s remarkable – one of the things that is remarkable to hear him say

is if you`re unhappy with America, you should leave it.  The premise of his

2016 campaign was that America was terrible, American carnage, remember. 

When we say make America great again, it`s because we don`t think America

is great, and yet he has now turned that around now that he`s in office and

saying anybody who doesn`t share his view that he has made it great should

think about leaving the country.


MATTHEWS:  You know, Jamal, that language almost right out of West Side

Story.  I know a boat you can get on, you know.  But that`s Puerto Rico. 

And here`s a woman from Puerto Rico, AOC, that is America and everybody

knows it.  The African-Americans came to this country, as you know, in the

1620s.  I mean, what is he talking about black come from?


JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  That`s right.  When we look about –

when you think about where African-Americans are in this country, you just

– the thing that I recoil at every time is African-Americans love this

country as much, if not, more than anybody else.  You know why?  Because we

built it and we fought for it in wars.  And then we defended it, other

places.  Nobody – and we`ve loved America when America didn`t love us

back.  And that`s a real – that`s a real passion.


So I think when he comes after somebody like Ayanna Pressley, who is from -



MATTHEWS:  I love what she said today about the people who greeted her at

the airport today and said, I may have voted for Trump, but I`m not that

guy and they were embarrassed by it.


SIMMONS:  That`s right.  And, listen, he`s not just doing this for kicks. 

Donald Trump thinks there is something in this sauce for him, right?  So

he`s looking at this and he`s saying, there are some voters out there who

maybe they`re not turning up and I need to go find a way to go get those

voters.  And one thing that animates them is this anxiety about America`s

demographic change and I am going to do everything I can to find those –

mostly guys, and go find them and bring them out –


MATTHEWS:  I did the math today, everybody, and I want to go to Jon Meacham

on this.


There are 47 million people here who are African-American, whose roots go

back before most European-Americans ever got here.  And you got 56 million

Hispanic people, many of them are color, almost 100 million people.  This

isn`t a marginalized little group of people in New York City, this is a big

chunk of this country he`s talking about today when he makes fun of people

and says they should go home.


JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  And even the premise of the question,

which is entirely fair, is giving him too much of a victory, giving the

President too much of a victory.  It`s long been said – President Reagan

said it quite well, that America is the one place on earth that is not

about a birthright, it`s about the ascent to an idea, an idea that was

written in one of the most important sentences ever written in the English

language that all men were created equal and were endowed by their creator

with certain inalienable rights.  We didn`t apply that fully then.  We

haven`t applied it fully now.  But that journey towards of a more perfect

union is the story of the country.


And what the President has done here is yet again, because I think he did

it after Charlottesville and I think he did it, frankly, when he was

pushing the birther lie about President Obama, is he has joined Andrew

Johnson  as the most racist president in American history.


Johnson, in a state message, said that African-Americans were incapable of

self-government and relapsed into barbarism if they weren`t closely

supervised.  Eric Foner, the great historian of Reconstruction, says that

was the single most racist statement by a president in a public paper.


MATTHEWS:  Well, what about the more recent one, Jon.  What about

presidents who have used the wedge, George Bush Sr. who talked about Willie

Horton at that portrait of him, the horrific picture of him they put all

over the place, Reagan talking about young bucks, talking about welfare

queens, Bill Clinton with sister soldier and these nuance things like

people who work hard and play by the rules?  These are – it seems that

wedge is very useful politically to get white voters to say, yes, I`m with

them, I`m not with the others?


MEACHAM:  Well, without getting into all those specifics, as you know very,

very well, American politics has been defined since the brown decision and

even before, really, but particularly since May 1954, by an attempt by

politicians to put poor African-Americans and brown Americans and poor

white Americans pointing at each other instead of pointing up.


MATTHEWS:  George Wallace.


MEACHAM:  Yes.  That`s the story of the racial politics of the country in

the modern era.


And by using culture instead of economics, the Republican Party in the

modern era has done very well.  There was a – it was, to be fair, because

I think this is a stupid argument about historical complicity from one

party to the other about now, but to be fair, white democrats did it

forever, republicans are doing it at the moment and it could switch again

in terms of the label.


The more important point is that what we have to do faced with this – and

I thought Peter`s lead this morning was fantastic about he just decided to

throw a match on the kindling.




MEACHAM:  And when people say – one last thing here.  When people say,

this isn`t who we are, that`s not true, it is who we are, it`s who we are

on our worst day.  And it`s pointless to try to give – expiate ourselves

from what Trump has been saying.  There is a complicity, there`s a national

complicity in this and the way America moves forward is 51 percent of the

time we`re with Lincoln instead of Andrew Johnson.


MATTHEWS:  Go ahead, Jamal.


SIMMONS:  I`ve seen this in my work doing politics in the south.  And, you

know, Donald Trump is placing a bet.  He`s placing a bet that the history

of the Republican Party was winking at racism and then people would go,

well, okay, we kind of understand you`re flirting with it.  Well, he`s

saying, no, no, no, no more flirtation.  I`m going all the way in.


And I`m just going to tell you, I have seen this again and again.  There

are a lot of people who don`t think of themselves necessarily as very

racially progressive.  They`re not hanging out with black people or brown

people in the weekends, but they also don`t think of themselves as racists. 

And when you play the race card so overtly, you have the possibility of

turning off people who should be his natural allies who just won`t buy it.


MATTHEWS:  Well, let me go to Christina now because I want to ask you a

direct – it`s like you`re in a traffic fight with somebody and somebody`s

cutting you off and it`s raw.  And that`s what Trump seems to be creating

here, like let`s get a real ethnic tribal war going on here.  Why is he

doing that?  Why is he creating like the environment of a 95-degree

temperature in a big city where people are fighting with each other in

traffic?  Why does he want to do that tribally or ethnically right now? 

What`s he up to?


GREER:  Well, that`s who he`s always been.  I mean, you know, he is a white

ethnic from Queens who has always trafficked in racial tropes, racial

stereotypes and racist ideology, thanks to his father.  So, I mean, this is

not new.


And for a country that`s predicated on anti-black racism, white supremacy,

capitalism and patriarchy, the President perfectly encapsulates all four of

those negative ideals when put together, and that`s the history of our

country.  That`s who we were.




GREER:  That`s – unfortunately, we still have too much of that.


And so when people come up to you in the airport and say –


SIMMONS:  Wait, wait, wait, you`re putting capitalism on the same plain

with patriarchy and white supremacy?


GREER:  I`m saying – may I finish?  I`m saying that the country is built

on four legs and the table rests on capitalism, patriarchy, anti-black

racism and white supremacy.


So when people come up to whomever and say, I voted for him, except for,

you know, I don`t really believe in that.  It`s like, you know what, you do

believe in it now, because if you are standing by this president and this

administration whilst all of these things happen on his watch, ICE raids,

cages, Puerto Rico, Flint, urban centers, you name it, it`s like, you have

to be honest with yourself.


And the onus of racial progress has always been put on the people of color

and it has to be transferred just as equally to white Americans who are

active participants in all of the racialized ideologies, ills, whatever it

may be that are happening in this nation right now.


And I think, unfortunately –


MATTHEWS:  Jamal, your last thought?  I`m sorry, Professor.  Respond for a



SIMMONS:  My last thought on this is just this.  I come from Michigan.  I

know a lot of people.  My family moved up from the south to go to Detroit

in order to work in big auto companies.  They wanted to make money.  They

wanted to believe in capitalism.  They wanted to – I have a lot of friends

who did the same thing.  I would not put capitalism on the same leg.  I

think the ideas of white supremacy and other questions are very real in bad

parts of America.


The question is though how is it that we –


GREER:  Well, considering U.S. chattel slavery is capitalism so –


SIMMONS:  How is it that we include more people in the American dream, not

how do we exclude people from the American dream.


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I think that`s an old argument.  I don`t agree with

Christina on that because I think – well, anyway, we know the ideological

battles and they`re going to go on here every night, so let`s keep it up.


Thank you, Christina Greer, Jamal Simmons.


GREER:  Thanks.  Oh, and, Chris, I do have a book called Black Ethnics:

Race, Immigration and Pursuit of the American Dream, so we can discuss that

hopefully next.


MATTHEWS:  It`s available in the commercial system known as capitalism. 

Thank you so much.  You buy – pay for it.  And you can get a profit on it,

finally, $4.50, probably.


Jamal, thank you.  I`m a sarcastic guy.  Thank you, Professor.  I love



GREER:  Appreciate it.


MATTHEWS:  Jon Meacham, one of the great historians of our time.  Peter

Baker, I can`t wait to  read The Times tomorrow morning.  Top of the fold,

I say women are top of the fold in every major newspaper, including The

Wall Street Journal.


Here is – by the way, how has Trump`s attack on minority lawmakers going

to play to non-white Americans?  Is he saying that you`re a foreigner even

if you were born here?


And what about naturalized citizens?  Does Trump think you`re not fully

American?  Well, this answers are rhetoric.  I`m going to talk to an

immigrant who is now a member of the United States Congress.


And after a day of almost complete silence, as Christina talked about, some

republicans are coming forward to condemn the President`s divisive words,

some.  At least two GOP congressmen called it racist.  Why is it so hard

for republicans to call this man out when he says such terrible things?


Much more coming up.  Stick with us.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 


Unbowed by criticism, President Donald Trump proudly defended his racist

tweets, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color that they can leave

the country. 





then you can leave.  That`s what I say all the time.  If you`re not happy

in the U.S., if you`re complaining all the time, very simply, you can



You`re not happy, you can leave. 


They`re very unhappy.  I`m watching them.  All they do is complain.  So all

I`m saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave.  This isn`t what our

country is about.  Nevertheless, they`re free to leave if they want. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, his comments were greeted with cheers from supporters who

were gathered at the White House for a manufacturing event. 


Trump offered no knowledge, by the way, of where those women should go to. 


And later this afternoon, U.S. Congresswoman Omar responded to those



Let`s listen to her. 




REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN):  You might have noticed how, when he said, go back

to where you came from, there was an uproar through the – through all of

our communities, because every single person who is brown and black at some

point in their life in this country heard that. 




MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi,

Democrat from Illinois. 


How did you hear the president?  What did you make of it emotionally when

you heard about the president talking about people like yourself, go home

where you came from? 


REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  You know, that used to be kind of a taunt

in a schoolyard or maybe in a bit of – in a fit of road rage in traffic. 


To now see it elevated to the president`s Twitter feed is shocking. 




KRISHNAMOORTHI:  But, that being said, it is completely antithetical to

what the vast majority of Americans believe in. 


You know, President Ronald Reagan said it best.  You know, you can go to

live in France.  You can`t be a Frenchman.  You can go to Germany and live

there.  You can`t be a German.  But you can come from any corner of the

world to America, and you can be an American. 


MATTHEWS:  Well said. 


KRISHNAMOORTHI:  And that is who we are as a country. 


MATTHEWS:  And that`s what Barack Obama said.  You just said that very

well.  That`s what Barack Obama said in that wonderful 2004 speech… 




MATTHEWS:  … in Boston. 




MATTHEWS:  … where he said only in this country is my story possible. 


People should be thrilled by that… 




MATTHEWS:  … and not resist it, the fact that this is a country of ideas

and values, not of ethnicity. 




MATTHEWS:  What do you think he is going to achieve by this? 


I think it may – I hate to say this, but I really – I don`t hate to say

it.  I`m skeptical of my own thinking here.  I think he really stepped in

it, because I thought he would run on citizenship, against illegal



But, here, he`s running on pure ethnicity, not even citizenship, which

would be a politically tactical smart thing to do, run on citizenship.  But

here he`s making fun of four citizens. 


KRISHNAMOORTHI:  That`s right. 


There are so many people in this country who are just one generation away

from having immigrated.  Thirty percent of my district was born in another

country.  And they came here from places like Poland and Ireland and

Germany, as well as Mexico and India and other places in the world. 


And I can tell you, almost with 100 percent certainty, that, when they saw

those remarks, they would have been shocked and would have condemned them. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, just a few days ago, hardly hours ago, this president

looked like he had a great opportunity to help drive a wedge in the

Democratic Caucus in the House, because Ayanna Pressley had made those

tough remarks about race and identity.


And, of course, there was a big fight going on in “The New York Times”

between Nancy Pelosi and the Squad, those four young women.  And now your

whole caucus is united against Trump and what he`s been saying. 




We recognize the common opposition here.  We are completely united against

bigotry and prejudice and intolerance and hatred and racism in all its

forms.  And his tweets embodied all of those things, Chris.  It reminded us

of why we came here and what the stakes are in 2020. 


MATTHEWS:  Is he un-American? 


KRISHNAMOORTHI:  I think his tweets were un-American. 


I think they were racist and race-baiting.  And I think that – I think

most people see them for what they are. 


One thing I just want to say, this is part and parcel of his trying to

create a culture of fear and cruelty towards immigrants and foreigners. 




KRISHNAMOORTHI:  This weekend, on Sunday, I marched through the Little

Village neighborhood of Chicago, which is the epicenter of the Mexican

American area of Chicago, to distribute flyers, know-your-rights flyers,

because of the threatened immigration raids. 




KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Unfortunately, there was no one to hand these flyers out

to, Chris. 


Most people were shuttered inside, fearing that, if they were to go out,

they would – they would basically be caught up in an ICE trap. 


And so now, with these tweets, with the threatened immigration raids, with

what we see on the border, I think this is completely a pattern of un-

American activity at the highest levels of government. 


MATTHEWS:  And here you are, an American, speaking out in the U.S. Capitol. 

I`m so proud. 


Thank you, U.S. Congressman Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. 


KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Thank you.  Thank you, Chris. 


MATTHEWS:  Up next:  Can you speak up? 


Only a handful of rebukes coming from Republicans, only a few.  Lawmakers

are figuring out that it`s either – well, they`re going to speak against

Trump or keep their jobs.  They`re so scared. 


Well, you can`t be both courageous and safe with this guy. 


You`re watching HARDBALL. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 


Republicans were largely silent this weekend, as I said, after Trump`s

tweet telling four Democratic congresswomen to go back where they came

from.  And though a very few came out strongly today to condemn the

president`s language, some directly calling his tweets racist, others

provided tepid criticism, while simultaneously attacking the Democratic

women he went after.


Let`s watch.




SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT):  A number of these new members of Congress have

views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with

building a strong America. 


The president failed badly this weekend and continues to do so today. 


QUESTION:  Do you think that his tweets were racist towards those



ROMNEY:  What was tweeted was destructive, was demeaning, was disunifying. 

And, frankly, it was very wrong. 


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  We all know that AOC and this crowd are a

bunch of communists.  They hate Israel.  They hate our own country. 


They`re anti-Semitic.  They`re anti-America.  Don`t get down.  Aim higher. 

We don`t need to know anything about them personally.  Talk about their





MATTHEWS:  Well, others defended the president`s own comments. 




QUESTION:  Do you find the president`s tweets racist, and what do you make

of white nationalists praising those tweets? 


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY:  I don`t find them racist. 


REP. ANDY HARRIS (R-MD):  And, clearly, it`s not a racist comment.  He

could have meant go back to the district they came from. 



believes that, the more he can get the country to look at the so-called

Squad, the more he can get them to realize how radical they are and how

fundamentally anti-American their views are, in the long run, the better

off he is. 




MATTHEWS:  I don`t think – I don`t think the former speaker believes what

he just said there.  I don`t think he – he`s a lot smarter than that. 


I`m joined now by former Florida congressman, Republican congressman – no

longer a Republican – formerly known as a Republican – David Jolly, and

Susan Page, “USA Today” Washington bureau chief. 


What do you make of your party and why – the ex-party you were in – why

are they such toadies?  I do not understand Lindsey Graham.  Is he that

worried about his primary that he has to do this stuff?


DAVID JOLLY, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  Yes, he`s getting worse.  And he`s

in cycle. 


But, you know, Chris, I find myself – and I think a lot of Americans do –

24 hours into this, you`re kind of moving from outrage to heartbreak. 

You`re really wrestling with the fact that the president of the United

States engaged in this racist narrative, this racist dialogue, and then

doubled down today. 


I think, for Republicans, we know they`re acting through enlightened self-

interest, right, their own reelection, Lindsey Graham`s being a perfect



I think the only way to get to them is for them to understand that, through

their own enlightened self-interest, their legacy is on the line.




JOLLY:  In their silence, they normalize Donald Trump. 


And we haven`t talked about that.  We have talked about the fact that

Donald Trump gives permission to these racist elements that were already

out there, right? 




JOLLY:  Republican elected officials on Capitol Hill, in their silence, are

giving Donald Trump permission. 


This is their legacy.  And they need to understand, in their own self-

interests, this is what they will be remembered for.  They will be

remembered for normalizing racism in the national political dialogue in

2019.  This is on them, just as much as it`s on Donald Trump. 


This is on the likes of Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell. 

Everybody single Republican up there, Kevin McCarthy, who refuses to

condemn racism for racism, this is their legacy, more than it is Donald



MATTHEWS:  It was pretty much what Dave said.  That` pretty much what they

did during the birther period.  They didn`t stand up against him. 



the Charlottesville comments, which were almost exactly two years ago. 

That got a bigger outcry…


MATTHEWS:  Somebody got killed there. 


PAGE:  … than these – than these.


Somebody got killed there.  But, also, I think it was before it was so

clear that Trump had taken over the Republican Party… 




PAGE:  … and it was very dangerous for Republicans to defy him. 


You did have a couple, though.  Joni Ernst said the comments were racist. 

Pat Toomey came up with a pretty strong statement saying that they – the

four congresswomen were as American as he was.  But they were the



MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s good for him. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, Pennsylvania is an interesting state to watch, because

it`s not going to buy into that racism. 


But what do you think – you know how the Hill works.  You know how the

Hill works.  You have got a bunch of staff people around you, usually a

smart chief of staff, a smart press person, or they wouldn`t be there. 


And you sit around, and you sort of decide these things over an hour or so. 

And they decided deliberately not to challenge Trump.  It wasn`t like an

impulsive thing.  How do you explain that, calculation, the calculation of

a congress – political animal is, back the president on his worst?


JOLLY:  In the end, there is only one person in each congressional office

who holds the public trust.  It`s the elected official whose name is on the





JOLLY:  Their is their leadership moment and their failure in making a

decision to step out. 


They see the politics.  Look, the Republican Party is a party of populism

right now.  And the reality is, populism is largely the politics of white

middle-class grievance.  This plays to that very well. 


The president`s pivot today – he pivoted from yesterday saying Americans

of color need to go back home to today saying, love it or leave it. 


Chris, that`s a very powerful message that will work for the president and

for a lot of the Republican constituencies.


MATTHEWS:  In the burbs?  In the burbs? 


JOLLY:  Yes, love it or leave it?  Sure. 


MATTHEWS:  Really?


JOLLY:  It absolutely will.  And I think Republicans…


PAGE:  I`m actually not sure I agree with you. 


When you look at the core supporters for President Trump, I think they are

not deterred by comments like that.  But when you look at the voters who

abandoned Republicans in 2018…


JOLLY:  Sure. 


PAGE:  … they were college-educated suburbanites, who I think might well

be distressed by him…




MATTHEWS:  Nobody says leave it or love it – love it or leave it to some

ticked-off white guy.  Nobody ever says that. 


JOLLY:  No.  You go through the…


MATTHEWS:  I never heard that used.  Some guy from West Virginia or

somebody from Western Pennsylvania who is angry about the liberal nature of

the big cities and everything, you don`t say, oh, get out of here. 




You know the constituency that is going to respond to this?  And, frankly,

it is populists throughout the Electoral College key swing states.  It`s

the same constituency that responded to Toby Keith after 9/11 when he wrote

that song, “We will put a boot in your ass.”


It is the – it speaks to the spirit of nativism, that we are strong.  And

if you disagree with it, then get out. 


MATTHEWS:  Do you believe the guy or woman on the commuter train in

Connecticut or Philadelphia coming home from work in the afternoon is

willing to engage in this kind of racist talk?  Do you?


PAGE:  And economic grievance is one thing.


MATTHEWS:  On the train with other people around?


PAGE:  And, certainly, we have economic grievance in this – in this



But this is really racial grievance.  This is really directed at America`s



JOLLY:  Oh, it is, yes.


PAGE:  And I think that is – that is different and more – and more

dangerous, more dangerous for Trump, more dangerous for the Republicans.


MATTHEWS:  There`s 96 – I just counted today.  I went through the census,

the one we have – 40 some million African-Americans, 50-some – 56-some

Hispanic Americans from different backgrounds.  That`s almost 100 million

people in this country.


It`s not some marginalist little group living in Detroit somewhere.  It`s a

big part of the country.  And they all heard that today. 


PAGE:  And it`s not as though the racial diversity of America is going to

be reversed. 


It`s going to be – we`re going to become more diverse than we are before. 


MATTHEWS:  Of course.


PAGE:  So this is – a this is a very short-term strategy.




JOLLY:  But they`re not turning out for Donald Trump. 


MATTHEWS:  I don`t think – I don`t think he got above 40 today with the

case for his stuff today. 


Anyway, the “FOX & Friends” hosts reacted to the president`s tweet on

Sunday morning by laughing and saying he made an important point.  Talking

about toady-ism.  Let`s watch. 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This tweet that you`re just seeing now is clearly going

to get, I think, a lot of discussion. 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Someone is feeling very comedic today. 




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think President Trump is making an important point. 


He is drawing attention to that and saying, if you don`t like what this

country stands for, you`re not going to change it and take away all these

things that Americans value so much. 


Like, if you don`t like it, leave and go set up camp somewhere else, but

you`re not going to destroy what we have fought so hard and so long to





MATTHEWS:  It doesn`t ring true to me. 


You think it does for those people watching FOX? 


JOLLY:  Understand, I think, politically, it will work with the only

constituency Donald Trump has left. 


But what I see right there is voices of leadership giving permission to

racism in the United States. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, former U.S. Congressman, formerly known as – well,

he`s always going to be a congressman, that`s a good title, but not always

a Republican – David Jolly.  Thank you, sir. 


And thank you, one of the greats, Susan Page.  Thank you.


Up next:  Trump trades in his racial dog whistle for a bullhorn.  Mapping

out Trump`s long, ugly history of using divisive language and being

rewarded for it politically.  That`s what we`re going to go through, his

rap sheet.


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


The president`s attack on four Democrats of color have elicited numerous

charges of racism, and while other politicians have used racist dog

whistles in recent American history, Trump`s behavior is often out in the

open.  Let`s take a look. 





birth certificate.  He gave a birth certificate.  Whether or not that was a

really certificate, because a lot of people question it, I certainly

question it. 


They`re bringing drugs.  They`re bringing crime.  They`re rapists. 


He`s a Mexican.  We`re building a wall between here and Mexico. 


Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims

entering the United States. 


Look at my African-American over here.  Look at him.  Are you the greatest? 


I don`t know anything about David Duke, OK?  I don`t know anything about

what you`re even talking about with white supremacy or what supremacists. 

You wouldn`t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. 


But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, the president`s latest remarks have drawn new scrutiny to

his record on race, a record that predates his political career by over 40

years.  In fact, the very first time Trump`s name ever appeared in “The New

York Times,” it was all about race, and that`s coming up next. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


President Trump has repeatedly denied charges of racism throughout his

entire public career, yet the record shows that time and time again he,

Donald Trump, has taken actions that suggest otherwise.  In fact, the first

time Trump`s name ever appeared, as I said, in “The New York Times” was

when the Justice Department accused his company of discriminating against

African-Americans in 1973. 


Well, years later he placed a full-page advertisement in that same “New

York Times” calling for five black teenagers to be put to death for a crime

that DNA evidence later showed they did not commit. 


And as President Trump has made an ugly reference to describe African

countries among others, you know what that word is. 


I`m joined right now by Anita Kumar, White House correspondent for

“Politico”, and David Cay Johnston, columnist and author of “The Making of

Donald Trump.”


David, tell us about Trump and his – what do you think, is he the kind of

guy in a back room with other right-wing business guys who would make slurs

about people of color?  Is he that kind of guy? 



Donald`s style.  Donald`s actions are what matter here.  He once removed a

black blackjack dealer because he thought it would curry favor with his

biggest gambler, Bob LiButti. 


He`s been found in proceedings to have discriminated in his casino business

against blacks, Asians, women, Puerto Ricans.  He has a long history of

actions.  And I think we should be paying attention to his actions and

they`re flat-out racist. 


MATTHEWS:  I heard about his accountant one time.  He didn`t want an

African-American accountant. 


JOHNSTON:  Right.  He said I only want short guys wearing yarmulkes

handling my money, not black guys.  And this is Donald`s actions and that`s

what should matter to us and his tweets are doing nothing but dividing this

country.  They`re also distracting us from other issues, which, of course,

is one of Donald`s great skills, distracting us. 


MATTHEWS:  What do you think, Anita?  I mean, look at, you know, people of

color told me a racist is someone who speaks racially, someone who uses it

negatively against them to hold them back.  It doesn`t matter what`s in

their heart or even if – because they`re doing it. 



part of what he`s doing is this us against them.  That`s his whole –


MATTHEWS:  How much us are there? 


KUMAR:  Well, he`s been doing this for two and a half years. 


MATTHEWS:  Is there enough us for 50 percent next year? 


KUMAR:  Well, there`s enough us that he got elected. 


I mean, he, as we know politically, he hasn`t expanded his base and that`s

what he`s looking at right now.  What he`s focused on can he just get those

people to turn out.  That base.  He`s not looking to expand it.  So that is

the “us” he`s talking about. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, here is my question.  I`m a political guy, not an

anthropologist necessarily.  It seems to me the one thing that fell off in

`16 was the African-American vote in big cities like Philly.  They didn`t

come out as much as they did for the first African-American president,

Barack Obama.  That makes sense. 


But you got a guy looking like a racist, I wonder if that would get the

vote out and he could lose. 


KUMAR:  Right.  I agree.  And also, look what happened in 2018.  He already

lost some people.  So, could he lose some more? 


And he is clearly banking on that this is going to work for him, not work

against him. 


MATTHEWS:  OK.  David, how much of this is in his gut and not in his head? 

How much of this is just his gut drive that`s tribal? 


JOHNSTON:  Well, it`s important to understand something that`s very

difficult for many people to accept.  We have a mentally ill person in the

White House, someone who is deranged, and it`s awful to contemplate that. 


I was talking to someone in France the other day who said the reasons

Europeans don`t like Trump but they don`t have a sense of outrage about him

is they`ve had centuries of mad kings and crazy warlords and other rulers

who were nuts, and that this is a new experience for America.  And we need

to recognize this, that we have somebody who is incompetent –


MATTHEWS:  You believe he`s a nut, right?  David, you think he`s nutty. 


JOHNSTON:  Oh, yes.  He is at times delusional and there are videos where

you can see he`s delusional.  Donald has said the best advisers reside in

his head.  He`s said he talks to people that don`t exist and he does it all

the time.  He is deeply mentally ill.  


MATTHEWS:  Well, former Vice President Joe Biden reacted to the president`s

tweets today about the four congresswomen in an exclusive interview that

will air tomorrow on “MORNING JOE.”  Here it goes.  Here`s part of it. 




MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST:  His tweets, for example, and these comments

about these four congresswomen, it`s racist, it`s awful, it`s outrageous. 

What`s the impact on our standing? 


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It`s not only shameful, it`s

incredibly damaging. 




BIDEN:  Look, we`ve led the world by the power of our example.  What

presidents say, they`re the face of America, like it or not.  They`re the

face of America.  And the idea that Donald Trump says and does the things

he does is just absolutely despicable. 




MATTHEWS:  Anita? 


KUMAR:  I do agree with what the former vice president just said about

presidents in this country and in other countries have this huge, enormous

influence.  So, it`s just that the politics, and I know we`re talking about

that.  But what they say carries weight in society, in America, in cities

and towns. 




KUMAR:  So there is a greater weight. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, I`m going to bring this up at the end, David, but they

once said of the great Franklin Roosevelt, his idea of being president was

being Roosevelt.  And that was good in that case.


I`m afraid Donald Trump`s thought is being Trump.  Was it outrageous?  He

hasn`t changed – he hasn`t elevated his game at all as president.


JOHNSTON:  Yes, Chris, that is an absolutely great insight.  That`s exactly

what it is.  And let`s keep in mind here, the four women that Donald

attacked, three of whom are American born citizens, how is Donald different

from them? 


Let`s see, he`s a first generation American on his mother`s side.  Two of

his three wives are immigrants. 




JOHNSTON:  And what`s the difference here?  He`s white, they`re not. 

That`s the only difference here. 


MATTHEWS:  And he thinks like that? 


JOHNSTON:  Oh, yes. 


MATTHEWS:  This is impulsive? 


JOHNSTON:  Donald thinks in racial terms, absolutely.  He assumes things

about you based on the color of your skin which is a, you know, long

historic practice, but it is absolute nonsense.  The color of your skin has

nothing to do with your character. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, he is actually the king of identity politics if you

get into it.  He`s white so he talks white.  I mean, that`s really the

identity politics definition. 


KUMAR:  Well, I mean, I totally agree with this idea that we`ve lost track

of – people aren`t talking about his own background and his wife`s

background.  Remember back, there was – his in-laws got to be citizens

because of his wife, things that he opposes, but no one sort of talks about

that or calls him out on that. 


MATTHEWS:  We all know this.  Everybody watching knows what we`re talking

about.  And everybody knows that 10 million Heidi Klums were coming into

the country nobody would be complaining because it is race.  It just is

race.  And we know it and it stinks. 


Trump has brought it out in the open.  Maybe that`s healthy.  We hear what

it sounds like, as ugly as it is. 


Thank you, Anita Kumar.  Always great to come on. 


David Cay Johnston, you know too much, sir, about this guy.  He`s nutty. 

That`s what you say.


Anyway, up next, Omar – Obama, rather, I want to talk about a real

president, and a tale of two presidencies.  And we had a very good one

right before, in fact, a very good one, on this kind of issue, ethnicity

and race. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  An American president is a head of state.  He or some day she is

more than a chief executive or head of government or even less, a leader of

a political party.  A head of state represents this country, its values,

its history, its national purpose. 


Here is a president, a very recent one, who knew and embraced this duty

well before he was given it.  Here is Barack Obama introducing himself to

the country four years before his election. 





speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us.  The spin masters,

the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. 


Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a

conservative America, there is the United States of America.  There is not

a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America,

there is the United States of America. 




MATTHEWS:  And here he is, that same man in his moment of taking the oath

as head of state. 




OBAMA:  The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our

better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed

on from generation to generation, the God-given promise that all are equal,

all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of





MATTHEWS:  It`s been said that his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt`s idea

of being president was simply being Franklin Roosevelt.  Unfortunately for

us and our country`s history, Donald Trump`s idea of being president is

being Donald Trump. 


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


“ALL IN” right now with Joy Reid sitting in for Chris Hayes. 







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