Trump holds campaign rally in NC. TRANSCRIPT: 7/17/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The race race. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. President Trump is
hitting the campaign trail tonight with his attacks on four democratic
congresswomen. At any moment, he`ll speak at a re-election rally, there we
are, in North Carolina, this just a day after he was condemned by the U.S.
House of Representatives for his racist Tweets about – which were aimed at
those very four women.
Well, leaving the White House a short time ago, he said he plans to keep
the fight hot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I do think I`m winning the political fight.
I think I`m winning it by a lot.
TRUMP: I think that they are not espousing the views of our country, the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, The New York Times reports that Trump`s relentless assault
on those four congresswomen who style themselves the squad is part of a
calculated strategy. Quote, President Trump and the republicans have sent
the clearest signal yet that their approach to 2020 will be a racially
divisive reprise of the strategy that helped Mr. Trump narrowly captured
the White House in late 2016.
Well, late last night, he Tweeted, so great to see how unified the
Republican Party was on today`s vote concerning statements I made about
four democrat, that`s the way republicans say it, congresswomen. He added,
they are now the top most visible members of the House Democrats who are
now wedded to this bitterness and hate.
Well, earlier today, Trump Tweeted, thank you to the vicious young
socialist congresswomen, America will never buy your act.
In an interview this afternoon with The Daily Mail, Trump said he was not
unhappy with the uproar over his racist attacks. And later today, he was
asked if he is relishing the fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m not relishing the fight. I`m enjoying it because I have to get
the word out to the American people. It`s not a question of relishing.
They`re wrong. They`re absolutely wrong. That`s not where our country
wants to be. We`re not going to go and we`re not going to be a socialist
country. It`s not going happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Donna Edwards, former Maryland
Democratic Congresswoman and Washington Post Contributing Columnist,
Michael Steele, former RNC Chairman, Jeremy Peters, Politics Editor for The
New York Times, and Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser for
President Obama. Thank you, all. It`s a great quartet to try to figure
this thing out.
Michael, is this strategy to say he is going to go to North Carolina and
repeat all these attacks on these four women congresswomen, or did he just
make a stupid mistake and he is trying to find some advantage in it?
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: No, it`s not stupid. It may be
stupid but it`s not a stupid mistake in that sense that was like, oops, I
didn`t mean to say that, but know this (ph), it`s so much a strategy that
what Trump does in moments like this is it gives him an outlet to vent
exactly what he feels and what he thinks about these women when he sees
them. They cause in him something that`s visceral, and he responds to
And he is using 1950s language, you know, communism and social – no one is
talking about this. They all failed. Communism doesn`t exist.
MATTHEWS: Is this about ideology or ethnicity?
STEELE: Oh, this is both. That`s the beauty of it. He intertwines them
both. It is about ideology because, to his base, it plays on an old
narrative of how they look at people and how they think about
philosophically and politically individuals who disagree with them or they
But it`s also about race, because, now, he`s got these faces, these black
faces that he can talk about in terms that he knows is going to spark a
reaction. He knows it. This is a man of a certain age from a certain
time. He`s 70 plus years old from the 1950s. So when he says, go back
where you came from, he knows exactly what that triggers, he knows exactly
what it means when he says it, and he knows how people are going to react
MATTHEWS: Ben, when you`re sitting around the White House wherever they
meet to talk about this thing, do they think they see goldenness or just
they`ve got to do some damage control? What`s going on here with the
BEN RHODES, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, you know, it looks
like when you watch Trump, he does something. He lashes out. And then
they tell everybody it was a strategy. That`s generally been the pattern
throughout, that essentially he pops off on Twitter, he makes racist
comments like this, he picks fight, and then they all explain to us why
it`s such a smart strategy and why he is playing three-dimensional chess.
And, look, that is what he has done throughout.
But the fact of the matter is I was sitting in the White House back in 2011
when he launched the birther movement. And when people failed to
adequately call this out and people gave this a platform and people said it
was racially tinged or it was divisive or it was a conspiracy theory
without calling what it was, and he got away with it. And he`s gotten away
with it throughout. And I do think people need to take a principled stand
whatever the political prognosticators might say.
MATTHEWS: You know, Donna, I`m older than you, and I`m older than
everybody. And I`ve got to tell you this. I`ve been watching the
Republican Party since the `40s. It was Vito Marcantonio, the socialist up
in the Bronx. It was Bella Abzug, the woman with a hat in the west side of
New York. It was Tip O`Neill. It was Teddy Kennedy. There is always
somebody vaguely ethnic from one of the coasts that they make into the
worst – Adam Clayton Powell, right? They always find somebody to turn and
say that`s the Democratic Party, and they seem to know how they do this.
It doesn`t work all the time, obviously.
FMR. REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D-MD): And I would argue that I think that it`s
the only thing that Trump knows that can help him win. It`s his playbook
from 2016 that he is using in 2020. I mean, this wasn`t new. He knows
that for those suburban – not even suburban but white world voters that
are his base that this is how they respond to that. It`s what was
described I think in a Washington Post piece yesterday as white identity
EDWARDS: And he doubles down on that.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re right. I think that`s what it is, by the way.
EDWARDS: I do. And I think that he thinks that that works for him. And,
frankly, if he doesn`t have that, he ain`t got nothing when it comes to the
MATTHEWS: I want to suggest something to Trump. Not only is he wrong
ethnic, I think he has bad instincts on ethnicity. I think he does. And
sometimes big city tribal neighborhood versus neighborhood, but some, it`s
just as nasty.
But he had an opportunity he blew last week. Ayanna Pressley had come out
and say black members of Congress should vote black, basically speak black,
they couldn`t have an independent view of anything. That was a perfect
example to jump on it and say, identity politics, this is what`s wrong.
Instead he jumped on it and gave her a pass. She was one of the victims
then. That`s a stupid mistake.
JEREMY PETERS, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, that shows you there is
no strategy here. This is all impulse.
MATTHEWS: But you guys said it was strategy.
PETERS: No, no, we didn`t say it was a strategy. We said, his aides
conceded that this was something that caught them off guard, and then they
kind of, I guess, you know, retroactively explain why –
MATTHEWS: So you fall into the mud and you roll around it say this feels
good? I mean, what kind of a stupid – it`s a mistake and you`re calling
it a victory.
PETERS: What they`ve done is they`ve said, okay, now, we can kind of see a
way this is good for him. But republicans are also telling us this is a
bad thing for him because what it`s done is unite a fractured Democratic
Party that a week ago it was squabbling, where you had the squad versus
Nancy Pelosi. And now, you have them all united around the squad.
But also, I think you can`t overlook the fact that this is Trump picking
his enemies. So regardless of whether or not he intended to do this, what
he has done is he is picking his opponents before the democrats can do that
MATTHEWS: Three you have been in politics. I want to ask you this. Back
in 2016, a million years ago, I think, – I was thinking – I knew – we
all messed up (ph) about the white anger, the white – what it`s called –
white grievance, we know all the words now, white identity, as you
mentioned, it`s a more frequent word, a current one.
And we all kept saying, you know, but there is not enough of them because
there are a lot of minorities and a lot of sophisticated suburbanites that
just are going to trounce these people. Well, they didn`t trounce them,
and the numbers were off. So my question is, is Trump now off of the
numbers? Because it comes down to short numbers, 50,000 votes here, 20,000
votes here. There are enough – are there`re many angry people now as it
were four years ago? Are there enough white people to cover the bases for
STEELE: I`m telling you, Chris, I still don`t trust the narrative out
there that suddenly the system, the voting system is going to be
overwhelmed by all of these minority female votes that are going to swamp
what we saw in 2016. I don`t trust it because I have an instinct about
people, and people are not necessarily being truth and faithful to the
cause, if you will.
Trump has a bedrock of support, no doubt. But that support is there for
him. And so that white vote that Trump grabbed in 2016 was off the radar
for 30 years, all right. He tapped into that vote and pulled it out. Yes,
there were a lot of Dems who stayed home, and they could come back. But
don`t underestimate the possibility that more of that white vote is out
PETERS: Well, that`s exactly what they`re doing at their campaign.
PETERS: They are spending tens of millions of dollars trying to find new
voters because Trump has not shrunk added to his coalition to Trump (ph).
MATTHEWS: So he needs Mike Pence?
PETERS: He needs Mike Pence. But he also needs the white identity
politics and white resentment. So it`s both. He needs the evangelicals.
They need more evangelicals to come out. But they also need in rural areas
across Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, conservatives to come out who
would have voted for Trump last time but stayed home.
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s numbers, Donna. It`s all numbers.
EDWARDS: It is. But I would say, but 2018. Because what happened in
2018, and they were midterm elections, but you had a huge surge in voter
turnout, those white suburban college educated women turned – and non-
college women turned against Donald Trump. And I think democrats –
STEELE: They took 49 percent of the vote for republican-backed candidate
or Trump-backed candidate in 2018. The white educated female vote in `16
was 53 percent for Trump, 49 percent for Trump candidate in 2018.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to bed on this question. I wonder if Trump is afraid
that his candidate against him, the one that gets picked by the democrats
next spring, isn`t going to be easily categorized. First, it`s Elizabeth
Warren who is from Oklahoma. She doesn`t seem coastal, although she is
working at Harvard or has worked at Harvard. There is something about her
that is a little rural to me. She might be tough. Biden might be hard to
nail or peg as a leftist or whatever. Are they afraid of that or is he
just not sure who he`s going to face? He doesn`t know if he can knock
their block off. Ben?
RHODES: Yes. I mean, Chris, you know, part of what you have to remember
about 2016 is, yes, he ginned up a certain white identity vote that had
been somewhat dormant. But the fact there is a backlash to the Obama
presidency that was manifested in the Tea Party in 2010. And Obama still
won a resounding re-election in 2012 because he did two things. He
motivated those young voters, minority voters, those women voters to
turnout, and he ran a populist message against Mitt Romney.
And if you look at the democrats running, if you look at someone like
Elizabeth Warren, you have to do two things. You have to stand up to
Trump. You have to give that part of the democratic coalition a belief
that you`re fighting for them, that you`re principled, that you`re giving
them reason to turn out like they turned out in 2012 and 2018, and you have
to go right at Trump and say, this guy said he was going stand up for you
and only he did is stand up for his friends and a bunch of corporations.
The only thing he has to his name is $1 trillion tax bill that`s giveaway
that`s in your expense.
And I think the reason Trump is picking these fights, let`s be clear, he
has a Democratic House, he has no legislative agenda. He has nothing to
talk about when it comes to healthcare or the issues that Americans
actually care about, right? So the democrat has to do both. And Elizabeth
Warren has done a great job doing both.
MATTHEWS: Well, Mitt Romney gave you guys a break when he got caught by
that bartender saying 47 percent. That didn`t hurt either, because he
wanted to be identified as an elitist, he just did it.
Anyway, meanwhile, the House voted tonight to kill a resolution on
impeachment introduced by Democratic Congressman Al Green of Texas citing
the President`s racist comments about the four congresswomen, this very
topic. And this morning, Senator – actually, Speaker Pelosi waited on
that impending vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have six committees that are working on
following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice
and the rest that the President may have engaged in. That is the serious
path that we are on, not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we`ll deal with
that on the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the move to start impeachment proceedings was defeated by
a vote of 332 to 95 with 137 democrats joining republicans to block the
effort to consider articles of impeachment this week. Notably, the 95
democrats voting not to table the resolution is greater than the 86
democrats who publicly support impeachment. Judiciary Committee Chair
Jerry Nadler was among those voting against tabling the impeachment, which
his spokesman said was because Nadler believed the House should have first
sent it to his committee for consideration.
Well, President Trump reacting to the news after landing in North Carolina
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have just received an overwhelming vote against impeachment, and
that`s the end of it. Let the democrats now go back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m afraid Friday the 13th is coming back on this guy. Freddie
Krueger is not dead. I`m telling you, whatever you think of impeachment,
it`s not going away.
But 95, Jeremy, is the high watermark.
PETERS: Yes, it is.
MATTHEWS: Of those who want to impeach.
PETERS: I think the best description I`ve heard of this is that Nancy
Pelosi and the democratic leadership for the most part know that they want
a wounded Trump, not a martyred Trump. An impeachment would give them a
MATTHEWS: And an acquitted Trump.
PETERS: And an acquitted Trump, exactly, a Trump who`s still president.
And it just doesn`t make a whole lot of sense.
MATTHEWS: How high will Nancy Pelosi let that number go, Donna? You know
she counts. Will she corral a number of, say, 150 as long as it`s not 218?
EDWARDS: Well, let me just say, if you look at the vote when Al Green put
forward his last impeachment vote, it got 66 votes to move forward, this
time, 95. And there are, I think, 86, 87 democrats who are already on
record of starting an impeachment proceeding. And I think after the
Mueller testimony next week, that number is bound to go higher.
MATTHEWS: But is this a pre-defense by Nancy? She`s saying, I`ll let you
have all the joy of saying you want to impeach, but it ain`t going to
EDWARDS: Could she send any more signals that she doesn`t want to it
happen? But my fear I think is that, I think, for the base of the party
and for all those activists out there, people that you want knocking on
doors and being enthusiastic, you will dampen their enthusiasm by not going
head-on at this president. And besides that, it`s about the constitution.
MATTHEWS: It`s your point, there should be impeachment?
EDWARDS: I believe there should be impeachment. How do you let this kind
of lawlessness go? And if Michael is right and say, heaven forbid, he does
win re-election, democrats won`t be able to do a single thing with him
because then he really will be able to say, you know what, the voters knew
what they got, and I`m okay.
STEELE: I think that –
EDWARDS: Bad news.
STEELE: I appreciate the will and the sentiment among democrats to
impeach, but that is not the will nor the sentiment of the American people.
Nancy Pelosi knows that. It is not a card she needs to play because the
votes aren`t there for it outside of Capitol Hill, number one.
Number two, what`s the greater cause here? Impeachment, as you noted,
Jeremy, with no resolution in the Senate because he will not be –
MATTHEWS: Not with two-thirds.
STEELE: Not with two-thirds. He will not be removed from office by the
Senate, or leave it to the American people, make your case. To your point
about the turnout, if that base is really juiced and want Donald Trump out,
their best way and the only way effectively to do it is at the ballot box,
not through a process, a political process in the House where there is no
resolution in the United States.
EDWARDS: There has never been a resolution on impeachment in the United
States Senate, not a single time that it`s been done.
STEELE: In this environment –
MATTHEWS: Andrew Johnson skated and so did Nixon.
Anyway, let me go to Ben Rhodes and his political calculation. Sir, this
is a tough one. You`re a democratic campaign manager for whoever wins.
What`s the strategy to beat Trump? Is it to try to get the base of
minority voters out, try to get the cities just really up there in terms of
hype, the big vote out, trying to work the women in the suburbs and hope
your numbers will win, or to try to move to the center and get some of
those blue collar democrats back home?
RHODES: No. I think you need to run with a clear message that can both
motivate your base, but also, you know, peel off some of those people. And
the way to do it, Chris, I think, is by not taking the bait, not letting
Trump dictate every single day. Have your message. Be disciplined to it.
It can be a strong progressive message. It can talk about things that
people care about, including racism, including issues like climate change
that motivate young people. But also, like Elizabeth Warren has been
doing, talking about the way in which way Donald Trump has sold out the
very same people he said he`d help. I think as long as you`re disciplined
and you run your campaign, not his, you have that chance to do both.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think we should go back to the history books and look at
Harry Truman in `48 and how he pulled the upset of the century. He did
just what you said. You play your strengths on jobs and special – the
issues that people – matter to people, especially working people, and you
get those issues out front, and you basically tear the other guy apart.
You got to do both. Thank you.
You don`t play it just soft. It ain`t going to be defense. I think you`re
dead right. Don`t play defense. You got play offense and you got to sell
what you got. It`s what you do with what you got that counts.
Thank you, Donna Edwards. Thank you, Michael Steele, Jeremy Peters and Ben
Coming up, the tail of the tape, a newly discovered video. How did they
find this stuff from Mar-a-Lago in 1992? Look at these pictures, a sleazy
here, shedding light on the relationship. It looks pretty intimate there.
Look, look, look, pretty close between him and Epstein, and the accused
sexual predator, Jeffrey Epstein. What was really going on in Trump`s
Great Gatsby days when he`s having those parties?
Plus, the House votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce
Secretary Wilbur in criminal contempt. Is this another symbolic gesture by
democrats or will they ever find a way to hold the Trump administration
And Trump`s schoolyard comebacks when he`s accused of something like
racism, he tries to turn the tables, like on a schoolyard. We`ll show you
just some of the times Trump used that baby defense.
Much more ahead. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Last week, President Trump told reporters he was – quote – “not a fan of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven`t spoken to him in
probably 15 years or more. I wasn`t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein. That, I
can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “I was not a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein. That, I can tell you.”
Well, newly unearthed NBC footage from 1992 shows you just how comfortable
the two men were with each other. The video comes from years before
Epstein pled guilty to a state charge of soliciting a minor for
In the video, which you see here, Trump greets Epstein and two others at
his Mar-a-Lago estate, escorting them into a party.
And during that party, which was being filmed for a show about his life,
Donald Trump appears to be talking to Epstein about the female guests.
At one point, he appears to tell Epstein about one of the guests: “Look at
her. She is hot.”
The video also shows Trump surrounded by women, of course. And at one
point, he grabs and touches one of them.
Epstein`s arrest has renewed attention on the relationship of the two men.
According to press reports, the two had been friends for years, until a
falling out roughly 15 years ago.
Tomorrow, a New York judge will decide whether to grant Epstein`s bail
For more, I`m joined by Megan Twohey, “New York Times” investigative
reporter, and Laurence Leamer, author of “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of
Power at Donald Trump`s Presidential Palace.”
Laurence, I want to start with you.
What is the culture of Mar-a-Lago that would have this character in such
celebrated position? Why would this guy, before and after his arrest and
that sort of wrist slap he got for 15 months, where he could go to work six
days a week – is he still part of the social circuitry down there?
LAURENCE LEAMER, AUTHOR, “MAR-A-LAGO”: Well, in Trump`s Palm Beach, all
that matters is how much money you have.
And Epstein said he was a billionaire. He probably wasn`t. So, he – and
he was a player. He loved young women. And Trump admired that in him.
So, that footage shows precisely why these two guys were close friends.
MATTHEWS: So he could go to a party and have a husband say to his wife, “I
would like you to meet Jeffrey Epstein, you probably heard about him”?
I mean, Epstein flew down on Trump`s plane. He showed up late one time,
and Trump was upset with him. Of course, he was close to him. But you
know better than I…
MATTHEWS: How long ago was that?
LEAMER: About 1990.
LEAMER: But you know as well as I do that Trump – whatever Trump says is
the truth, that`s the truth.
So, now he is not a friend. But of course he was a close friend of his.
MATTHEWS: What was the nature of their relationship? We`re seeing all
this showing off of these cheerleaders. Admittedly, they`re cheerleaders
for the Buffalo Bills and I think the Miami Dolphins.
But that`s all part for the camera, I think. But what do we make of their
real – their actual relationship, Megan?
MEGAN TWOHEY, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Right.
So, there is evidence. I mean, this isn`t the only party that Jeffrey
Epstein attended at Mar-a-Lago. There was a second party in 1992 that
Epstein attended with Trump and a couple of business partners he had and a
beauty – like a beauty pageant competition and the beauty pageant
That was actually a gathering in which one of the women has since alleged
that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her there. So there is allegations
that both men have faced coming out of some of the socializing that they
did in Palm Beach at the time.
What we also know is that – so, while they partied together and were seen
together in the 1990s, in the early – I think it was in the early 2000s,
there was a young woman who was working at Mar-a-Lago who was recruited
into Epstein`s home, with promises of becoming a masseuse and earning a lot
And she is now one of his accusers, a woman who says that she was then
sexually abused and sexually…
MATTHEWS: How old was she then, at the time? Do you know?
TWOHEY: So, she says that she – she says that she was 16 at the time.
And her allegation didn`t come out until 2009. And when that allegation
came out I think was the moment that Trump said, I need to remove my
association with Epstein, and by many accounts was actually visibly very
angry that there was an accusation that he had – that Epstein had actually
recruited a woman, a young girl out of Mar-a-Lago into his alleged sexual
MATTHEWS: Well, all the steamy atmosphere of that party that was going on
there, I think some of it for the camera, with the cheerleaders, what is
wrong – I`m trying to figure out, what do we say here on a political show
about Trump`s relationship with this guy, who`s clearly got, not legal
jeopardy – he deserves his legal jeopardy, all these cases where he was a
predator with young women in some sex trafficking thing that was going on.
And what was Trump`s connection to it, besides he likes to hang out with
sleaze balls with Roy Cohn? He seems to like their company. What do we
Well, what we know is that the – as we understand it, there were rumors
that had circulated about Epstein`s sexual predation for years, but it
wasn`t until 2008 that he actually faced criminal charges.
And so, for years and years, Epstein was able to draw cover for his alleged
sort of misconduct and bad behavior through powerful connections, his
wealth, his money, his powerful connections.
But, you know, he had powerful connections that in the political realm from
the Clintons. He had powerful connection with Harvard in the academic
setting. He had powerful connections within sort of the British royalty
with Prince Andrew. So there were a lot of ways he was able to kind of
create cover for his alleged misbehavior.
And when these charges did come out, when the allegations did start to
surface in the mid-2000s, he brought in these expensive high-powered
attorneys like Alan Dershowitz, who kind of came in and minimized the
charges, so that he was able to walk away…
MATTHEWS: That`s for sure.
TWOHEY: … and tell people who knew him that he was guilty of nothing
more than soliciting a prostitute.
So I think that that all helped give him cover and his associates cover,
those who did like to party with him, and those who – Donald Trump himself
has been quoted saying – in 2002, saying, I – that he liked Jeffrey
Epstein and that they both liked the company of beautiful women.
TWOHEY: In Epstein`s case, even recognizing that they were much younger.
MATTHEWS: It just seems wonderful that everyone has a right to a legal
defense, Megan and Laurence.
In the case of the very wealthy, you have a right to the dream team
defending you, Ken Starr, Dershowitz, the works.
Anyway, the 1992 the footage was shot by NBC for a Faith Daniels talk show
called “A Closer Look,” which profiled the then newly divorced Trump.
During that episode, Faith Daniels and Trump described the circumstances of
how he ended up on the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “A CLOSER LOOK”)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know why I`m even on
the show, except we want to give you good ratings. I said to Faith…
TRUMP: I said to Faith…
FAITH DANIELS, HOST, “A CLOSER LOOK”: How generous, huh?
TRUMP: … we`re going to get you some major, major ratings. And you are.
You`re going to get big ratings.
DANIELS: Tell the rest of the story, though.
TRUMP: I know.
DANIELS: I saw you at the celebrity chef dinner here in New York.
TRUMP: I did. And what a kiss.
DANIELS: You kissed me on the lips in front of the paparazzi. And I said,
that will cost you. I`m booking you on the show.
TRUMP: This was so good. And it was so open and nice. She is a fabulous
DANIELS: So open and nice
TRUMP: And her husband – her husband is a handsome devil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, earlier this evening, we reached out to the White House to
respond to this exchange. And we`re waiting for a response.
However, the unprompted kissing that Trump describes there to Faith Daniels
in that clip resembles the behavior he later described in that infamous
“Access Hollywood” tape.
Let`s listen for a refresher here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “ACCESS HOLLYWOOD”)
TRUMP: You know, I`m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start
kissing them. It`s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don`t even wait. And
when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, “ACCESS HOLLYWOOD”: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab `em by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Laurence, you cover this stuff.
LEAMER: Not any longer. I mean, it`s so disgusting on so many levels,
MATTHEWS: Well, I wonder this.
Why is he still socially – I have heard – Miami Beach, from what I know
about it – or Palm Beach, rather, is a lot of people with money. They get
really dressed up at night. They`re somewhat older.
MATTHEWS: They`re sort of a WASP crowd and a Jewish crowd, whatever. But
they`re all in common is money and showing up and looking well at nighttime
and being somewhat classy in your demeanor.
How does Trump fit into that?
LEAMER: Well, he – it`s his world, meaning he can create the illusion of
classiness as well.
If you have got $200,000, you can join Mar-a-Lago too. You can be one of
MATTHEWS: You can buy your way into class?
LEAMER: Yes, exactly.
Thank you, Megan Twohey. It`s great reporting, Megan. Thank you so much
for coming on HARDBALL tonight.
Laurence Leamer, as always, I have great respect for you, Laurence Leamer.
Up next: the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between Congress and
Trump, the House holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce
Secretary Wilbur – Wilbur – in criminal contempt for stonewalling
Congress on the census controversy.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In a dramatic move late today, the House of Representatives voted to hold
Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in
criminal contempt of Congress for withholding subpoenaed documents from the
As NBC News points out, the vote marks – quote – “just the second time in
American history that an American attorney general had been found in
criminal contempt,” the first being Eric Holder seven years ago.
The subpoenaed documents that Barr and Ross withheld are about the
administration`s failed effort to add a citizenship question to the census,
and they could reveal the president`s ulterior motive perhaps in waging
that census fight.
According to “The New York Times,” Democrats believe – quote – “that the
administration`s long-stated rationale for collecting the data, to better
enforce the Voting Rights Act, was merely a cover for a politically
motivated attempt to eliminate noncitizens from population statistics used
to allocate political representation, diminishing Democratic power.”
Well, it comes after the Supreme Court rejected the administration`s
argument that the citizenship question was necessary and that their
justification seems to have been contrived.”
I`m joined right now by Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,
who serves on the House Oversight Committee.
Congresswoman, it`s great to have you on.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): Thank you. Great to be with you.
MATTHEWS: Can you figure out what the Trump people were up to in including
that citizenship question? What was their political dream here?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, it certainly wasn`t what Secretary Ross testified
under oath, which was that the sole reason, he said, that they wanted the
citizenship question on the census was to enforce the Voting Rights Act.
And President Trump himself basically outed Secretary Ross as a liar last
week, when he said publicly that the purpose was for partisan
And, you know, we had two Cabinet officials defy congressional –
bipartisan congressional subpoenas. And they are – the administration is
not above the law.
And so we have to use every tool at our disposal to be able to use the
oversight authority that we have to get answers to the questions, because
if this was really about partisan gerrymandering, if the documents that had
been revealed, which we know have said that what the administration was
really trying to do was to suppress Hispanic representation and make sure
that brown people weren`t represented, the way they should be based on
their numbers, then we had to do this.
So the purpose was to scare people who have some people in the family or in
the household who are undocumented not to participate, and thereby reduce
the number of people being counted in that area?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Right.
There is a reason, Chris, that it`s been 70 years since a citizenship
question has been on a census. And it`s – I was at the hearing when we
had Secretary Ross there. And, very clearly, we pointed out that you don`t
need a citizenship question to enforce the Voting Rights Act.
You don`t need – we have smaller surveys that they do where they include
it now. But the president himself said last week that it was partisan
gerrymandering that was their real motive. He outed his own Cabinet
And you can`t – we have been trying to get documents. The Oversight
Committee`s role is to make sure that we can get to the bottom of the
motivations of the administration. That`s why our founding fathers set up
three branches of government.
It`s our job in Congress to get answers to questions. It`s the
administration`s job to answer that.
MATTHEWS: I know. It`s legitimate, but Trump, the president, is telling
Wilbur Ross, don`t participate. Don`t answer their subpoena. Don`t –
ignore them, basically.
That`s an amazing statement.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Look, this contempt vote allows us to – it`s a
criminal contempt resolution. And now it allows us to go to court and
enforce our subpoena authority.
MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I mean, that`s – we have to get answers to this
MATTHEWS: It`s great to have you on, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you so much, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next: President Trump is in North Carolina tonight, as we
said, hoping to rally his base. He has got a crowd there, possibly with
fresh criticism aimed at those four women, the self-styled Squad, he seems
to be going after.
Will making these women the face of the Democratic Party become a part of -
- a staple of his campaign? You betcha.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
You`re looking at live pictures right now at President Trump himself on
stage in his campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina. North Carolina,
of course, he won narrowly in 2016.
Well, President Trump just responded to tonight`s vote by the House to kill
a resolution on impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just heard that the United
States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most
ridiculous project I`ve ever been involved in, the resolution, how stupid
is that, on impeachment.
I want to thank those Democrats because many of them voted for us. The
vote was a totally lopsided 332-95 to one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the president is looking to rally his base obviously the
day after the house passed another resolution, condemning him for having
legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color. Well, it
appears President Trump is going to ignore that condemnation and continue
to adjust what he is doing and got condemned for it.
Two senior Trump campaign officials told NBC News that the president is
expected to continue his attacks on the four congresswomen tonight in what
they say is a preview of a 2020 strategy that is resonating with his base,
they think. Well, Trump tweeted this morning: Big rally tonight in
Greenville, North Carolina. I`ll talk also about people who love and hate
our country, mostly love.
As “The New York Times” reports, a major component of the president`s
reelection strategy is to portray his opponents as not merely disliking him
and his policies, but also disliking America itself. And “The Washington
Post” points out tonight`s rally, like all the others the president has
held this year, have been in states he won in 2016, and he has no interest
in toning down the incendiary rhetoric that has made him unpopular among
black, Hispanic and female voters.
In fact, Trump has reverted to his old go-to defense right out of a
schoolyard playbook, and that`s next.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Tonight, the president is holding his first rally since he launched his
reelection campaign. It comes just a day after, of course, the House
condemned him for some of the same language he is putting on wild display
For more, I`m joined by Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster, and Rick
Tyler, a Republican strategist.
So, let`s talk turkey. I know we have to talk morality because we have
moral standards in our country, including here. But why does Trump get the
ride? Why does he get people that probably go to church on Sunday, they
teach their kids to use good manner, not to use racial slurs, or ethnic
slurs, and yet they go – they put the MAGA hat on and they applaud like
crazy people for this guy?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER & STRATEGIST: Catastrophe. And I
wrote about this in my book from two years. It was catastrophe of the
election of Barack Obama for a certain group of people was a catastrophe.
It was a changing of the guard. I was the first time in our history where
the vast, vast majority of white voters could vote one way and the country
could go in a different way.
MATTHEWS: Did the whites vote against Obama?
BELCHER: Obama lost white voters in `08 and even larger in `12.
MATTHEWS: The crowd, by the way, we`re going get the tape in a minute is
showing “send her back”, in the spirit of Trump.
BELCHER: Well, this thing, so when you have a catastrophe, all rules and
sort of norms go out. So once upon a time, Donald Trump –
MATTHEWS: You make it sound like the Palestinian attitude towards the
founding of Israel, the catastrophe I think they called it.
BELCHER: Well, for somebody, it`s a catastrophe. Look, Donald Trump you
know very well. Pat Buchanan ran for years. Pat Buchanan couldn`t win a
Republican nomination. All of the sudden, now, my friends in the
Republican Party is no longer Ronald Reagan`s Republican Party. It`s
Donald Trump`s party.
MATTHEWS: Who did it? He did it? He is a genius?
BELCHER: No, it`s a driving of the resentment. And he has captured this
resentment and this fear about the changing of America.
MATTHEWS: You know, when the Republicans run in `48, they didn`t run anti-
communists. By `52, they learned to be smart about it. They ran against
communists, the whole ring.
Who switched the Republican Party to being a tribalist party? An ethnic
RICK TYLER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the Republicans ultimately
because the math is against them, right? You can only build – you can –
you have a base, and you try to build out from the base. Trump has done
nothing to build out from the base. And –
MATTHEWS: W. tried to. W. tried to bring it. He got about 35, 40 percent
of Hispanic voters.
TYLER: He was pretty successful at it. I think – look, on both sides,
politics parties have devolved into – I liken it to team sports. So,
let`s say there is a bad call in a Super Bowl game, and everybody can look
at the jumbotron, and we`ll call that truth.
Everybody can see that he stepped out of the bounds, it was a good call.
That`s the truth. But to have half the stadium, that`s a bad call, because
that means my team loses. And the other half saying that`s a good call.
The truth, we`re in a post-truth politics world.
MATTHEWS: We don`t have a camera in politics that tells us what was the
BELCHER: You`re the camera.
TYLER: Yes, that`s true. The media is the camera. But he is saying the
media is corrupt and the referees are corrupt. They`re not telling –
MATTHEWS: OK. So, for the first time, all the major newspapers, they`re
mostly owned I guess by Republicans. Editorially, they`re probably more
liberal. But all these newspapers for the past two, three days have called
him racist. That`s the first time that`s happened.
BELCHER: And that`s I think a term for the best, because, look, we can`t
go down this racial hole Trump is trying to take us down for his own
personal benefit, because guess what? America is not getting whiter. You
and I have going to have to get along and our children are really going to
have to get along or we`re going lose the future to the rising Pacific
countries, because we`re going to go down a rat`s hole.
This is ultimately –
MATTHEWS: How does this square with kids in their 20s and 30s today? My
kids are in their 30s now. When they were at school, and they had an
African-American teacher, they never told us. It didn`t click with them as
a significant fact.
BELCHER: Right, right.
MATTHEWS: That`s different than when I went to school, because we were all
basically effectively segregated. So now a kid who is now 25, 32, are they
going to listen to Trump?
BELCHER: Well, they`re growing up in a more diverse world. The
millennials are the generation where America will become a majority
minority country. So they kind of have to get along.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this. The Trump rally just now, you would
hear, they used to yell “lock her up”, meaning Hillary Clinton. Tonight,
there is a new one. Let`s take a listen to the latest chant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: These left wing ideologues see our nation as a force of evil. The
way they speak so badly of our country, they want to demolish our
Constitution, weaken our military, eliminate the values that built this
You have to look at some of their recent comments, which are never talked
about. When you see the four congresswomen, oh isn`t that lovely?
I`ll give you just a couple. I`ve had pages and pages. But we don`t want
to bore you. We don`t want to go too long.
Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds.
AUDIENCE: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
Send her back!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, the anti-Semitic thing, that is an aspect, but it`s
not the main point of what these women have been saying at all. That`s one
BELCHER: But it sort of paints them as evil, crazy doers.
Look, I think it`s stark. When you look at how that Reagan launched his
reelection, it`s morning in America. How W. – you know, W. has talked
about a more hopeful mark. You know, Bill Clinton was a bridge to the 21st
You had these Americans, whether they`re Democrat or Republican, launching
their campaigns as sort of a hopeful bringing America together.
This guy is launching his campaign by talking about how these people hate
America. It`s dramatically different.
TYLER: Warren Harding`s campaign –
MATTHEWS: It showed in the cabinet, by the way. Whatever you think of
these guys, they did try to diversify their cabinets, W. and more recent
Republicans, until this guy came along.
TYLER: After World War I, Warren Harding`s slogan was return to normalcy.
Maybe adopted by the Democrats.
Look, he does – this is the thing that he actually does best, right? This
roving – I don`t know what you want to call –
TYLER: Yes, some show, right?
TYLER: And he says these ridiculous things, because the one-offs aren`t
So, Mr. Kim, tear down this curb, that didn`t work, right? Build a wall,
Mexico is going to pay for that, didn`t work.
We`re going to take China trade. We don`t have any deal with China, that
We`re going to redo NAFTA. We don`t have a redone NAFTA. Nothing has been
passed or ratified. That didn`t work. So, this is all he has.
BELCHER: All he has is racism.
MATTHEWS: You know, he gets accused within the last week of being a
rapist. He says terrible things about ethnic groups. The guy says
anything he wants.
He`s almost up to the level of I should shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue.
TYLER: But it`s going to get worse.
MATTHEWS: Why are they with him that strongly?
BELCHER: Because he is their tribal strongman. And, listen, I don`t let
Democrats off this either. When Donald Trump stands up and says I`m going
to give you back your country, we knew what he was doing. And Democrats`
response to that is, I`m going to raise the minimum wage.
We have to speak to this tribalism, this growing tribalism in this country.
We`ve got to get an alternative to it.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you, Cornell Belcher. Thank you, Rick Tyler.
Up next, liberal justice John Paul Stevens died yesterday. That man served
35 years in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Donald Trump has his eyes on two
future conservative justices serving at least that long.
You bet. He gets back in there, two more justices. You`re watching –
that will make it 7-2 conservative.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Our thoughts tonight about the death of Supreme Court Justice
John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens was 99 years old when he died
yesterday. Most justices, most people are not so fortunate, of course.
Stevens was the third longest serving justice ever, retiring from the
Supreme Court in 2010 after 35 years. During his time on the bench, he was
part of the more liberal branch of the court saying the two biggest
mistakes made by the Supreme Court when he was there were Bush v. Gore and
Citizens United. We can agree on that.
We should therefore consider the prospect of the court`s likely future.
That tells us the historic nature, by the way, of this 2020 presidential
election coming. If Donald Trump gets a second turn, he will get the
chance to move the Supreme Court from its present 5-4 conservative to 7-2
conservative. And just think how easily he and his partner Mitch McConnell
could pull that off. They could do that very swiftly, moving the court
right ward, right ward enough to put a generations long lock on the Supreme
Court, a move made easier by the current GOP habit of picking youngsters
for the high court, getting them young enough to spend the shank of their
Which brings us to the 2020 election and the need to pick a winner,
especially for those who care about people`s rights and about fair
elections. We need justices that will reflect the will of the entire
American population, not just those able to jump through the hops the
Republicans have held out there, hoops especially challenging for the old
and less educated.
My point is basic, irreducible and undeniable. The Republicans play for
keeps. You want to beat them, do the same. And when it gets down to
picking the person you want picking the next members of the Supreme Court,
find yourself a winner.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the