Police standoff in Philadelphia continues. TRANSCRIPT: 8/14/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in
We`re following breaking news out of Philadelphia tonight. Six police
officers have been shot in what authorities are calling an active and
ongoing situation. All the officers are expected to survive. The shooting
began about 4:30 this afternoon in the Nicetown section of north
Philadelphia, which is where I came from. There is a massive police
presence surrounding the house there where one shooter is still inside,
A police spokesman told NBC News that the incident began when an officer
attempted to serve a warrant at that address there. We`re going to
continue to monitor developments in North Philadelphia and bring you the
The big political news tonight is the 2020 Democratic race for president is
drawing very tight. With the deadline looming to qualify for the next
debate, a new poll out today shows the race between the frontrunners in a
virtual tie. A new economist YouGov weekly tracking poll shows former Vice
President Joe Biden now at 21 percent where Elizabeth Warren at 20 percent.
Senator Bernie Sanders is third at 16 percent, then comes Kamala Harris at
8 percent, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 5.
For his part, at the rally in Pennsylvania yesterday, President Trump
referenced the recent tightening in the Democratic race, using his usual
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I did it very early with Pocahontas. I
should probably have waited. She is staging a comeback on Sleepy Joe. I
don`t know who`s going to win, But we`ll have to hit Pocahontas very hard
again if she does win.
But she is staging a little bit of a comeback. What a group, Pocahontas
and Sleepy Joe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But it was a different Republican under fire for comments he
made today. Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King drew criticism for
remarks he made explaining his opposition to abortion, including cases of
rape or incest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): We know the reasons why that we know the
exceptions for the most of it is for rape and incest, because it`s not the
baby`s fault. But I sort of wonder about this. What if it was okay and
what if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those
people out that were products of rape and incest. Would there be any
population of the world left if we did that considering all the wars and
all the rape and pillage that has taken place and whatever that happened to
culture and society? I don`t like to answer the following (ph), but I`m
not a part of product of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Anyway, King had already been stripped of all his
committee assignments by the leadership of the Republican in Congress
earlier this year after he questioned whether the term white supremacy was
And a host of Democratic 2020 candidates condemned King`s comments today,
many of them urging to donate to King`s Democratic opponent J.D. Scholten.
For more, I`m joined by former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of
Missouri, Michelle Goldberg, Columnist for The New York Times. Thank you.
You`re laughing already, I can see. Yamiche Alcindor, a White House
Correspondent for PBS NewsHour, and Ben Howe, author of Immoral Majority,
Why Evangelicals – there is the book, Shows Political Power Over Christian
Values, because judgeships last longer than tax cuts, I think.
Let me go to Senator McCaskill, because you know the world, you know the
Midwest, you know the political world, you know political world, you know
what it`s like to actually run in a general election, which most of people
– neither party knows what a general election is because they don`t have
to face them.
Why do these people – why do they go back to these trolls go way back to
these arguments about, you know, legitimate rape, talking about this
anthropological almost opposite Thomas Malthus, oh, we wouldn`t be here
today if it weren`t for rape and incest? I mean, why do they bring this
crap up? Why do they do it?
FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-IA): Well, I mean, Steve King is a nut. He
is a stone-cold nut. He makes Todd Akin, who was my opponent back in `12
who said, you know, legitimate rape, a woman has a way of shutting down her
pregnancy. He makes him look kind of mainstream. I mean, this guy, if the
people of Iowa send him back to Congress, they get what they deserve.
It`s just frightening to me that this guy has a position in our government
with all of the things he said offensive to people, black and brown people
about immigrants, and now the notion that he thinks it`s just fine if a 14-
year-old is raped repeatedly by her father that she would be forced to
carry that baby and have that baby.
I guarantee you he`s never sat across the table from one of those young
girls like I have when I was a prosecutor. It might change his attitude
and make him maybe not quite so cavalier about it, because it`s offensive.
I guarantee you it`s offensive to women and I think it`s offensive to most
He is basically saying that all men rape and commit incest because our
population is full of the byproducts of that, which, of course, we all know
is not true.
MATTHEWS: Yes. It`s like Meyer Lansky said in the movie Godfather,
saying, it`s the business we have chosen. It`s who we are as a people.
Yamiche, this is the guy who just agreed with the Senator. This is a guy
that said that Latinos that come to America had big legs because they`re
like cantaloupes because they`re carrying all the drugs. I mean, this is
how far he reaches to make his slurring comments.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: It just doesn`t
make any sense. And we now see Liz Cheney, the number three Republican in
the House saying he has to go. She is echoing in some way, of course, what
the 2020 Democratic candidates are saying.
But to just look at what Steve King is talking about. He is talking about
why is white supremacy an offensive term. Well, maybe because all these
people died just two few weeks ago because somebody was shooting up a
Walmart looking for Latinos because they were talking about an invasion
Latinos. Or maybe it`s the idea that like when he is talking about women
being rape and having to carry their rapist`s child, he is divorced from
reality. I mean, women die in childbirth. There are states where rapists
still have actual access to their children where they can get visitation
rights. These are things that people –
MATTHEWS: They`re under our law?
ALCINDOR: Under our laws. These are real life consequences that people
are dealing with. And you have a sitting lawmaker making almost light of
the things that are really tragedies in a lot of people`s lives.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk politics. Why can`t a conservative, and you can say
at minimal he is a conservative, at worst, he`s a right wing crazy, why do
they feel they have to go into the crazy erogenous zones of the far right
to keep these people behind him? Steve King doesn`t have to talk like this
to keep his peeps behind him. Why does he go that far?
BEN HOWE, AUTHOR, THE IMMORAL MAJORITY: I think he does have to go that
far to keep those people behind him. I think a lot of his base online
energizes online, in their communities, and the more excited they are with
the idea that they have someone who is going to radically support their
agenda, they will. I think that`s the only way they`ll stay with him.
I mean, I know that`s not –
MATTHEWS: Why does he just say, I think abortion is immoral?
HOWE: Why can`t he say that?
MATTHEWS: Yes, just say, I think it`s immoral.
HOWE: Because he needs to provide rationalizations. This is what the
evangelicals do, this is what they do with just about every group in the
Republican Party, is they find ways to rationalize amongst themselves, not
to convince anyone else, not to bring anyone else in and not to make a
position that anyone else would find appealing, but just to make sure that
within the community, they can feel okay with what they`re doing.
MATTHEWS: Michelle, the problem with his argument, the counterpoint from
him would be, okay, we`re going to force women who were raped or the
victims of incest to have babies, because the law is going to come into
their world and make them have the baby. I mean, does anybody think
through what kind of country we would be if that were the case?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think they have
thought it through, and I think that`s what they want, right? I mean, I
think that he is saying two things. Both he`s saying that, yes, I am in
favor of forced birth for women who have endured horrible violence and
trauma, but I think he is saying something else, and I think it`s probably
what he really believes, which is that he sees rape and forced birth as
important building blocks of civilization, and maybe even all worth it if
it ultimately leads to the birth of Steve King, right?
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you think it`s that self-referential.
GOLDBERG: Well, he`s the one who said it, right? You know, I might not be
here were it not for rape and pillage. So who can criticize rape and
MATTHEWS: Thank God for the Visigoths.
Let me go to the Senator on this political question because I don`t think
I`ve spent more time than anything in the last six, seven months, last two
years trying to figure out how the Democrats are going to run a good
candidate in 2020, someone who can win and hold the center of the
Democratic Party and the left together to actually add up to a working,
And my question then – I think they could do it. The question is the
failure of Biden in the last couple of weeks to exploit the opening he has
as a moderate, because he`s got that lane all to himself, what`s going on?
What do you see happening here? He`s not played the game effectively in
the last couple of weeks again. Your thoughts.
MCCASKILL: Well, I think, first of all, there is a lot of time left.
Second of all, I think he probably doesn`t see anybody encroaching in that
lane. If you`re just looking at this from a cold political standpoint, I
think he feels like he`s got it staked out. I don`t know. I haven`t
talked to him about it.
But I will say this. I think, Chris, this is a different kind of election
because people forget that the majority of people that will vote November
2020 will not claim either Democratic Party or the Republican Party. They
will look at the binary choice. And we have something that will unite the
middle with the Democratic Party, and that is Donald Trump.
And I think Donald Trump is such a unifying force for our party. I think
we can withstand a few bumps in the road through this torturous
presidential primary process with so many candidates and so many people out
there trying to play gotcha.
MATTHEWS: Michelle, that`s the question. Can Trump turn the question to,
oh, right, you hate me, but I`m here. I`m not a left winger to sort of
socialize the country. I mean, he`s going to make that question and maybe
that is that question. Do you want to go to the left or do you want to
stay in the middle with this crazy guy you`ve got as president right now,
but he is going to leave your taxes alone? Your thoughts.
GOLDBERG: I think he`ll make that argument if he is running against
Elizabeth Warren. He`ll probably make that argument if he is running
against anyone. But I also think he can make the converse argument about
Biden. You`ll see a lot of trolling about Biden`s records, a lot of, you
know, sort of efforts to depress voter turnout, to disillusion the base.
You might see a lot of kind of trolling about his lack of energy in his
campaign. So any of these candidates are going to have vulnerabilities.
I just came back from Iowa, and any sense when I went to – I went events
for Warren, I went to events for Biden, I went to events for Harris, I went
to the state fair. When I talked to actual voters, I don`t think that
these lanes that we talk about are really real.
I mean, I spoke to a lot of people who are trying to decide between
Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden and don`t see them as really that
ideologically different. Because on the stump, they`re both talking about
their hard scrabbled childhoods, they`re both talking about middle class
economics. I think people are making decisions using kind of different
metrics than we are in pundit land.
MATTHEWS: Well, when I look at that – I`ll just look at it, but you look
at the same access we all have. But the look at the polls. He said, very
liberal, Elizabeth Warren, somewhat liberal, surprising, Bernie, he`s a
little bit to the right of her. These are supplied (ph). But they are, I
think interesting. Ben, your thoughts.
HOWE: This is anecdotal, but I`m from South Carolina and that hasn`t been
my experience. The experience I`ve had is not that Elizabeth Warren and
Joe Biden aren`t that far apart from one another, if that`s what`s being
said. Joe Biden is much more appealing to people where I`m from who don`t
like Trump, but I don`t think not liking Trump is a great strategy to begin
MATTHEWS: Anyway, for a Democrat to win, even Biden against Trump, in
HOWE: Yes, I think Biden actually could do well.
MATTHEWS: Could win the general?
HOWE: I think he could win the general, yes.
ALCINDOR: The strategy in 2016 and the talking points that you heard from
Democrats in 2016 was even if Bernie and Hillary Clinton were having this
bloodbath, everyone is going to coalesce because Donald Trump is such a
crazy figure. Every Democrats thought, okay, this is – then we`re clearly
going take this. Obviously, that did not work out.
I think Pete Buttigieg though summarized the Democrats` issues really well
in the last debate. He said, no matter what policies we run, we`re going
to be cast as American socialists.
And the president has kind of really settled on that language. He`s
settled on the idea of telling its voters –
MATTHEWS: Do you believe Biden looks like a socialist?
ALCINDOR: I think the president is going to continue to make that
argument. I`m not saying that it`s correct.
MATTHEWS: Do centrists play golf?
ALCINDOR: He is continuing to –
MATTHEWS: I`m serious. There`s is nothing about him culturally that looks
like a leftist.
ALCINDOR: I mean, his message to his voters is these are – Democrats are
going to destroy your way of life. And it`s Democrats who are going to
have to say that`s not clear. But I think that that`s the argument that
MATTHEWS: A lot of people I know are dying for a winner, and they want
somebody who look likes a winner. They don`t want to put up somebody who
might win. They want to pick up somebody they think will win.
Anyway, a former Republican congressman is urging his party right now to
find someone to primary the president in the Republican Party. In a New
York Times op-ed, former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh writes, President
Trump needs a challenger from the right side of the party.
Walsh argues the fact is Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages
bigotry and xenophobia to rouse as base and advance his political
prospects. Wow. He adds, Mr. Trump isn`t a conservative. He is reckless
on fiscal issues, he is incompetent on the border, he`s clueless on trade,
he misunderstands executive power and he subverts the rule of law.
Senator, your thoughts about – that`s a Republican who wants to see a real
challenger. I`m not sure Bill Weld fits the bill, because Bill Weld is a
liberal Republican from Massachusetts.
MCCASKILL: Well, frankly, one of your guests has written a very good book
that can speak to whether or not a challenge from the right would work,
because if there wasn`t vulnerability on Trump from the right, it would
certainly be around fiscal policy and things like ethics, integrity and
And, typically, in the Republican Party, you would see the evangelicals
that would be clamoring to get a challenge to him from the right. But he
has managed to co-opt a lot of those.
And let me say this about what Yamiche said. I get in 2016, we thought,
well, it doesn`t matter because we can beat Trump. The problem was in
2016, none of us believed that Trump could win. So a lot of people stayed
home because they thought it was done. All of the punditry, all of the
polls said Hillary Clinton was going to be president. I think everyone was
shocked, including Donald Trump, that he won. I don`t think that will be
the case in 2020.
MATTHEWS: All I know is the experts, when I said, there is a lot of angry
people on Pennsylvania, they don`t like Hillary Clinton. There are a lot
of them. They don`t like it. And there`s not enough of them because the
Ivy League crowd, all crowds together, may say, you know, we`re all
intellectuals and she is meritocrat, she has made her way and she deserves
I. And then, of course, they`re going to vote for her. No, they don`t.
They don`t have to vote for anybody.
Here is the question about this. Evangelicals, they got a shot at this
seven to two conservative court if this guy, Trump, gets another four
years. You know, Ruth Bader Ginsburg might retire, something might happen.
Steve Breyer might quit. They have a shot at permanent, like Hamiltonian
control of the court. Is that what is driving evangelical voting?
HOWE: It`s absolutely what`s going to drive them to come out again in
record numbers. I mean, they came out in record numbers before for Donald
Trump. They still, even in some of the elections where there were less of
them, they still have more support, 81 percent for Roy Moore, almost 81
percent for Roy Moore, of the ones who came out.
But I think that the problem is this is the promised land, what you`re
talking about, supreme court. I mean,
That is – if they can achieve that, there is no amount that Donald Trump
can do, nothing he can say, no amount of cursing to upset people or using
the Lord`s name in vain or any of that that`s going to prevent them from
voting for him, no matter what they say right now.
ALCINDOR: I think it`s important though to make the distinction that we`re
talking about white evangelicals. And the people that I`m talk nothing in
the African-American churches are saying, this person is someone in
President Trump is someone who is using racist language who is really
dividing our country.
And the white evangelicals that I`ve been talking to, they`re saying, we do
have a problem with his ethics, and, yes, the courts are important, but the
Tweets and the talking about the invasion, that stuff works on evangelicals
that I have talked to. Some of his evangelical supporters of the
president, they`re excited about the president`s language.
So I think, yes, it`s the courts, but it`s also his race baiting that is
helping him get in the white evangelical vote.
MATTHEWS: The African-American evangelical vote, they have their own
issues, like Buttigieg. Would they vote for him?
ALCINDOR: They have their own issues and there are some people that are
going to question whether or not there are going to be some African-
Americans who want to support a homosexual presidential candidate.
But I think, honestly, a lot of African-Americans that I`ve talked to say,
if it`s between Pete Buttigieg and the president, I`m going to go with Pete
Buttigieg because I have already seen what President Trump will do, not
just in his words but also in his policies.
MATTHEWS: I`d love to see them after the polls. I`d love to see them.
That would be very education.
It`s all about anthropology, and you`re an expert. And your book is called
The Immoral Majority.
HOWE: Well, you know, I was going to say, it may be white evangelicals,
but you`re talking about 26 percent of the electorate in the last four
elections. So it is huge voting bloc.
ALCINDOR: Yes, it`s definitely a huge voting bloc.
HOWE: And it`s extremely consequential. And –
MATTHEWS: And they ignored completely the New York-based media,
Anyway, thank you, Claire McCaskill, as always, Michelle Goldberg, thank
you, Yamiche Alcindor and Ben Howe.
Coming up – and Howe. Anyway, we`ll have the latest in the breaking news
out of Philadelphia in North Philly, where six police officers have been
shot. This incident began at 4:30 this afternoon in the Nicetown area.
Plus, double standard? Recent gaffes by Joe Biden have Democrats
concerned, as they should. But the president of the United States can`t
get through his speech without making multiple false statements. Yesterday
he took credit for signing a bill he never actually signed and made false
claims about the United States` trade policy with Japan.
Well, Montel Williams is calling the former – he`s a former Republican
Party member and he is calling out his former party for using hate, fear
and lies over their country and says the president is dangerously unfit to
confront a world he says is on fire. Join us later in this show. Stick
around for Montel.
Much more ahead. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL we continue to follow the developing
situation in North Philadelphia where six police officers have been shot
and are being treated for nonlife-threatening injuries at this point.
Police urge residents to avoid that area. The suspect, who is holed up in a
building in North Philly near Temple University is not currently in
custody, continues to fire on the police, in fact. Sources tell NBC News
that police were in the scene, serving a warrant.
Well, there is a massive police presence surrounding the building, as
you`ll see here. A spokesperson told NBC News they are attempting to talk
to the shooter to get him to surrender. Here is an audio, audio clip from
over an hour ago when police arrived on the scene.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nearby car, nearby - shot fire, shot fire inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give S.W.A.T. ASAP. Long gun ASAP. This is Nathan 1080.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cars stand by.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The President of the United States has been briefed on this
shooting. He continues to monitor the situation from his vacation home in
Jersey. For the latest I`m joined by NBC 10 Reporter Aaron Baskerville who
is on the scene. Aaron, thank you joining us what do you know right now?
AARON BASKERVILLE, NBC 10 REPORTER: Well, Chris right now I`m just staring
at a whole bunch of officers taking at the front position right now. We`re
in North Philadelphia about two miles north of Temple.
And right now a whole bunch of officers are kind of huddled behind their
vehicles in cars, and they`re just focused on that building in that area
where that gunman is still holed up right now. Some of the homes in this
area have been evacuated.
Me personally, I`ve heard at least 40 to 50 different gunshots. These are
volleys, they are rapid-fire, there are about seven or eight gunshots and
then may be five minutes later seven or eight more gunshots. That continues
for about a 30, 35-minute period since I`ve been out here.
Where I`m at, my exact location, it`s kind of died down for the most part.
But you talk about some of the details. Some of our sources are saying at
least one officer maybe two went inside that house, serving a warrant for
drugs. They went inside that house, started to arrest a couple of folks.
According to our source, that`s when at least one gunman downstairs
apparently started firing through the floor upstairs. There were other
officers outside who obviously heard the gunshot and came rushing towards
that home. They took on some gunfire.
If there is any good news whatsoever right now is that those six officers
that have been shot are facing nonlife-threatening injuries. We`ve heard
may be a couple of injuries to officers. They weren`t shot, but just maybe
some injuries responding.
We haven`t heard any gunshots in the last 30 minutes or so. But my position
right now, I`m staring at least 50 officers who are kind of just waiting to
see what happens here still kind of taking that defensive position behind
vehicles out here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Aaron Baskerville. Thank you for joining us.
That`s actually the neighborhood by earliest memories of from right that
area there. My grandparents lived there for years.
Let my bring in Jim Cavanaugh, Former Hostage Negotiator for ATF and Tom
Winter, an NBC News Investigative Correspondent. Gentlemen, thank you.
First of all, Jim, this is a row house neighborhood, working class
neighborhood African-Americans. I don`t know what we know except that you
start shooting in those neighborhoods there is lot of people around?
JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER ATF HOSTAGE INVESTIGATOR: Right, well they had to
clear those people out there surrounding houses Chris. And one of the
earlier reports, I don`t know if it`s been resolved from NBC Philly was
that officers were trapped inside the house.
That poses quite a great dilemma for S.W.A.T. commanders if that`s the case
because they have to get their rifles trained to keep the shooter away from
their officers if they are trapped inside. And what Aaron just reported,
maybe they were on the second floor trying to make some arrests.
So it is possible. That`s still ongoing. That`s going to slow things down.
No shooting for 30 minutes may mean the shooter is dead. May mean there is
ongoing negotiations, may mean they`re still trying to get him on the
phone. We just don`t know.
The critical point is, are there any Philly police officers still in there?
If there are, they`re talking to their commanders. They`re talking to their
S.W.A.T. commander on their phones, on their radio, and they`re trying to
make sure they can get their rifles between those officers, the S.W.A.T.
rifles on target between those officers and any shooters.
MATTHEWS: We don`t know where they`re being held. Ransom or held captive or
not, do we?
CAVANAUGH: Right. Or maybe even in another room in the building and a
shooter in another room, but they don`t have access to leave, like they
can`t go in the hallway because the shooter is active that`s a possibility.
So they may not be shot. May not be wounded, but they may just be trapped.
The S.W.A.T. commander will have to deal with that. That was an early
report. I don`t know if Aaron and his team in Philly have verified it. It`s
a big issue for S.W.A.T. Command also; any other people who might be
wounded in there could be bleeding. So there is a critical time frame here
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Jim Cavanaugh. Let`s go to Tom Winter. Tom,
what are your sources telling you?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, a little bit of late information
here. First off have I the answer to Jim`s question, as far as whether or
not there are officers inside of that house or whether or not there are any
injured? There are no injured officers inside the house.
As far as whether or not there are still officers hold up inside, that`s
information I`m aware of. But with respect to the ongoing law enforcement
situation and officer safety, I`m not going to discuss at this time. In
regards to this, this incident happened approximately 4:30 this afternoon.
It was due to a warrant that was being searched, a warrant that was being
executed rather at this residence as part of an ongoing narcotics
There are some initial concerns that the suspect involved, the shooter here
has an AR-15 style weapon. Police are incredibly concerned about that. At
this time they are trying to talk to him and trying to implore him at this
point to end this so more officers are not injured here tonight.
Six officers shot. The good news or the silver lining here, Chris, if there
is any is that all those officers are expected to survive. In addition to
that, there had been some local schools, even a day care facility nearby.
The indications that we`re getting real time here as I`ve been on the air
with you and as you`ve been discussing it was that they would be able to
safely evacuate those centers.
But this is still very much an active scene in the Philadelphia police
department right now is really concerned about officer safety moving
forward and some things inside that house.
MATTHEWS: It`s amazingly familiar territory for me. Anyway, thank you, Tom
Winter and Jim Cavanaugh. It`s a close in neighborhood where neighbors all
know each other. Coming up double standard recent gaps by Joe Biden have
Democrats worried. The President of the United States can`t get through a
speech without making multiple false statements.
How about a double standard with the President? He is getting off easy for
what he says. Are these gaffes or lies? That`s next on Hardball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Joe Biden is not playing
with a full deck. This is not somebody you can have as your President.
LARA TRUMP, TRUMP 2020 SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: I do think when you hear
time after time these slip-ups from him, people question his mental acuity
to a degree.
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, TRUMP 2020 SENIOR ADVISOR: We see that Joe Biden is in a
weakened position. He obviously can`t remember, you know, just basic facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL following a series of gaffes by Former
Vice President Joe Biden, President Trump and his allies are trying to
shape the narrative that the Democratic front-runner isn`t fit to be
However, the President has his own problems, don`t you think, gets facts
right, don`t you think? Here are some of the false claims Trump has made
just yesterday during his speech in Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I got sued on a thing call emoluments. Have you heard the word?
Nobody ever heard of it before. They went back. Now nobody looks at Obama
getting $60 million for a book. That`s okay. Many car plants that are
coming in from Japan, they send us house thousands and thousands, millions
of cars. We send them wheat, wheat, that`s not a good deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, actually President Obama didn`t sign a book deal until 2017
after he left office. It wasn`t an emoluments situation. And wheat by the
way as you look at here is only a small component what we export to Japan a
very small part of it. Then there would be what you might call the lies he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Veteran`s choice. You`ve been hearing about it for 45 years. I got
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Actually, President Obama signed the Veteran`s Choice Program
into law in 2014. And then there are just sloppy mistakes like these.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That`s a lot of people back there for an 11:00 speech. That`s a lot
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The President`s speech was actually held at 2:00 in the
afternoon. When he looked at his watch, it should have said 2:00, and it
did but he said 11.
I`m joined by Former Democratic Congressman Donna Edwards and Former
Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly, who is no longer affiliated
with the party. Mr. Jolly, why do we give Trump a free ride on things they
are saying like crowd size, like who signed the law and his peeps don`t
seem to care at all about the stuff you have to decide is he stupid or is
he a liar?
FORMER REP. DAVID JOLLY (R-FL): I don`t know that he gets a free ride. I
think we`ve had him under intense scrutiny rightly so in the last three
years, but I think it`s important how he can conceptualize what is reported
MATTHEWS: We don`t say he is losing it. We don`t say he doesn`t have a full
deck. We don`t make comments about his IQ like he does about Biden. He is
talking competence with Biden.
JOLLY: Well, I think some of us do. I mean, some of us certainly have. But
I think Chris importantly to your point that we contextualize what we hear
from Donald Trump is often a lie ruled in malice, ignorance, manipulation
and intended to stoke division.
The President of the United States knows he is lying where as how we
contextualize where we often hear from Joe Biden and other candidates as
well, not just Biden are what we have historically considered gaffes of a
And I think in each case, it`s important that we ask for explanations. I
mean, we at - we are looking at people who are asking to be the next
President of the United States. But we have to keep it in context.
In Donald Trump we see lies based on manipulation, malice, rooted in
division and often ignorance frankly dangerous ignorance where as what we
see from Joe Biden and others are truly gaffes but gaffes that need an
explanation and follow-up.
MATTHEWS: When he hears the word liberal democracy, they must be thinking
about Phil Burton Machine in California. No. They`re talking about
countries like the United States. And one example of gaffe by the Former
Vice President at a recent fundraiser reportedly misstated the locations of
the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
The poll reports said he corrected himself later in his remarks. President
Trump also had trouble remembering all the locations of one of the
shootings during his address to the country last week. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo. And may
God protect them. May God protect all of those from Texas to Ohio?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now Toledo is where Danny Thomas is from. Nobody says he is
losing it. Nobody says any full deck.
FORMER REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D-MD): No but I mean, look, the fact checkers
have checked more than 12,000 of his lies, misstatements, gap whatever you
want to call them. But I actually do think some of this stuff is
intentional. Remember the whole birth thing that was a lie and it was on–
MATTHEWS: I have people in Hawaii checking this out.
EDWARDS: It wasn`t on purpose. It was deliberate. There are things that he
does are that are really deliberate that are harmful and are dangerous and
that his people act on. I think it`s important really to call this out. I
hate the comparisons between Joe Biden and Donald Trump because to me there
is like not as until a comparison between somebody who makes an occasional
couple of mistakes.
MATTHEWS: How you hear it when Biden makes comments like poor kids and
white kids, and then he realizes somewhere in his head a bell goes off and
oh, God, I just made an ethnic comment about who the wealthy kids are. No,
there is wealthy black people and Hispanic people. So he corrects it. He is
hearing it as he makes the mistake.
EDWARDS: When I hear the difference between candidates who was there and
then he self-corrects. And frankly if you look at that room and the
comments coming out of that room, the people in that room actually were not
offended. Look, I think most people are - most Democrats are giving Biden a
pass. You can`t see that that`s really having a deep in path.
MATTHEWS: Look at this. Here is Trump who rarely admits getting anything
wrong. This is true for even one of the most inane issues. Remember back in
2017 when Trump said the infamous late night “covfefe tweet” instead, we
admitting it was in the sake the word doesn`t exist. Here is how then Press
Secretary the great unforgettable Sean Spicer explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: “Do you think people should be concerned that the President
posted somewhat of an incoherent tweet last night and that it then stayed
up for hours?”
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No.
REPORTER: Why did it stay up so long? Is no one watching there?
SPICER: No, the President and a small group of people know exactly what he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: David, what are these - was it fraternity code, pigeon English,
whatever you call it, pig Latin. What kind of language was he talking?
JOLLY: The other topic here is the analogy, it`s not the scandal it`s the
cover-up right? In moments like this and this is very important with Donald
Trump. When we see him cover up and lie and trying to suggest, oh we all
know what “covfefe” meant. The American people see that, they`re smart
enough to know that this is a President who is doubling down on his
They see the defensiveness. The opportunity, I think, for Biden and any
other Democrat running, and to be fair, every single one of these Democrats
will make a gaffe at some point. We also get to evaluate how they handle
it. Your colleague Nicole Wallace yesterday talked about how Bush 43 leaned
in to some of his misstatement on statuary and other comments he made, made
light of them, made fun of himself.
I think the opportunity for somebody like Joe Biden because we know where
his heart is in contrast to Donald Trump, when he makes the comment about
poor kids and white kids, there is a leadership moment that he can embrace
and the American people will embrace him for to say you know what.
I did misspeak, and it actually was important. And here`s why and here is
how I want to clarify. On the simple gaffes, acknowledge them, make light
of them. What we see in Donald Trump is more obfuscating than lying and we
pick up on that on a very human level. This is a President with a thin skin
who is defensive. And the American people see that right away.
MATTHEWS: You know I love the way you talked about the “birther” thing,
because he was elaborate about it. He embroidered it. He talked about - he
had to detectives in Hawaii, a lie. And we`re picking up interesting stuff.
Not only did he accuse Barack Obama of coming into the country illegally,
sneaking in, but he said he didn`t have a real presence at the prestigious
schools he went to. Nobody knew him. What was he suggesting? He doesn`t
exist? He was very elaborate in these conspiracy theories.
JOLLY: They were lies.
EDWARDS: It was. And what you describe is something that is really true
of him. He takes these things and then he embraces these conspiracy
theories and then he puts them out there and then he says, oh, well,
somebody said, you know, as though to cast it off on someone else.
On this birtherism thing, I think it really connect – you have to connect
the dots between that and the Central Park Five and the recent statements
on Charlottesville and down the rest to connect this line where he`s saying
that, you know, somehow an African-American guy who claims he wants to be
president really couldn`t go to the good schools.
EDWARDS: He couldn`t get into the good schools. And by the way, we
haven`t even seen his grades. He went so far as to ask President Obama
like, where is your transcript?
MATTHEWS: You can believe he got in on affirmative action, didn`t deserve
these prestigious, or he didn`t go there, or nobody remembers him.
EDWARDS: Right. And so – but I do think we have to hold the president to
account when he lies. And it`s hard for somebody like me to even say the
word “lie” because where I grew up, you didn`t do that.
MATTHEWS: I don`t like (ph) it either.
EDWARDS: But you know, you got to call a liar when you see it.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Donna. You`re a gentle lady to still consider
the old rules of behavior. Thank you so much because I can like `em, too.
David Jolly, sir, thank you. I know you`re having a hard time with in
political party you used to be a member of.
Up next, Emmy Award-winning talk show host and former Republican Montel
Williams is out with a blistering op-ed column about the man he calls
inept, emotionally unstable and actually president.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
An opinion piece put out today on “USA Today”, Montel Williams has a stark
warning for America.
The former Republican and talk show host writes the president seems to have
gone off a narcissistic cliff with America facing a rising tide of white
nationalism and a world on fire we have a leader who is dangerously unfit,
makes everything about him, and takes advice on war and peace from cable
He notes: We wake up each morning to the president of the United States
live tweeting “Fox & Friends” and litigating a laundry list of personal
As protests flared in Hong Kong with the specter of another Tiananmen
Square looming large and America still reeling from three mass shootings in
a week, the president was busy tweeting conspiracy theories about a suicide
and waging a Twitter war with a former employee who is now a private
Williams adds: Tuesday, as the situation on Hong Kong continued to
deteriorate, the president predictably made the crisis about him.
Well, Montel Williams concludes: that is absurd, and we need to say so,
because the world is watching.
But Williams didn`t limit his criticism to just the president, and that`s
up next on HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
And that opinion piece in “USA Today”, Montel Williams had a strong message
for members of his former political party, Republicans.
He writes: My former party has spent the last few years covering for
President Trump`s incompetence, instead of telling the president his
behavior is unacceptable, even crazy. Republican leaders have chosen
ambition, hate, greed, fear, lies and winning their next election over
Williams continues: Because of my former party`s intransigence, we are
likely stuck with an inept, emotionally unstable president until the next
election in 2020. Who shows up to vote matters, so please treat voting
like your country`s future depends on it. A low turnout election will lead
to four more years of escalating chaos and depravity.
Well, I`m joined right now, the man himself, Montel Williams, former talk
show host and host of “Let`s Be Blunt”, the podcast.
Montel, what is it now? It`s August now, his second August as president –
his third August in national spotlight as the Republican leader. What gets
you now? What are you most afraid of this August of 2019?
MONTEL WILLIAMS, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: I`m afraid that`s what happening
as I said in my op-ed piece, have we reached a point now only two years in
where we just as a nation don`t care anymore. We`ve heard it. The din is
so loud, that every single day, the absurdity is so loud, you can`t each
pick which absurdity to focus in on.
And so, is it now we`ve gotten into his presidency for two years and people
are just fed up? They`re just done. They don`t care. And he`ll go away
in two years. That`s what they may think ah, don`t worry about it. It
will come back to normal maybe in six years.
What they don`t realize in six years, this country that we have all and
people like myself have put a uniform on and swore in Oval Office to
protect and serve may not be here anymore.
MATTHEWS: What oath do the Republicans take?
MATTHEWS: Because they`re very loyal to this guy. They`re loyal to a
higher oath. That`s to him. What`s that about?
WILLIAMS: I don`t understand that at all. They stood up when they
accepted their placement in office and said, I do solemnly swear or affirm
that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies foreign and domestic – yet they don`t recognize that
the domestic one is the one they`ve sworn the secondary oath to of
allegiance and that they will give unwavering support.
I mean, Chris, come on. Every single day, you a president of the United
States just like some of these Republicans. Take a look at Mitch McConnell
who made sure he made a deal to lift some of the sanctions against the
Russians who ensures that his state got a $200 million investment in an
aluminum factory because it`s all about money. How much money can I make
and give the perception that I`m making money for you when that money is
going right in their pocket.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you to help script a TV show. So, this is about like
“Veep” only in the case it`s not like “Veep” because it`s real. “Veep” was
a funny show.
This is a show about the president of the United States. So, here you have
the president of the United States who won in the Electoral College,
getting up every morning at 6:00, waiting for the newspaper to arrive.
This is what I hear goes on, sitting in a beautiful bedroom up top of the
The paper is delivered in paper, the actual “New York Times.” He reads it
and begins the country`s agenda by tweeting out his grievances. That`s
what he does.
WILLIAMS: Are you sure – are you sure he reads it or someone colors in,
putting a little stripe across a couple of lines –
MATTHEWS: I heard this from an insider to – I`m just saying, this is
based on the timing of when the people at “The Times”, for example, know
when his paper gets to him physically. And his meeting – his tweeting
begins like then. There`s –
WILLIAMS: Yes. When he gets a synopsis. When some other aide reads the
newspaper and reads the entire article, pulls out one or two little talking
points and hands it to him, then he responds by doing things, like, come
on, this president of the United States is selling t-shirts to make fun of
Chris Cuomo. But using a derogatory phrase – and that is what a lot of
people in this country don`t understand right now, we look at what we
perceive as racist comments coming from the president, we think that
they`re only going to be directed at brown people.
WILLIAMS: But let`s remember, Chris, go back in time. Remember, this
country for a period of time, we fought riots in the streets because we
didn`t like Polish people.
WILLIAMS: We fought riots in the streets because we didn`t like Italians.
We fought riots in the streets because we didn`t like Croatians. We don`t
like anybody that we claim is different from us.
And so, now, we`ve got the president of the United States selling t-shirts,
really disparaging Italian-Americans by using a term “Fredo”. Come on.
MATTHEWS: Well, by the way, you know your history because in Philly, back
in the last century, they built our cathedral, the Cathedral of Saints Paul
– Peter and Paul, no street level windows –
MATTHEWS: – because they didn`t want the Protestants throwing the rocks
through the windows. I mean, that was how bad it was back then.
WILLIAMS: How about some more history, Chris? You know, look, I mean,
what, a week ago, the president was disparaging my hometown, which is
Baltimore, Maryland. But let`s also remember that there was at one point
in time, Baltimore was the capital of the United States. And Baltimore
also was one of probably the most instrumental states – or cities in this
country that helped build our infrastructure the way it did when we had
Bethlehem Steel. We had McCormick. We had all these other business
there`s that left the city and left the jobless rate as high as it is.
So, he was disparaging the city that was probably one of the greatest
cities this country ever had.
MATTHEWS: Baltimore also had the political conventions for years.
Anyway, thank you, Montel Williams.
WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.
MATTEHWS: It`s great to hear your voice.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I believe your stuff.
Up next, how Speaker Pelosi is trying to save the peace in Northern Ireland
as Brexit threatens it.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: I grew up in a family with Irish on both sides. My mother`s
family was made up with the Shields, the Conroys, the Quinlans. They were
Irish-Catholic to the core. My father`s mother, on the other hand, was a
Protestant who emigrated here from Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the two
families melded into one, and that one was comprised of my four brothers
Well, you might say we`re an early personification of the Good Friday
agreement of 1998 which I was happy to cover for my old newspaper, `The San
Francisco Examiner”. There are the headlines.
What I love, of course, was being who I am is how Good Friday brought peace
between the two sides, Catholic and Protestant, nationalist and unionist,
and an agreement to sharing governing Northern Ireland and to solve their
differences peaceably. What I loved most was the end to the troubles, the
violence that had plagued the North for years.
Well, today there is a risk, Brexit. The British Exit from the European
Union threatens to reestablish a border between Northern Ireland and the
Republic of Ireland, putting up that hard border places imperil the peace
that`s endured these 21 years.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday said the United States will not agree
to any U.S. trade deal with the U.K. if it brings back that hard border.
I`m glad to see her out there making this position clear as hell. We
Americans believe in the promise of Good Friday.
That`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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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