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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 07/20/15

Guests: Kathleen Parker, Barry McCaffrey, David Corn, Dorian Warren, AnneGearan, Jonathan Allen

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Can nothing stop him, not even this? Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. So let`s get this straight. There are no heroes in Arlington Cemetery because they didn`t dodge the bullet or the artillery shell or the torpedo. There are never any heroes in POW camps because winners like Donald Trump don`t get captured. Those bomber pilots who get shot down over enemy territory aren`t heroes because they shouldn`t have gotten shot down in the first place. John McCain isn`t a hero for withstanding torture for five years, for refusing to accept release until it was honorable. Well, is this what Donald Trump meant to say, or is it -- if it`s not, he should have (ph) meant something else, or does he really think the Hanoi Hilton was some Vietnam three-star with TV, air-conditioning and outdoor pool and more than decent room service? Well, here`s something I`m proud to show you. Here`s John McCain himself talking about the time he spent as a prisoner of war when he joined me on HARDBALL during the "College Tour" back in 1999. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The real privilege of my life was not that dark moment. The real privilege of my life was to have the opportunity and the privilege of serving in the company of heroes. The reason why I made it was because of the encouragement, the help, the love and compassion of the men that I was imprisoned with. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: We`ll have more of that coming up. Howard Fineman`s the global editorial director with the HuffingtonPost. Kathleen Parker`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The Washington Post." And Joy Reid is national correspondent -- there she is up in New York -- with MSNBC. Anyway, Mr. Trump has lapped the field on the Republican race for the nomination. According to a new today "Washington Post"/ABC News poll released late today, Trump has surged into the lead in this contest with 24 percent, nearly twice as much as his nearest rival, Scott Walker, who`s down at 13 percent. And Jeb Bush is further down. It`s the biggest lead of any candidate this year in the polling. And here`s the rub. The poll was taken mostly before Trump`s comments on Saturday about McCain, and the pollsters note that his support fell sharply on the one night when voters were surveyed after his remarks. Anyway, Howard, what do you make of that? If you think that`s -- has he crested because of this comment about McCain not really being a war hero? HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if he has, it`s not -- it`s not just because of the substance of his remarks about -- about -- about McCain. I was with McCain in Hanoi the year after that interview, and I... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: I was in Hanoi with John McCain. I watched him go into that room, in that cell. And anybody who had seen that would never have made the comment that Donald Trump made. But it`s not the substance of that. I think it`s the notion that he`s somehow a little unhinged. Until now, it`s been he`s sort of crazy like a fox, saying all kinds of provocative things, getting support of people who are alienated from the political system, who are worried about immigration, people sort of taking him seriously in that regard. This thing makes you wonder if he`s not a little unhinged... MATTHEWS: Yes.   FINEMAN: ... and that -- if he is cresting, that will be the reason, not necessarily the substance of his remarks. And naturally, John McCain took the high road, never claimed, by the way, that he was a hero. MATTHEWS: Following up with that a bit, if he is unhinged, should he be president? FINEMAN: Well, that`s the obvious question. (LAUGHTER) FINEMAN: And no less an authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page... MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: ... joined with us at the HuffingtonPost... MATTHEWS: There`s a little (INAUDIBLE) FINEMAN: Well, yes -- in saying that he should not be taken seriously. And when you have "The Wall Street Journal" edit page and the HuffingtonPost agreeing on something, I think you got a story. MATTHEWS: Yes, I -- I hear the old phase, Kathleen, about if you leave a monkey at a typewriter long enough, he`ll eventually type "Merry Christmas." (LAUGHTER)   MATTHEWS: I think -- I think he was -- I think he was onto something here. And now he doesn`t realize, being somewhat less smart than he seems, he didn`t know that he was onto something. He was onto getting the -- getting the working class guy who... KATHLEEN PARKER, "WASHINGTON POST": No, I think the... MATTHEWS: ... who doesn`t like the establishment. Now he`s doing this thing. PARKER: I don`t think it`s going to hurt him. I really don`t. MATTHEWS: OK, well, tell me how attacking guys who`ve served their country... PARKER: Well, it`s... MATTHEWS: ... when he hadn`t... PARKER: Look, it`s reprehensible what he said, and it`s offensive to anyone and everyone who`s had any part in the military. Everyone who joins the military is a hero... MATTHEWS: You know he`s going to get you for that... PARKER: ... because they`re willing... MATTHEWS: He`s going to get you for that word, by the way.   PARKER: I don`t... MATTHEWS: The high-falutin` media says I`m reprehensible! PARKER: Oh, well. (CROSSTALK) PARKER: That was as nice as I could put it, OK? So now -- listen, Rush Limbaugh is already on this. MATTHEWS: Oh, we`ll get to that quote. PARKER: Oh, yes, well, OK, I`m sorry, I`m jumping ahead on you. But he -- you know, basically saying, Look, they`re always trying to get us, those establishment people, and they tried to get me a few times. And he actually sort of brags about the time that he made fun of Michael J. Fox and the Sandra Fluke remarks that were so offensive, basically calling her a slut, as you recall... MATTHEWS: What did he say about Michael J. Fox? PARKER: Oh, he put -- he put on that he was sort of -- he said that Michael J. Fox was sort of exaggerating Parkinson`s symptoms... MATTHEWS: Yes. PARKER: ... and -- he -- Rush Limbaugh made -- you know, pretended like he had Parkinson`s. It was horrible. So he was basically saying, Look, they thought they got me on that, and I`m still going strong. They think they`re going to get Trump. He`s still going strong. It`ll be fine.   And you know, even someone like -- well, I guess, Herman Cain had to do something to get back in the news, Mr. 999. But he went to -- he`s also come to Trump`s defense and said, Look, it`s all this establishment elite nonsense. I don`t think it`s going to hurt him. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s what set off Trump. John McCain said that Trump was firing up the crazies at a rally out in Arizona which drew thousands of Trump supporters. In response, Trump went after McCain`s military service at a summit in Iowa over this weekend moderated by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. And then all hell broke lose. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frank, Frank, let me get to it! He hit me... FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: He`s a war hero. TRUMP: He`s not a war hero. LUNTZ: He`s a war hero. TRUMP: He`s a war hero... LUNTZ: Five-and-a-half years... TRUMP: He`s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren`t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. (LAUGHTER)   LUNTZ: Do you agree with that? TRUMP: He`s a war hero because he was captured, OK? QUESTION: Why would you say you like people who don`t get captured? It`s a simple question. (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Oh, I do? Why? The people that don`t get captured, I`m not supposed to like? QUESTION: Are you suggesting that John McCain did something to lead to his capture? TRUMP: Of course not. How could you think that? QUESTION: That`s what you said. (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Go back to being -- go back to being a pundit. (CROSSTALK)   TRUMP: Let me explain something. And when John McCain calls 15,000 people that showed up in Phoenix, Arizona, to talk about illegal immigration -- he calls them a bunch of crazies -- he`s doing a great disservice to this country. I`m not -- no, no. John McCain picked a fight with me. He said that 15,000 people were crazies. MATT LAUER, "TODAY" CO-HOST: He`s not a war hero. He`s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren`t captured. Would you say that to John McCain`s face? TRUMP: No. And then if you go on, Matt -- see, that`s what you don`t do... LAUER: No, no. I said I`m using one exchange. TRUMP: Excuse me! Excuse me, Matt, because you`re the media and you do the same thing. The next sentence was, He is a war hero. I said that, but they never want to play it, and you don`t want to play it. LAUER: Let me say for the record, we did run the other part of your comments, Mr. Trump. We did run the part where you said he is a war hero. So please -- please don`t say that we didn`t because we did. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: The fact is, we just did, as well. I want to go to Joy... PARKER: Well, at the very... MATTHEWS: Go ahead.   PARKER: At the very end, he says, Well, maybe -- I think he maybe is a war hero. But I think, probably, he was watching the expressions of people in the audience who were going, Oh, my gosh, you can`t say something like that. And he wanted to quickly... MATTHEWS: Yes. Joy... PARKER: ... add something... MATTHEWS: Joy, let me ask you about this thing. I think it goes out to the very people that he has been courting, accidentally or on purpose, you know, working people, very patriotic people, worried about their country not really being protected anymore, whether it`s immigration or it`s something else. I think he took a direct shot at them in this regard because they do value the MIA, the POW. This went on in this country, as you and I know -- you`re younger than me -- for 30 or 40 years, there`s been an anger among working people in this country, guys with motorcycles, whatever, you know, they drove around and they talked about this over -- and you go down to the Vietnam Memorial right now, I`ll be you there`s MIA/POW guys down there obsessed with the fact we left some people behind. And now he is making fun of a guy that was a POW. I don`t get why you`d go directly at your own base politically. I don`t get it. JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, Chris? And I rarely -- you and I agree on a lot, but on this, I have to say I`m with Kathleen on this one because I don`t see the evidence that this is going to hurt. John McCain -- with those same people you talk about, Chris, if they are part of the Republican Party base... MATTHEWS: Well, it hurts him with me! REID: Well, I hear you. But here`s the thing... MATTHEWS: This is a complete political analysis. I don`t think you should make fun of guys... REID: I agree.   MATTHEWS: ... -who served the country and suffered for it! I don`t think the end justifies the means! REID: I totally agree. MATTHEWS: If he gets a couple votes out of it, the hell of it. REID: And look, as somebody who grew up in Colorado -- my brother was in the Army National Guard. I grew up in the shadow of Lowry (ph) Air Force Base, total respect for the military. I get that it`s going to hurt him with people like you and me, but that`s not who the Republican base is. MATTHEWS: I don`t know. REID: And having Donald Trump lectured by the media, by "The Wall Street Journal" or by the Republican National Committee or even by our very own Matt Lauer -- that`s not going to hurt him with the Republican base because you know what they don`t like? They don`t like John McCain. They don`t like him. They never did. He was pushed on them... MATTHEWS: Because? REID: ... by the establishment -- because he is the establishment to a lot of people in the Republican base. They never wanted him when he was the nominee. He was pushed on them, as was Mitt Romney, by the same people who are lecturing Donald Trump, "The Wall Street Journal," et cetera. So Donald Trump I think understands the base of that party better than The Wall Street Journal does and better than John McCain does. MATTHEWS: OK...   REID: And so at the moment, he`s firing up the red-hots, as you call them, because they like the way he`s talking. And by the way, this is the same base that laughed -- laughed! -- at John Kerry`s Vietnam service, laughed at his Purple Heart, put on Purple Heart stickers to make fun of and belittle his Vietnam service. So they`re not even consistent on that. MATTHEWS: Not even -- I don`t think they are. Anyway, as I mentioned, Rush Limbaugh`s out there defending Trump, and here`s some of what Rushbo had to say today on the radio. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, trump can survive this. Trump is surviving this! You know, this is a great, great teachable moment here. People make the mistake of assuming one thing, and that is this. They make the mistake in assuming that the collective outrage of the Washington establishment and the media is reflective of American public opinion. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Who buys that? You know -- anyway, I`ll stick to my point, and I`ll disagree with Joy. I think the people respect this country, respect its military, respect the guys who enlisted men, the grunts that get killed, and unfortunately, not many were captured in Vietnam, they were killed in the jungle. FINEMAN: Can I just say that Rush Limbaugh`s approval doesn`t prove that Donald Trump can get anywhere near the Republican nomination. As popular as Rush Limbaugh is, he`s a niche character in the landscape of the media. You can argue that the so-called mainstream media is, too, but if you look at the polls, Donald Trump has been polling a lot of support from people who call themselves moderate Republicans... MATTHEWS: Yes, you said that the other day... FINEMAN: ... moderate Republicans. And so you know, if he looks unhinged, and that`s what I think this remark does, that`s going to give some pause to whatever growth he was going to have from here on in.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s a Howard Beale thing going on here Joy? REID: I think -- I mean... MATTHEWS: Is this Howard Beale? REID: My question is -- yes... MATTHEWS: I`m sick and tired and I`m not going to take it anymore? And he`s going to... REID: I think that people -- absolutely. I think that part of the Republican base that feels that they`ve been pushed around, including by their own party, by the Mitch McConnells who cut deals in Washington, by the Reince Priebuses who tell them that they`re not good enough because of the -- they need to be nicer to ethnic groups that don`t want to be nicer to. And they like the visceral feeling of having Donald Trump just tell everybody... FINEMAN: But that`s not the... REID: ... give everybody the business. And by the way... FINEMAN: But that...   MATTHEWS: ... (INAUDIBLE) really quickly -- is Rush Limbaugh a niche character to the Iowa Republican caucus goer? I don`t know about that. The base, the hard-core Archie Bunker base, that part of the party... FINEMAN: Well, that`s not... REID: ... is the part that votes in primaries. FINEMAN: Yes, but... MATTHEWS: They like what Trump is saying. FINEMAN: But Joy, I`m not convinced those are all of who Trump`s supporters are right now. I don`t think it`s the hard-core Tea Party necessarily. If you look at the polling shows, I don`t think that`s necessarily the case. They`re more ideological. It`s not that Trump is so ideological, it`s that he`s a name-caller in all directions. That appeals to people who are less political, not the hard-core ideologues. And that`s my question. They look at the character of somebody. His character is interesting and exciting, but does he go over the line with something like this? (CROSSTALK) PARKER: Trump isn`t even a Republican. (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: That`s what I`m saying.   PARKER: I don`t think for one minute that he is going... FINEMAN: Right. PARKER: ... to get the nomination. (CROSSTALK) PARKER: You know, we have to also... FINEMAN: My point. PARKER: ... consider the entertainment value. (CROSSTALK) PARKER: ... are enjoying it. You know, Let`s see what he says next. MATTHEWS: Along with the entertainment is memory because if you asked everybody watched this show right now to get out a piece of paper and list the strong statements made by all the other candidates for the last six months going into Iowa, the first contest, they couldn`t. But they can tell you two things candidates have said, the two things Trump has said. He doesn`t like Hispanic immigrants and he thinks John McCain`s not a hero. FINEMAN: Scott Walker...   MATTHEWS: That`s all they know! PARKER: Right. FINEMAN: Scott Walker`s the only one who`s busted through the Trump machine by saying he wants to consider, you know, bombing Iran on day one, if he gets elected president. MATTHEWS: It would be his first bombing (INAUDIBLE) PARKER: Oh, well. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, here`s how McCain responded to Trump`s comments earlier today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Does Donald Trump owe you an apology? MCCAIN: No, I don`t think so. I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving their country, those who were my senior ranking officers, people like Colonel Doug Day (ph), Congressional Medal of Honor winner, those that inspired us to do things that we otherwise wouldn`t have been capable of doing. Those are the people that I think he owes an apology to. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: First thing we`re going to do when we come back, by the way, is show you John McCain, the full statement he made back in 1999 on our "College Tour," a spectacular statement about what went on in those -- in those years he spent as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, when he was being tortured. Come back to watch that. And I want to thank Howard, as always, my friend, Howard Fineman and Kathleen Parker, my friend, and Joy Reid, my friend, up in New York. PARKER: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Coming up -- Veterans react to Donald Trump`s attack on John McCain, and McCain says Trump, as you just heard, doesn`t owe him an apology, but he should apologize to America`s veterans, experience those who were held prisoner while serving their country. And later on with the "Roundtable," we`re going to try to imagine what life would be like if Trump -- catch this -- were actually president. How would all the bluster fly in the -- imagine? That`s a "Saturday Night Live" right there. Plus, President Obama`s hard sell on the Iran nuclear deal. Can he get Democrats to get behind the bargain he made with Tehran? Finally, "Let Me Finish" with Donald Trump and the people he wants to vote for him. And I know who they are. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, after more than five decades, the United States and Cuba have now restored full diplomatic relations. The Cuban flag was raised today at the country`s embassy in Washington, in this town. In Havana, the American embassy opened, as well. The U.S. flag will be raised there when the secretary of state himself, John Kerry, travels to the country on August 14th. So far, the president has not yet nominated anyone to be the American ambassador to Cuba.   And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Back in February of 2000, I asked Senator John McCain about his service and his time as a prisoner in Vietnam. I began by playing him an excerpt from his book, "Faith of Our Fathers," in which he talks about some of his darkest moments. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) MCCAIN: "Weakened by beatings and dysentery, and with my right leg again nearly useless, I found it almost impossible to stand. On the third night, I lay in my own blood and waste, so tired and hurt that I could not move. Despairing of any relief from pain and further torture and fearing the close approach of my moment of dishonor, I tried to take my life. I doubt I really intended to kill myself, but I couldn`t fight anymore. And I remember deciding that the last thing I could do to make them believe I was still resisting, that I wouldn`t break, was to attempt suicide." (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And we`re back with Senator John McCain. What`s that tell you about this campaign and your country and... MCCAIN: Well, you know, I hadn`t listened to that in a long time. It always puts things in perspective. But I think it`s important to point out, because a lot of people have not read that book, that the real privilege of my life was not that dark moment. The real privilege of my life was to have the opportunity and the privilege of serving in the company of heroes. The reason why I made it was because of the encouragement, the help, the love and compassion of the men that I was in prison with.   (END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: We`re joined right now by General Barry McCaffrey, a military officer with four combat tours, including two in Vietnam. He himself was wounded in action three times. Also joining us is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and an MSNBC political analyst. Gentlemen, thank you for coming here with a different perspective. Yours is that of a warrior. GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.), NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, listening to Trump`s comments, hard to know whether he`s just being outrageous for political impact or a buffoon. Meanwhile, he was nursing a bone spur in his heel staying out of Vietnam. McCain was flying off a Navy carrier into the most heavily defended target on the face of the earth and then enduring five years of mystery. So, McCain is a hero to those of us in uniform. And... MATTHEWS: And the thing I think most people like to point out who know what they are talking about, unlike Trump, is that he could have gotten out earlier. MCCAFFREY: Oh, yes, simply one of the most incredible, iconic acts of courage that I personally know of, to decline the opportunity to get out of Vietnam. Nobody would have ever held it against him. MATTHEWS: Because his father was head of the whole... MCCAFFREY: Yes, and he said, no, the rule is the first in, first out, and he refused to go and endured more years of misery and dejection. So, McCain, again, to those of us in uniform is an absolute hero. And I might add his life of public service is also an example of an honorable way to serve the country.   MATTHEWS: General, thank you. We will be back to you. David, I mean, you and I didn`t serve in the military. And I -- my belief is that the way that morally people like me have to live is to pay great reverence to those who did who were in the fighting, not just in uniform, but in the fighting, and certainly guys like McCain. The only way you can live with yourself is to throw total respect. I don`t understand why any human being who didn`t serve who was of military age and didn`t serve, for whatever reason, the bone spur or whatever, C.O. or whatever, would ever question the heroism of those who did. You lay off that subject. DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think when Donald Trump gets a head of steam, he just keeps on going. And he was ticked off at John McCain for referring to his followers as -- people at the rallies as crazies. And he struck back in kind. And I think with him... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He`s never used language like crazies. CORN: Of course he has. But the rules of engagement, political discourse don`t seem to apply to him. And I don`t -- and I fear that it`s not going to have much of an impact. I agree with what Joy Reid said earlier. I think the people he is speaking to, you know, are going to say, go on, get attacked by the media, you go up against John McCain, who they don`t like much because of politics, not because of the war record, that`s fine. And this party, the Republican Party is used to what we, you and I have derisively called chicken hawks, nominating people or giving people a high position who did not serve in the military when they had a chance whether it was Dick Cheney or George Bush going into the Air National Guard and getting out early, that whole story, but who are very hawkish about sending other people off to war.   And so the fact that Donald Trump didn`t go to war, didn`t have a bone -- had a bone spur, but now is talking tough about the rest of the world, let alone about John McCain, I don`t think that troubles a lot of Republican voters, sadly. MCCAFFREY: Yes, but I would offer it`s going to do him damage. One of the last slides I use on every lecture I give to a civilian audience is -- shows the degree of trust the country has for various institutions of their government. The most trusted institution in American society is the armed forces, for good reason. Their sons and daughters write home and say the sergeants in this outfit, the petty officers are people of honor and courage and integrity. So, I think that kind of comment is not just outrageous, but also politically lethal to him. It should be. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Just a point of history about POWs in the Vietnam War. Most of these men -- they were men -- who were captured were flyers. They were on bombing missions. They got shot down, and as you pointed out, one of the most heavily guarded targets in the world ever. The guys who were fighting in the jungle, they weren`t taken prisoner. They were killed, right? MCCAFFREY: Well, we had some prisons in the south. And that`s another appalling story. MATTHEWS: Did they take prisoners? MCCAFFREY: Absolutely, yes. We had Marines and soldiers. MATTHEWS: Did they get out in the end? MCCAFFREY: Well, some of them -- most of them died actually in the south. They were tortured to death or died of malnutrition or just abject mystery.   But, again, back to the notion -- the people flying against those targets up north, mostly Air Force, Navy, Marines, were the elite people in our armed forces. Just to qualify as a Navy carrier pilot is an act of courage in and of itself. So McCain was a volunteer, 23 combat missions. His performance under stress in the Hanoi Hilton was remarkable. I think Trump has made a huge slanderous comment that affects a lot of people. MATTHEWS: I didn`t like his religious comments either. MCCAFFREY: No. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m Roman Catholic, as everybody knows, I think, and I don`t like the comment. He`s Episcopalian. I don`t understand people who talk like that about their religion. It was terrible. CORN: He`s going to keep popping off. MATTHEWS: Anyway, on Saturday, Trump -- Mr. Trump, he explained his own circumstances back in the late `60s that kept him out of the war. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had student deferments, like many other people had during the war or around the time of the war. I had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor. I was then entered into the draft, because, if I would have gotten a different number, I could have been drafted. I was fortunate, in a sense, because I was not a believer in the Vietnam War. That was another war that was a disaster for this country.   (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, today, Senator McCain asked if Trump`s lack of service made his comments worse. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What about Donald Trump, though? Are you not resentful that a guy that didn`t serve in Vietnam is criticizing someone like yourself, who still is paying the price day in and day out for what you did and what you endured while in prison camp? SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Joe, I have put all that behind me. For me to look back in anger at anyone is nonproductive. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go through this because, politically -- and that`s what we cover, is the politics. Do you believe -- I believe that the kind of people, the regular people that Trump was appealing to, they weren`t all red hot crazy Tea Party people. They were people that loved the country and that think it`s been betrayed in a sense by the leadership, the elite in this country. MCCAFFREY: Sure. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Hasn`t looked out for the budget. Hasn`t looked out for the border. And they`re so tired of the elite not looking out for the country. And a lot of those guys out there are going to look at this and say, why is he making fun of one of us? MCCAFFREY: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: I would think. MCCAFFREY: Look, there is 2.5 million people in the Department of Defense and who have all got families. And there is probably some better part of 16 million veterans and they got families. So, I think that kind of outrageous comment about a Navy attack carrier pilot has got to do him harm. I hope it does, because it`s a shameful way to conduct yourself in public life. MATTHEWS: Well, I`ll tell you one thing. We`re flying combat missions right now over ISIS. CORN: Yes. MATTHEWS: And I talked to one of those pilots this weekend. I got to tell you something. They want to know we`re behind them 100 percent. MCCAFFREY: Yes.   MATTHEWS: A hundred percent, not, well, you`re not really a hero if you get shot down, because that`s going to happen. We`re going to lose guys. (CROSSTALK) CORN: Yes. My fear is that, in the next day or two, a week, Donald Trump will get out there and start saying, I`m the only guy who wants to build a wall for $2 billion. I`m going to invade Mexico. I will take on China. And all that talk will get to 20 percent of the GOP base. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You know what walls lead to? You know what walls lead to? CORN: What? MATTHEWS: You know what walls lead to? MATTHEWS: Tunnels. CORN: Tunnels and ladders. MATTHEWS: Thank you. General McCaffrey, thank you for coming on.   MCCAFFREY: Yes, good to be with you. MATTHEWS: And, David Corn, thank you. Up next, car service Uber -- get the umlaut in there -- challenges to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Big Bird, to a debate, only to get turned down. Can the fast-growing startup leverage its huge popularity among millennials especially against big city politicians? Good debate. That debate is coming up here in a minute. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. There is a new public policy debate bubbling up this election cycle and it`s over Uber, the ultra-popular ride-sharing service. Republican candidates love Uber`s government-free business approach. Democratic candidates praise Uber`s innovation, but are concerned about a lack of worker and consumer protection, just like with the trade bill. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is going to war with Uber. He`s pushing new regulations to cap the rising number of Uber drivers in the city. Uber says the mayor is in the pocket of the taxi industry. Anyway, BuzzFeed`s Ben Smith writes de Blasio is walking into a political buzz saw. "Uber has endless cash, real panic about getting capped in its biggest market and every incentive to make an example of the high-profile New York mayor." Anyway, the campaign is being run by David Plouffe, who once pulled off the rather impressive feat of persuading Democrats to hate the Clintons. Well, last week, Uber mocked the mayor with a de Blasio feature on their app which warns customers of a 25-minute wait time -- wait times in an effort to rally users against City Hall in New York. Now Uber has launched a multimillion-dollar ad blitz attacking Mayor de Blasio and extending it through August.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, UBER AD) NARRATOR: You need to get to the night shift in the South Bronx get your baby to the doctor in Jamaica, Queens, and get to the airport from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. And while taxis often refuse people in minority neighborhoods, Uber is there, taking more people to and from communities outside Manhattan than anyone. But Mayor de Blasio is pushing the agenda of his big taxi donor to limit Uber cars and drivers and vital service for thousands of New Yorkers may vanish. Tell Mayor de Blasio don`t strand New York. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. don`t strand New York. MATTHEWS: Dorian Warren is an MSNBC contributor. And Ben Smith is editor in chief of BuzzFeed. Dorian, I would think that the millennium -- millennials, the people I know, young people, including my kids, love Uber. DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. MATTHEWS: And I don`t know who would naturally dislike it unless they had sort of an interest or something. Is there a philosophical reason or ideological reason why someone would oppose this sort of wide-open, almost cowboy-style business? WARREN: Well, there`s two aspects of this, Chris.   Right, your kids, many of millennials and just regular folks like Uber from the consumer side, right? It`s an innovation into what we call the on-demand economy, the sharing economy that provides a service that`s easily accessible, especially for the millennial generation. But there is also the employee worker side of things. And I think that is where people are starting to raise a lot of concerns, particularly Democratic politicians. What are the nature of the employment protections for those that are classified as independent contractors and not employees? In a sense, we have a 20th century set of laws and labor regulations that are mismatched to a 21st century economy that Uber represents. And I think that`s the big challenge that Uber and many other companies -- it`s not just Uber, by the way -- are facing right now. MATTHEWS: Ben, it seems to me if de Blasio, who is pretty popular, is able to shut down Uber in New York, he is not going to be as popular afterwards. BEN SMITH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, BUZZFEED: Yes, it`s a tough thing. There is not a lot odd there isn`t a big constituency, other than people who own taxi medallions, for hating Uber. De Blasio is trying to make it about the larger ideological issues that Dorian was talking about there. Uber going just straight for the jugular, trying to make it about race, this being New York politics, just like skip all the -- skip all the steps on the way to that. MATTHEWS: How is it about -- I don`t think I will let you get past that. How is it about race? SMITH: That`s a good question. But you look at that Uber ad and one -- obviously, one of the historic knocks on the yellow cab industry is they won`t pick up black people and they won`t go to the outer boroughs. MATTHEWS: Oh. SMITH: And so de Blasio finds himself defending a service... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: OK, look, I had an African-American fellow my age stand in front of me at a cab line at La Guardia one time years ago. And he asked me if I would stand out in front, so he could get the cab. In other words, I stood there as a show and then he could then grab the cab, because they weren`t stopping for him. He`s a well-dressed guy. They must have been afraid he was going to a neighborhood they didn`t think they could get a ride back from. Or -- I have heard the arguments. You don`t get a ride back from, a fare from, or it`s a dangerous neighborhood, or -- I don`t think in this case -- you`re afraid the guy is going to split. I mean, so how does Uber not avoid that reputation? Is Uber a good place to get a ride if you`re a minority? Will they pick you up in Harlem? Will they pick you up in tougher neighborhoods? SMITH: I think that is not like centrally what this particular fight is about. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But you just brought it up. SMITH: No, no, I was referring to the ad you guys just played. This has become Uber`s talking point. It`s definitely an absolutely real thing for them and an advantage they have, but it`s also just a sign of how -- kind of how intense this political fight is about to get. MATTHEWS: Yes. OK. Let me go back -- let me go back to Dorian. Is going to be a fight that is going to have a resolution? Well, there be a decree or a city ordinance that says you have to have a medallion -- and the medallions are like $800,000 -- a cab medallion in order to pick up rides? WARREN: Well, we don`t know yet, right? The de Blasio administration is proposing a study through 2016 to establishment and make some recommendations about how this industry should be regulated. There are thousands of Uber drivers on the streets now. So, it`s not as if they are going away. It`s just limiting the number of new Uber drivers, and not just Uber, by the way. It`s also the other ride- sharing services like Lyft, that can come on the streets of New York City.   But this is the issue, right? It`s slowing the growth of Uber and Lyft and these companies, which they are upset about from a business perspective. There are legitimate -- by the way, de Blasio could be right and wrong at the same time, right? There are legitimate environmental concerns, congestion concerns. MATTHEWS: Yes. WARREN: And, by the way, to go back to Ben`s point, I would imagine most working-class, working families, folks that are of color probably use public transportation, MTA, because Uber and taxis together are probably outside of the price range of many working-class families of color in this city. MATTHEWS: What is going to survive longer, the horses in Central Park or Uber? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Dorian, you first. WARREN: Uber will survive much longer than the horses in Central Park. MATTHEWS: Ben, who survives the longest, the horses or Uber? SMITH: My money is on Uber. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much. I think they are both going to survive.   Anyway, up next, selling the deal -- President Obama rallies key Democrats to support the nuclear deal with Iran. Can he muster a veto- proof minority? That`s all he needs is 34 -- you`re watching -- 34 senators. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama faces an uphill battle to get Congress to approve his nuclear deal with Iran, pivotal to securing the votes necessary for it to pass is to win approval in the Senate with some key Democrats, including many of the normally reliable supporters of the president`s. But senators like Kirsten Gillibrand and Ben Cardin of Maryland, Cory Booker of Jersey and Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Bill Nelson down in Florida under pressure from Israeli supporters to vote against the agreement. You`re going to see the ads, by the way, on this network against the agreement. Another one of those key senators the president is looking for is Chuck Schumer, who I always watch as a leader where this country is going, the presumed successor to Harry Reid as the new Democratic leader. He says he won`t be afraid to vote against the deal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I`m going to spend a lot of time thinking about it, learning about it and then I`ll just do the right thing and not going to let party or pressure or anything else, what`s good for America first and foremost, and what`s good for Israel, which, of course, I care a lot about. There are times when I`ve broken with the president before when I really think that I have a different point of view and the right thing is not what he`s doing. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: That`s going to be another tough fight for President Obama. And joining me right now is the round table, Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post", Vox chief political reporter, Jonathan Allen, and Michelle Bernard, columnist for the 74, and the president of the Bernard Center for women. OK. Let me go to you, Anne. You covered this stuff. The president to win has to over ride a veto, probably. Can he do that? I mean, prevent an over ride of a veto? ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: It looks like he will be able to. MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s 34 Democrats out of 36. GEARAN: Right. But as you said in the introduction, this is going to be an uphill battle. It`s going to be a tough for the White House, but most of the vote counting that I`ve seen says yes, he can muster enough Democratic support to get it through, maybe eke it through but get it through. MATTHEWS: Tough fight. JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX CHIEF POLITICAL REPORTER: It is a tough fight. MATTHEWS: AIPAC, American-Israeli Political Action Committee, going to drop a ton of money. A lot of people in Jewish community and elsewhere are nervous about an existential threat coming from a bomb in the hands of Iran, reasonable thing to be worried about. Go ahead.   ALLEN: I would just say that the deal itself is evidence that AIPAC influence is waning some. I can`t imagine a president having cut this deal four years ago, eight years ago, ten years ago. But -- MATTHEWS: Do you think Bibi made a mistake of looking too Republican, too partisan? ALLEN: Oh, yes. MATTHEWS: I think it helped marginalized, now if he wins, he`s a big winner anyway. But right now, I think he`s allowed himself to be marginalized by his own partisan pro-Republican behavior. He shouldn`t be picking sides in our fights. ALLEN: He gave the president an excuse to do what I think the president wanted to do already, made it a little easier for him, particularly in the Democratic Party. I talked to -- MATTHEWS: What happens with Isaac Herzog, the opposition leader, shows up over here and opposes the deal? GEARAN: Well, exactly. This actually gives Netanyahu less leverage now than he might have otherwise and -- MATTHEWS: Yes, but he`s opposed to the deal. GEARAN: Right. Who`s going to listen to him? I mean, he has already said his peace and it didn`t work. So, what`s he going to say now? He really doesn`t have a lot of -- MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. I`m trying to make the point if both sides of the political argument in Israel are opposed to this deal, does that croak the deal here? GEARAN: No, not necessarily. I mean, I think Herzog definitely has some leverage here than Netanyahu might not.   MATTHEWS: Here is a number that`s going to mean something but not a lot. By a margin, a large margin, the majority of the American people approve the Iran nuclear clear deal, 56 support it, only 37 percent opposed it. Fifty-six and 37 is a rare amount of firepower. But it`s not among people that care a lot, right? It`s generally. It`s very skeptical out there will it work. Look at this -- only 35 percent of those polled believe the agreement will actually prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while 64 percent are not confident it will be a deterrent, Michelle. This happens a lot in polls. MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: I mean -- that happens a lot in polls, but quite frankly, we`re talking about Iran, everyone has -- it is reasonable to be fearful that they are going to be deceptive again, even in the president`s remarks last week, he said, if this works, that`s the big question with Iran. It might not work. And, you know, from what I`m read and people are saying that this whole thing about being able to do surprise inspections, it`s porous. The way that the protocols have been set up, they could have three weeks notice to do -- MATTHEWS: So you think people really believe they can build a nuclear weapon without us knowing it? BERNARD: Yes, absolutely. MATTHEWS: I don`t think they can. I don`t believe that. GEARAN: Not for awhile. I mean, one of the -- one of the -- MATTHEWS: Our technology is pretty darn good. GEARAN: And proponents of this deal all along is said one advantage is it would prolong the day when this is the true moment, absolute, in the moment existential threat.   BERNARD: And also, the bottom line, because I think from the public`s perspective is, if we don`t do the deal, what`s the alternative? What are we going to do? Go to war? MATTHEWS: My question, my arithmetic is simple. If you bomb the hell out of them, I mean, really bomb the hell of them, the president said every bomb we got, every bunker buster we ever had, blow them up, it`s still three years back at it again. At least this is ten years, none of it is more than a compromise. Anyway, there`s been a lobbying by pro-Israeli groups on both sides of the Iran deal. Most Republicans are locked step with one another against the agreement, including leadership at the House and Senate. The fight is for Democrats to avoid the embarrassment of having to over ride legislation endorsed by some of his own party, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn warns, quote, "There is a lot of people who are pro-Israel and it`s our best ally in the Middle East. I think we ought to listen to our friends," I don`t know what that means. But the moderate U.S. based pro-Israeli J Street cautions, "I think the government of Israel will continue and ramp up its efforts to kill the agreement." You know, Jonathan, this is one of the, some of these statements that come out of Israel like this, they`re not teaching us. We know the situation, but they do face a different situation than we do. Iran is not going to bomb us into the ground, but they could do that if they were loony enough to Israel. ALLEN: Yes, Israel is in a very, very different place and I think -- MATTHEWS: It`s called close. BERNARD: Yes, entirely close. ALLEN: I think sometimes pro-Israel folks in the United States would fight to the last Israeli. You know, I think sometimes the folks here tend to be even more hawkish. This vote will be very interesting one. I expect the president will get what he wants and get this deal done in the end, but most Democrats don`t want to vote for it. Even the very liberal Democrat in the House who`s going to vote for it told me it would be much easier to vote against. MATTHEWS: I think the ones up for reelection next year will be least likely to vote with the president. They`re going to do a lot of corralling, as they say, on the Hill -- corralling.   ALLEN: You mean fundraising, Chris? MATTHEWS: No, corralling. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Corralling is when you hold the men and women of the Senate in the floor and don`t let them leave until you`re sure you don`t need the votes. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, we take a trip in the HARDBALL time machine to an America in 2016 or 2017 when President Donald Trump is president in the Oval Office. This would be the clown car visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And this is HARDBALL, a place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: This past weekend, we saw the largest crowd yet in the 2016 presidential campaign. More than 11,000 people turned out for Bernie Sanders on Saturday night down in Phoenix -- Trump, that`s Trump`s recent impressive turnout right there -- when nearly 10,000 came to see him speak in Madison, Wisconsin. Much cooler place, actually. Last week, a FOX News poll showed Sanders in second place among Democrats nationally to Hillary Clinton, but Clinton still leads the nomination fight by 40 points. It`s interesting. Bernie Sanders is getting big crowds. Donald Trump is getting numbers in the polls. We`ll be right back.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable for some jollies tonight -- Anne, Jonathan and Michelle. So, I want you all to pause for a moment and close your eyes. Well, don`t close your eyes. It`s television. The 2016 election is over and Donald Trump has won, imagine that. The win has huge -- it was huge, of course, to see, what he likes to say it, we want to imagine how this would change everything, not just the country but say this town of Washington D.C. We know that Mr. Trump is a businessman who likes to put his brand on this. There could be new landscaping at the White House there. Air Force One could sport a new logo. And, of course, we know his fondness for helicopters, there it is, Marine One would definitely be personalized for the Donald. This is too weird, but it isn`t (INAUDIBLE) (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Remember Trump airlines? ALLEN: The White House would be -- the White House a skyscraper, first of all. MATTHEWS: Huge. (LAUGHTER)   BERNARD: Trump Tower, the gift shop, can you imagine? The Donald Trump ties in the gift shop in the White House and all over Washington. MATTHEWS: All that would be good as long as he didn`t have any authority. ALLEN: He would have no cabinet because he would fire them all. You`re fired. GEARAN: I want to see his first cabinet meeting. Exactly. Probably, he`s going to go around the table and say, what do you do here? What do you do for me? What`s your job? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: -- on TV, a night when they`re all grimly looking at each other in the shadows. Anyway, Donald Trump doesn`t talk as we know like other Republican or any other candidates on issues of god and faith, which could be another twist Washington would have to get used to in a Trump president. Here`s Trump -- the real Trump right now this weekend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever asked god for forgiveness? DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not sure I have. I just try to do a better job from there. I don`t think so. I don`t bring God into that picture. I don`t.   Now, when I take -- you know, when we go to church and when I drink my wine which is the only wine I drink and have my cracker, I guess, that`s a form of asking for forgiveness. I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. (END VIDEO CLIP) BERNARD: Ew, what does that mean? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Where the blasphemy began in my religion, but it was pretty strong there. The little cracker, he acted like he had just gone by a food truck and he`d picked up a cracker and picked up some wine, a little taste. And his view of religion and significance of those -- that wine whatever your faith, it`s pretty strong. And he didn`t seem to have the gift of understanding when he was talking about that. A faith gift. BERNARD: It`s as if it`s sort of above his pay level. I imagining if he can`t answer that question, what is he going to look like if he makes it to the floor of the debate when he`s asked about whether or not he`s pro- choice or pro-life. MATTHEWS: Never asking God -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Never asking God for help is probably another way of saying, I will never take back anything I ever say -- which is the problem he`s in. BERNARD: Or did. MATTHEWS: I`m going to have more on that in a moment and I will go after him in a moment.   Anne Gearan, thank you very much, a straight serious reporter. Jonathan Allen, a major force at "Vox". And, Michelle Bernard, I don`t know what that new 74 thing is. We`ll get back to that after this. One title -- BERNARD: I think you explain. MATTHEWS: One title per guest. Thank you. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish with Mr. Donald Trump and the people he wants to vote for him. I have a feeling that the guys who are impressed with the hotel big shot are regular guys who look up to his buildings, his success, his ability to say what he wants. I have a further feeling that they are a patriot group who have special respect for the men who do fighting for this country, the ones who go into the jungle, because that`s where the enemy is and who fly planes over hostile territory, who take the tough missions because they believe their country`s future is at stake. Every one of these guys and women know the risk they take, the odds that sometimes, many times, run against them getting through it. They know good men. They knew them who never made it home and never will, and why I have to ask myself would any reasonable person want to keep a doubt out there about his total respect for such warriors.   As I said at the beginning tonight, we don`t honor those who come marching home, we honor the G.I. who gets killed, who gets wounded, who gets shot from the sky. It`s why we walk slowly and speak in whispers at Arlington Cemetery, why we honor Memorial Day and why so many were so determined to get every last one of our POWs back home from Vietnam. Donald Trump never got shot flying in a bombing raid over North Vietnam. John McCain did. Words will not change those dueling facts, those dueling stories, those dueling tests of courage and patriotism, nor the undeniable fact that who in this case deserves to talk, and finally, who deserves to simply sit down and be quiet. 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 BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. 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 CQ-Roll Call. 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