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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/25/2016

Guests: Rick Wiley, Charlie Black, Julian Castro, Jennifer Jacobs, Tom Davis, Susan Page, Ron Kessler

Show: HARDBALL Date: April 25, 2016 Guest: Rick Wiley, Charlie Black, Julian Castro, Jennifer Jacobs, Tom Davis, Susan Page, Ron Kessler

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the big news today in the Republican race is the new John Kasich-Ted Cruz alliance to deny Trump the nomination. But there are already questions about whether it can last. In back-to-back press releases last night, Cruz`s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, and Kasich`s chief Strategist, John Weave, said the goal was to have an open convention. According to Roe, quote, "Our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana, and in turn, clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico."

Well, a few minutes later, Weaver wrote, "We are very comfortable with our delegate position in Indiana already, and given the current dynamics of the primary there, we will shift our campaign`s resources west and give Cruz -- the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana."

Well, Kasich seemed to undermine the agreement a bit today, insisting he wasn`t telling supporters to vote for Cruz, only that he would not campaign in Indiana. So the voters have to figure this one out.

Trump labeled the agreement "collusion" and said it was a horrible act of desperation.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did you see the news today? Did you see where they band together, where they collude? You know, it`s collusion.


TRUMP: You know, if you collude in business -- if you collude in business or if you collude in the stock market, they put you in jail. But in politics, because it`s a rigged system, because it`s a corrupt enterprise - - in politics, you`re allowed to collude. So they colluded.

And actually, I was happy because it shows how weak they are. It shows how pathetic they are.



MATTHEWS: Well, we`re waiting right now for live campaign events from both Cruz and Trump we expect any minute now.

But now a quick personal note. Tomorrow, I will be off from my usual role anchoring election night coverage along with Brian and Rachel. As you know, my wife, Kathleen -- or may know -- is a candidate for U.S. Congress, and tomorrow is the primary election, so naturally, I`ll be with her and our family on her big night.

Well, now for today`s big story, as I said, the alliance of Kasich and Cruz. Ted Cruz was asked this morning about the deal with Kasich and he said it made sense to both campaigns. Let`s watch the senator.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had conversations, and both campaigns agreed to focus our energies. We`re focusing our energy on the state of Indiana and Governor Kasich is focusing his energies elsewhere. I think that is a decision, an allocation of resources that makes a lot of sense, and it`s devoted to the principle of beating Hillary Clinton in November and turning this country around.


MATTHEWS: Well, John Kasich meanwhile insists that he wasn`t telling supporters not to vote for him. Let`s watch.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My team met with the Cruz people and they made a recommendation. Yes, I said I it`s fair because, you know, in some places, we haven`t spent a lot of resources. I don`t see this as any big deal other than the fact that I`m not going to spend resources in Indiana. He`s not going to spend them in other places. So what? What`s the big deal?

QUESTION: So who should your supporters vote for in Indiana?

KASICH: Well, they -- I -- I`ve never told them not to vote for me. They ought to vote for me. But I`m not over there campaigning and spending resources. We have limited resources.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s honest. We have limited resources, we`re running out of money and we don`t have a lot.

Anyway, Charlie Black`s an adviser to John Kasich. He`s right here. And Rick Wiley`s national political director for the Trump campaign. It`s an honor to have you guys on.

The Blues Brothers are back, Charlie.



MATTHEWS: You guys are always running the show! Let me ask you about Kasich. You know, I keep hearing Cruz-Kasich. Is this Kasich-Cruz or Cruz-Kasich? Who`s on top of this duo?

BLACK: Well...

MATTHEWS: Who`s the boss?

BLACK: Listen, speaking for John Kasich, he will not be vice president for anyone. He says he has a better job than that now as governor of Ohio, and he does, but he plans to be president. So listen, this is nothing unusual.

MATTHEWS: Who do you want -- OK...


BLACK: Mr. Trump acts like he just discovered there`s gambling in Casablanca.

MATTHEWS: I know. (INAUDIBLE) collusion?

BLACK: You know, campaigns in multi-candidate races frequently cooperate ad hoc on a temporary basis. I can even give you an instance, but I won`t violate confidences of where in a state or two the Trump people and the Kasich people...

MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you`ll forced to because this is HARDBALL. Mr. Wiley, what do you make -- what`s your candidate -- what do you think of this...


MATTHEWS: ... this double-teaming -- this double-teaming of Trump as he`s about to win, it looks like, five states tomorrow.

WILEY: We`re going to...

MATTHEWS: And my hunch is this thing isn`t going to work. He`s going to win in Indiana, as well, and knock the -- knock the opponents right out of the game (ph).

WILEY: Well, Indiana is certainly Ted Cruz`s to lose. I mean, he said weeks ago that he was going to win Indiana. So we`re going to...


MATTHEWS: ... low-balling it?


MATTHEWS: You going to try that here?


MATTHEWS: ... because Trump is ahead in the polling out there. Go ahead.

WILEY: I look at this and say it`s already falling apart. You know, there was a month ago...

MATTHEWS: Why did you say just that it`s Cruz to lose when it`s Trump now 41 to 33 out there...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ted Cruz said he was going to win it weeks ago. Polls.

MATTHEWS: When you start to smile...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only poll that counts.


MATTHEWS: Never smile on HARDBALL, Rick. Never -- some advice to a newcomer. When you smile, I know you`re bs-ing. Go ahead.

WILEY: Stay tuned. I know about a recent poll that has Cruz in the margin of error with Donald. So it`s not impossible for Cruz to win. But listen, it doesn`t matter...

MATTHEWS: Yes, but your voters are going to vote for Kasich. You can`t go to a voter who likes a moderate or traditional Republican, relatively conservative, like John Kasich, and say, Oh, by the way, vote for the most right-wing guy running, Cruz.

How do you get a voter to do that?

BLACK: Right, but the point is that we have a relatively low vote total right now, something around 20 percent. If we don`t campaign or advertise in Indiana over the next week, it just opens the field for Cruz to (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: OK, you`re talking right now, Charlie. What do you tell the voter who`s an Indiana Republican, a Hoosier Republican, and he`s a moderate or reasonable centrist Republican? You tell him to vote for Cruz right now. Go ahead and do it.

BLACK: I didn`t -- we`re not asking...

MATTHEWS: Well, go do it.

BLACK: ... the 20 percent that are for Kasich, that are dedicated to Kasich, to vote for Cruz. We`re leaving the field open for the undecideds and for the people who might have reservations about Trump to go to Cruz.

MATTHEWS: So you want them still to vote for your guy in Indiana.

BLACK: I think if they`re for him, they should vote for him. But the point is you know what happens in the last week of a primary...

MATTHEWS: So how`s this deal work?


MATTHEWS: This is where I`m getting confused.


MATTHEWS: Do you want the Kasich voter to vote for Kasich or not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do, but it`s -- the question is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor does, as well. He said that today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The arrangement is who`s going to do advertising and campaigning in the different states at the different times. That`s all it is.

MATTHEWS: Do you want the Cruz voters to vote for Cruz in New Mexico and Oregon?

BLACK: Sure. If somebody`s already for Cruz, you`re not going to change their mind...

WILEY: (INAUDIBLE) fall apart.

BLACK: ... anyhow.

WILEY: You know what I found interesting, though, is Governor Kasich...

MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a deal.

WILEY: There -- Indiana, their money`s good because he stayed back and did a fund-raiser in Indianapolis today, but he doesn`t want -- he doesn`t want their vote, or maybe he does want their vote. I don`t think anyone really knows.

But I think this deal is falling apart already, and you know, at the end of the day, you`re going to see -- you know, Donald Trump has a movement going on. There are -- just today 8 million more people have voted at this point already in...

MATTHEWS: You got 40 states already done, too.

WILEY: Well, at this point in the math...

MATTHEWS: 40 out of 50 are done.

WILEY: ... 60 percent higher turnout. I mean, this is a movement out there, so...

MATTHEWS: What do you think...


BLACK: You got 38 percent of all those votes. That`s really a crowning...

MATTHEWS: What`s the Kasich game?

BLACK: The Kasich game is to get to the convention where Donald Trump does not get 1,237 on the first ballot, and everybody knows, including Rick, that he`ll lose votes on the second ballot and the third ballot because a lot of people that are sitting in the seats are not for him after they`re no longer bound.

And at that point, you have an open convention. Kasich, in addition to what he comes into the convention with, will pick up a lot of those party regulars.

MATTHEWS: And you expect Trump to take his loss?

BLACK: Take his loss?

MATTHEWS: Take the loss and walk out of Cleveland a loser, a loser?

BLACK: I do expect him to lose. I think there`s some...

MATTHEWS: Do you expect him to accept that.

BLACK: Rick will tell you they`re going to get 1,237...


MATTHEWS: ... your candidate walk away as a wounded dog if he lost the convention? Well, I guess...


WILEY: Multiple paths to 1,237. We`re going to get there after -- after California...

MATTHEWS: OK. I`m wondering about what will happen if he doesn`t get to 1,237.

BLACK: We`re not going to see that.

MATTHEWS: OK, Trump had some strong...

WILEY: Kasich`ll be the nominee, that`s what.

MATTHEWS: ... well, had some strong attacks on both Kasich and Cruz today. Let`s watch him in action. I think he loves this stuff, attack from a defensive position. Here he is.


TRUMP: I was called, and they said, Sir, Kasich -- we call him 1 for 41. He`s won 1 race in 41 states, one! OK? States and islands. So I call him now -- I have a new nickname for him, 1 for 41.

He`s just a stubborn guy. That`s all he is. He`s a stubborn guy. He`s, like, if you have a child who just says, I want it, Mommy! I don`t care, Mommy!

He`s eating today, stuffing his -- I never saw bites this big! He`s pushing it in with his -- I never saw a guy eat like this!

I watched Cruz this morning and he`s all mixed-up because he`s losing so badly, and when he`s under pressure, he`s like a basket case. He was a failed senator. He couldn`t get anything passed, nothing. All he is, is a guy that will go down and stand and filibuster for a day or two, and the other senators all look, When`s he getting off the floor, Jim? Guy`s a pain in the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) When he`s getting off the floor?



MATTHEWS: Does he rehearse this stuff, Rick?

WILEY: I think he -- I think he...

MATTHEWS: Where does it come from, this whole shtick about -- he had a nickname, little Marco, lyin` Ted...

WILEY: They stick, too, don`t they.

MATTHEWS: ... and it`s now 41 and 1.

WILEY: They seem to stick. I mean, look, he has the -- he has his finger on the pulse of the American electorate right now. I`ve never seen anything like it, and that`s why you`re seeing record crowds. You`re seeing record voter turnout. And that`s why you`re going to see us get to 1,237 before Cleveland.

BLACK: And so the American people, the Republican primary voters, like trash talk, name-calling...

MATTHEWS: Do they?

BLACK: Now here`s Donald Trump as Miss Manners? Give me a break.


BLACK: You know, look...

MATTHEWS: But all the guys that I thought would like you -- all the candidates like I know you like, reasonable Republicans, Jeb and Walker and all, all got blown away by the Republican voter. What happened?

BLACK: They got blown away because there`s a populist movement in both parties, Sanders and Trump. But he`s gotten 38 percent of the vote, not a majority. He`s not going to get a majority of the delegates. There`s only one vote that counts. It`s who on however many ballots it takes gets 1,237 delegates. That`ll be John Kasich.

There`s a lid on Cruz, how many delegates he can eventually get. Everybody knows that on the second and third ballots, Trump loses a lot of votes because they`re not for him. They`re bound by state law to be for him. And by the third ballot, this`ll be...

MATTHEWS: How are you going to keep the 200 or so delegates that are available, that are unbound, to go to Trump?

BLACK: Because they don`t like Trump. They want a winner. That`s why -- John Kasich`s the only guy who can win general election against Hillary Clinton. And delegates care about electability.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go to -- Kasie Hunt, you`re out there covering this thing. Give us a sense of what`s happening out there.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I think the question right now is what are these outside groups going to do as this starts to unfold, and do they have enough money? I mean, this is, you know, in many ways, this kind of desperation ploy born of the fact that there are all of these multiple paths, you know, for Trump that Rick Wiley was just talking about to get to 1,237.

The needle is much smaller. You know, they really have to thread the needle if they`re going to stop him and actually get to this open convention. And I have to tell you, Chris, I talked to John Kasich today at his event up in Rockville, not that far from here, and you know, those of us who`ve covered him for a long time know him to be kind of this happy warrior, this guy who, you know, always sort of has a smile and a joke, and he was not that way at all today with me. It was the opposite.

It was clear that -- it almost seemed as though he was being dragged into something here. You know, I asked him a little bit about Donald Trump and what you just played, where he`s making fun of his eating habits, and you know, there was no crack to the facade. He said, You know what? No comment. I just -- I don`t want to talk about it.

The only time I got him to crack a bit was when we talked a little bit about California, which I think is starting to emerge as really the Alamo for this and the real test of whether or not this alliance can possibly hold. And I think there is a lot of skepticism because there isn`t a deep well of trust here, right? If anything, neither one of these camps -- you know, they have the opposite set of feelings. It`s not like it`s built on a strong foundation here. And so I think the question is going to be how do they split up California.

MATTHEWS: Kasie, thanks for that.


MATTHEWS: Let me check with your guy. Is your guy happy with this new side deal with Cruz?


BLACK: ... a temporary ad hoc thing that a lot of candidates...

MATTHEWS: He looks miserable.

BLACK: A lot of campaigns do this all the time.

MATTHEWS: Well, why do you do it? Why do you do it?

BLACK: You do it because you have limited resources, and rather than spread them thin and fight over all the states, you go ahead and make a deal. Now, this is only a deal over three states. It`s not -- you know, may last, may not, but...

MATTHEWS: Were you part of it?

BLACK: No, I wasn`t, but I`m happy to hear about it. And let me tell you something. At all state conventions, these kind of coalitions take place. I remember going back to `76 in Arkansas, Reagan, Howard Baker and George Bush ganged up on John Connally and denied him all but one delegate. Two weeks later, when we go to Maine (ph), and Connally, Baker and Reagan ganged up on Bush and denied him all but four delegates. It happens all the time.

MATTHEWS: Not on television.

BLACK: Well, listen...

MATTHEWS: This is all happening on television! We`re talking about it!

BLACK: Here`s the difference, Chris. In the era of super-PACs, if you make an arrangement like this, you have to put out a press release because the super-PACs won`t know what to do. You know, you can`t talk to them. It`s a crazy system. I know the Supreme Court has spoken, but listen. Kasich -- I was with him two days last week. He`s in a good mood. But that was before anybody questioned his table manners. I don`t blame him for being upset.


BLACK: Just kidding.

MATTHEWS: It`s personal. Just kidding. Rick, why is your guy going after people`s table manners...

WILEY: These campaigns...


MATTHEWS: No, really, criticizes...

WILEY: These campaigns are playing to lose.

MATTHEWS: ... sweating abilities and stuff like that. What are they...

WILEY: These campaigns are playing to lose. We`re playing to win. And that`s the bottom line.

MATTHEWS: You`re enjoying this, aren`t you, Rick.

WILEY: Yes. How can I not enjoy this? Come on, Chris.

MATTHEWS: It`s high school, anyway, some of this stuff, going after his eating habits?

WILEY: Look, you know, I don`t have anything to say about eating habits. I just know that we`re playing to win, and we`re going to get to 1,237.


BLACK: We demand that Donald eat in public for the next week, and we`ll see what people think.


MATTHEWS: It`s always hard to get your picture taken when eating. Anyway, thank you, Rick Wiley. It`s good to have you on the show. You seem to enjoy this. Charlie Black, you`re not enjoying it as much as you usually are.

We`re waiting right now...

WILEY: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... for Donald Trump to take the stage at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He`ll be real up there. (ph) He`s called the alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich "collusion." I`m calling it Thelma and Louise. We`re going to hear more from Trump in just a minute.

And later this hour, we`re going to talk to someone who could well be Hillary Clinton`s short list -- on the list should she win the nomination, HUD secretary Julian Castro. He is on the list. He`s really there.

And coming up at the top of the hour, it`s our -- well, our two-hour town hall double-header. Tonight at 8:00 PM, Chris Hayes sits down with Bernie Sanders. Then at 9:00 Eastern, Rachel Maddow interviews Hillary Clinton. We got them all tonight on the Democratic side. We`re talking about Republicans mainly.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But Donald continued. He said, Ted, when it comes to the Supreme Court, when it comes to religious liberty, he said learn, Ted, you got to learn to compromise.


CRUZ: You got to learn to cut deals with the Democrats and to go along to get along. Well, let me be very, very clear to the men and women of Indiana. I will not compromise away your religious liberty!



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That`s, of course, Ted Cruz just moments ago at a campaign rally in Indiana. That`s next week`s fight. The alliance between Cruz and Kasich is proof that politics can make strange bedfellows, as the old (ph) (INAUDIBLE) says.

Now the Koch brothers, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help elect conservative candidates are signaling they`re not happy with the 2016 Republican options. In an interview with ABC yesterday, Charles Koch called the leading Republican candidates bad role models and said that he`s open to supporting Hillary Clinton. Here it is.


CHARLES KOCH, BILLIONAIRE: You`re role models and you`re terrible role models. So how -- I don`t know how we could support him.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican this time around?

KOCH: It`s possible. It`s possible.

KARL: You couldn`t see yourself supporting Hillary Clinton, could you?

KOCH: Well, her -- we would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric, let me put it that way.


MATTHEWS: Well, the Clinton campaign was quick to decline Koch`s support, saying that the candidate`s not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote.

Well, they turned down some votes. This comes as "The Wall Street Journal" reports that corporate CEOs also have concerns about the tone of the campaign. Quote, "Executives worry that for now, the rhetoric of the election discussion could weigh on consumer confidence, thwart any immigration overhaul and derail a sweeping 12-nation trade pact, the Trans Pacific Partnership, that the United States struck last year and that many businesses support."

So they`re worried about the money. Taken together, it`s the latest indication that members of the establishment wing of the Republican Party are not ready to fall in line behind Donald Trump, not yet.

I`m joined right now by author Ron Kessler, who`s a Trump supporter, Susan Page, who`s the Washington bureau chief for "USA Today" and MSNBC political analyst Eugene Robinson, who`s a columnist with "The Washington Post."

So, what do you make of this, Gene? Because it looks like we`re at the short hairs, if you will. We`re right down to the reality here of this election.


MATTHEWS: And it looks like this is one of those final moments, Last Chance Saloon you see on the Republican side with this odd teaming up of Cruz and Kasich. You see the business leaders saying, hell, we might go with Hillary.

ROBINSON: Well, look, I see this not so much as an 11th-hour move as a 13th-hour move.

I think the window for this sort of thing has closed, frankly.

MATTHEWS: After tomorrow night, very closed.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. Two days from now, we will probably be talking about how Donald Trump swept five states and is that much closer to the 1,237.

And, you know, let`s not pretend that that doesn`t potentially have an impact on what happens in Indiana and down the line.

MATTHEWS: It`s serial, isn`t it? It`s serial.

ROBINSON: Well, it does build. Momentum still does count, I think. Of course, who knows what counts this year, but I think it does.

MATTHEWS: There`s a lot at stake.

But, Susan, five states tomorrow, they are not -- they are regular states. I keeps -- I`m an Easterner, so I say regular states. Maryland, where I live, is regular, Pennsylvania is very regular. Rhode Island is a little bit different up there and Connecticut is wealthier. Delaware is pretty good bellwether of the country.

These are pretty good states to judge the mood of the country and they`re all going to go for Trump.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": And they come on the heels of a big victory in New York and he`s in fact got a lead in delegates.

Whatever the Republican establishment thinks, whatever CEOs think, people are actually going and voting for Donald Trump and giving him delegates, and that`s what made him a front-runner. You see these Republicans, I think, coming to either think it`s not only possible that Trump could be the nominee, it`s likely that Trump will be the nominee, and what does that mean for me?

Maybe it means I support Hillary. I don`t think that. Maybe it means they start to focus on Senate...

MATTHEWS: No, they think she might be more hawkish for them.

Ron Kessler, you can define the Capitol of the United States. It`s simple. There`s 100 senators on one side. There`s 435 representatives. Define the establishment, which includes "The Wall Street Journal" readers, the editors of "The Wall Street Journal."

That world of the Koch brothers, that world of those people, what is that world and why are they all against Trump?

RONALD KESSLER, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: First of all, in any family, you have different factions.

MATTHEWS: But what is the establishment faction?

KESSLER: The establishment is the dinosaurs. They have conventional wisdom. They don`t understand that Donald is a totally different phenomenon.

I look at Donald as a reporter. I first got to know him two decades ago, when I did a book on Palm Beach. I called it my midlife crisis. I had to drink more champagne and go to more parties. We went down on this plane with my wife, Pam, and he was imitating the nasal constructed tones of the old-guard blue bloods condemning his club Mar-a-Lago because it admits blacks and Jews.

So I couldn`t be a member. My friend Juan Williams couldn`t be a member. And this is the real Donald.

MATTHEWS: But he opened the door to everybody.

KESSLER: He -- whereas some clubs in Palm Beach to this day do not admit blacks or Jews. So, this is the real Donald that I know. And I interviewed Norma Foerderer, who was his top aide.

MATTHEWS: So, he`s sort of a Frank Sinatra type, high-living, but very open-minded. Right? He`s not a prejudiced guy.

KESSLER: Oh, yes. But also he creates this caricature of himself on TV to get attention. He did it for his brand, Trump brand. Now he`s doing it for his campaign. But the real Donald that I know behind the scenes is this very savvy, confident businessman who built this empire.


MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the first...


MATTHEWS: For nine or 10 years now, like Ronald Reagan, he portrayed a guy. But Reagan played the guys like Ronald Reagan, regular guy, likable.

Trump for all those years on "The Apprentice" played this tough judge. You know, you`re fired. Right? Now he`s playing this sort of shticky, shticky stand-up guy, right? How many personas does this guy have? And which one reflects the one that is going to take the oath of the presidency?

PAGE: Well, that`s a question, although if you ask which one is the real Donald Trump, don`t you think the Trump we see, it`s pretty consistent?

Every once in a while, you will have like last Tuesday night, when he tones it down and seems to be reading from a script. But by and large, Trump has been a very consistent persona through the past year.


MATTHEWS: Explain it to an Italian right now. Somebody from another country, some other country, explain this guy.

PAGE: He`s a flamboyant, self-confident guy who speaks off the cuff and is not bound by ideology or anything in particular. He`s just himself.

MATTHEWS: Gene, the establishment fears him. I`m just trying to get to the heart with Ron. Why do they instinctively say -- because he isn`t a member of the club, because he didn`t ask for membership.

ROBINSON: He`s not a member of the club. He`s speaking for a lot of people who are part of the Republican base that don`t necessarily believe in Republican dogma on a number of issues like free trade, like entitlements, like a lot of other things, and because he -- the person I think he has established during this campaign is the anti-politician.

And he resists doing anything...


MATTHEWS: He did it again today.

ROBINSON: ... that smacks of regular politics, because he knows that plays. He knows that people are sick of politics and politicians.

MATTHEWS: And us. They`re stick of us.

ROBINSON: And he`s running against the establishment. I think the establishment is worried about it.

MATTHEWS: Well, today, Trump said that if the RNC, the Republican National Committee, allowed Cruz or Kasich to win the nomination, there would be a revolt. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How do you vote for a guy who has lost by four or five million votes, who is hundreds and hundreds of delegates down, who has lost -- let`s say I will have 40 states, 32 states, 35, and they will have like 13, 14, and now we`re going to pick the guy? So we`re going to pick a guy that over a year got creamed, right, got creamed, and we`re going to let him, because -- so you explain how that`s done. You would have a revolt.


MATTHEWS: Ron Kessler, that`s your argument, isn`t it? Is Trump willing to walk? I always think that is interesting, because if I were thinking about Trump, I would think one thing I want to make sure they know in the establishment, I`m not to be played with.

If it looks like I`m within a gimme, 100 votes or so, and they still find a way of keeping me from getting that 100, I will have a meeting of all the delegates of mine across the street, my 1,000 delegates, and I will say, you all go home now. We`re bringing this place down if they don`t let me win the nomination. He can do anything he wants.

KESSLER: I think almost everyone gets it, except for these dinosaurs.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think they can keep those delegates working for them?

KESSLER: They are stupid. They are just stupid, as Donald would say.

MATTHEWS: You`re learning his vocabulary.



KESSLER: What people don`t understand is he`s going to change as he gets into the general election. He`s going to start...


MATTHEWS: OK. We`re going to watch him now. We`re going to watch the current Trump. Let`s take a look at him for a while.

Watch. Let`s watch some of shtick and see if he makes some news tonight. We are going to hold with him as long as he is making news. He is Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania, a regular, I must say, a regular part of the country.


TRUMP: Do we love our country? Do we love our country? This is amazing.


TRUMP: And we love Wilkes-Barre. Is that right? We love Wilkes-Barre. We love this area.


TRUMP: And we love the state of Pennsylvania and we`re bringing it back.


TRUMP: We`re bringing it back. Thank you, everybody. Wow, what a turnout.

And they have 6,000 people outside that can`t get in. This place is unbelievable. Hello up there. Unbelievable.


TRUMP: So, we have a lot to talk about. This is my last stop. Tomorrow is so important. You`re going to go out and vote. Who is going to vote for Trump?


TRUMP: We`re going to make that the best vote you ever have cast, I promise you, I promise you, believe me. America first, folks. Make America great again, but America first. OK? Remember that.

So, just a couple things. And my son Eric is here. You know Eric? He`s great, good boy.

And this area, he said, dad, make sure you mention natural gas, that we`re 100 percent behind it. And we are, 100 -- natural gas, and coal, and coal. We`re 100 percent. We`re going to bring things back and we`re going to bring them back like they have never been before. We are going to take our jobs back. We`re bringing our manufacturing back.

We`re going to take it from all of these countries that for years have been ripping us off because we have politicians that don`t know what they are doing. So we`re going to take it back.


TRUMP: So, you know, the whole deal, you know, this whole thing is crazy.

We`re leading by millions of votes. We`re leading by hundreds of delegates, and it`s a rigged system.

But I said, you know, let it be rigged. I talk about the boxers. I have a boxer. He`s fantastic. A friend of mine, he is a world champion. And he goes into a very unfriendly territory. I said, what are you doing? If you have a good match, you are going to end up losing on a decision with bad judges.

He said, Mr. Trump, the only way I have to do it, I have to knock this guy out. I have to knock him on his ass.


TRUMP: And he did. And he picked up a big paycheck.

So what we`re doing is, we`re going to win on the first ballot. We only care about the first ballot. And it`s sort of interesting, because if you look at these two guys, one is one for 41. I won many, many states.

Millions of votes ahead, many states, many delegates. The other one, he`s like a total disaster. He goes to New York last week, he doesn`t even register, he`s so low. He got no delegates. Folks, they ought to both drop out of the race, so we ought to unify the Republican Party.


TRUMP: And a great poll just came out. You saw it on the top of Drudge, a great poll that has me even with Hillary Clinton. That`s nothing. I haven`t started with crooked Hillary yet. We haven`t even started.


TRUMP: Amazing. Amazing.

Ah, that crooked Hillary, the same old stuff, years and years of watching it. It`s always the same. But she`s not bringing back jobs. She doesn`t know the first thing about it. She`s going to open up the borders.

And I don`t know if you saw reports today. More people are pouring across our southern border than practically ever before. It`s out of control.


TRUMP: It`s out of control.

We don`t know who these people are. We don`t know where the hell they come from. And they`re pouring across. And the Border Patrol, who are amazing people, just so you know, last week, the Border Patrol endorsed Donald Trump, 16,500 people. They have never done it before.


TRUMP: Never done it before. Amazing. They are amazing people. They are amazing people. And Sheriff Joe endorsed. You know Sheriff Joe from Arizona.

So, no, we`re going to do a great job. But they are setting records. People are coming across. We don`t know where they are. And then you have coming from the migration thousands and thousands of people, and they are coming here. Nobody even knows where they are going. They put them all over the country. Nobody knows. Are they ISIS? It could be the great Trojan horse. Nobody knows.

We will build a wall. Don`t worry about it, man. We will build a wall.


TRUMP: That wall is going to get built.

AUDIENCE: Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall! Build the wall!


TRUMP: This place is unbelievable. This place is unbelievable.


TRUMP: All right. So, look, so I go to the...

MATTHEWS: Susan, we`re back there. He is going to back to shtick now.

But he did make news there with this -- I use the words I would normally say on a street corner, but I can`t say it, the gutsy, ballsy, if you will, statement, they ought to both drop out. He`s now saying for the -- and unify the party, so I can go on. I can already take on Hillary. I`m already running even with her, but to have them both drop out and unify the party under me.

PAGE: And we`re going to hear that Tuesday night, tomorrow night, Wednesday morning, if, as we assume he will, have big victories in all five of the Northeastern states that are voting tomorrow.

MATTHEWS: You guys, scram.

PAGE: He is going to say, I`m the consensus winner. I have got the most delegates. I`m on a path to 1,237. It`s time for you guys to consider...

MATTHEWS: And why do they keep saying -- I know how the media can manipulate it -- this idea that somehow Indiana is the most important state in the union? Have you seen that? How did that get started? I hear it now for weeks now. Indiana is going to change everything.

ROBINSON: These are goalposts that keep moving, right, because, remember, a couple weeks ago, they were going to stop him in Pennsylvania.

Well, that`s not working out too well. So, now they are all -- they`re going to stop him in Indiana. After Indiana, I don`t know, it will be Nebraska or South Dakota or...

PAGE: California.


ROBINSON: Or California.

MATTHEWS: You remind me of the stories of the Alamo.

ROBINSON: He`s how many points up in California? I mean, way up.

PAGE: But California is such a big prize that you can -- Cruz could hold onto California, saying it`s not over until it`s over, and Trump will not be over the numerical -- he won`t have clinched it before California. Even the Trump...


MATTHEWS: It reminds me of the Alamo stories, where they get to last redoubt. I love that word, redoubt, the last little corner of the mission they could control before the Mexicans overran them.

It is like that. You`re right. They could keep moving...


ROBINSON: No, and now they talk about Indiana, because they`re going to lose tomorrow. Right?



ROBINSON: Nobody wants us to talk about that.


MATTHEWS: I think five tomorrow and one the next week. They lose Indiana, because the voters out there don`t like being manipulated.

If you`re a Kasich voter and you`re told, oh, vote for Cruz, what? He`s the opposite of what I want. I want a moderate, centrist Republican.


KESSLER: They`re not puppets.

MATTHEWS: They`re not puppets.


He cited polls showing that he`s even with Hillary. Well, when he starts being the more moderate Donald and...

MATTHEWS: What do you expect this...


KESSLER: As soon as the primary is over or finished.

MATTHEWS: I used a biblical term.

KESSLER: As one example, the...

MATTHEWS: What makes you confident, Ron? You`re here...

KESSLER: I have known him for two decades.


MATTHEWS: When does he go into his presidential mode? When does he become presidential?


KESSLER: June 7, he`s going to start.

MATTHEWS: Have you ever seen him presidential?

KESSLER: I see him every -- every time I see him, he`s like that, because that is the real Donald, the confident, savvy businessman.

And all his employees know that. Anybody who deals with him behind the scenes knows that. For example, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce called for a boycott of all his properties last summer. Remember?

A few months later, the CEO of the Chamber met with him for over an hour, and he emerged and he told CNN, wow, he`s totally different.

MATTHEWS: Did they agree to stop the...

KESSLER: Yes, I don`t know about that, but he said, you know, he listened, he was thoughtful. There weren`t all these bombastic...


MATTHEWS: I agree with that. I agree. I agree he can be calm. I have seen him. He is personable, too. But I don`t want to say too many good things about him, because people think I`m for him.

But you are for him?

KESSLER: I think you`re farsighted.


PAGE: Chris, I would just like to say I`m pretty sure people don`t think you`re for Donald Trump, just if you`re worried about that.

ROBINSON: Check Twitter. You would be surprised at what people about -- no, about anybody.


MATTHEWS: I know. I know.


ROBINSON: Anybody who says anything other than he`s a pox on the earth at any given moment is seen to be for Trump.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think I didn`t come up with this list of candidates. They have come to us and we have to deal with them.

They are the food that has been put on the table here, and one of them is called Trump.

Anyway, Ron Kessler, thank you. Good guest. Thanks for coming on.

Susan, as always. Gene, as always.

Up next, as Hillary Clinton weighs her options for the potential running mates -- she`s already doing that. She said to be considering our next guest. This is going to be a fascinating interview because this guy could be the V.P. in about a year. There he is, Julian Castro, who doesn`t like me saying that, of Texas. He`s secretary of HUD. And he joins us in about a moment.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



REPORTER: Has your campaign considered who to pick for V.P.?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m just working hard to win on Tuesday.



That was, of course, Secretary Clinton dodging a question about what -- whether her campaign begun the search for a V.P. running mate.

Well, "The New York Times" reported over the weekend that her team has started those discussions and one question under consideration is whether her choice for V.P. will be able to handle working the White House in which former President Bill Clinton wielded significant influence on policy- making.

Well, Secretary Clinton herself is weighing in according to the report, which said she cares less about ideological and personal compatibility than about picking a winner, someone who can dominate the V.P. debate, and also, she wants someone who could be an effective attack dog against either candidate. It`s also said that Hillary Clinton does not feel pressure to enthrall, it`s a great word, the supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Lots in there. Among the things mentioned, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

Secretary Castro joins us now from Philadelphia where he`s been campaigning for Hillary Clinton ahead of tomorrow`s primary.

Mr. Secretary, I really do think that`s a pretty good list. Actually, I think they are all good candidates including you. What do you make about the fact that Hillary Clinton may be looking for someone who can win that first debate? I thought that was interesting because one thing you have do is help win the election.

Are you a good debater?


MATTHEWS: I know you`re great on TV but --

CASTRO: No doubt that -- you know, first I would say I think that Hillary said it very well that first she needs to win tomorrow here in Pennsylvania and in the other states and get the nomination. And so, it is very premature to talk about vice presidential selection.

I have no doubt that whoever is picked as the vice president is going to be somebody that is of great ability and going to be great for the ticket and most importantly is going to be well-qualified for the position as president. I have said myself for a long time that I fully expect to be back in Texas next year.

So, I`m just happy to support Secretary Clinton. I know, just like she`s made a lot of great decisions throughout her career and this campaign, with this very important decision, I`m sure that she`s going to select somebody who`s going to be a fantastic vice president.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back and let me use your historic sense. We`ve had a couple of Democratic V.P. candidates who have been horrendous in debate against Dick Cheney, especially. We had Joe Lieberman, who thought he was joining a club, and that she would decide whether they get in or not, there wasn`t much of a debate. You`re trying to please the guy. Edwards was like a puppy dog compared to Cheney.

Don`t we need strong candidates for V.P. who are one to knock off the head of the Republican candidate for vice president instead of sitting there mealy mouth? Just a thought. Isn`t that a wonderful standard?

CASTRO: Well, you need --


CASTRO: I think that you need someone who is effective. How that person is effective really depends on the personality and posture of what they`re up against. So, we don`t know who`s going to be on the other side of that ticket. In fact, one of the oddities of this year is that we may not know until just three or four days before the Democratic convention starts.

And so, you know, the traditional notion is that somebody has to be a strong attack dog. Usually, that`s true. But it`s also true that the person has to be nimble enough to handle whoever is on the other side. But aside from all that, the most important thing is that person who`s chosen needs to be somebody that could do a great job if God forbid it were actually ever necessary for them to step in as president.

MATTHEWS: How are you in that?

CASTRO: Well, as I`ve said, it`s not going to happen for me. I`m gearing back to Texas --

MATTHEWS: But how do you feel about that question? You must have given it some thought that, if you know, if Jerry Ford was president of the United States, he never expected it happen, through a series of constitutional realities and he is president of the United States and he is president. Harry Truman ended up president.

When Roosevelt died, he didn`t imagine that would happen I don`t think. Maybe did. But do you ever think about it being president?

CASTRO: Well, you know, I do not. I have not looked in the mirror --

MATTHEWS: You never thought about being president?

CASTRO: I have not looked in the mirror every day and said, you know, I want to be president.


MATTHEWS: You have accepted a cabinet position in this administration. You know, you`ve been elected on your own, you accept a point of position without any thought you may rise to the top job.

CASTRO: Chris, you know, I`m 12th in line in succession. So if they ever get to me, something is really wrong. So --


MATTHEWS: I think you`re a great guy so let me change the subject. OK. I`ll get you off the hook.

Let me ask you about a real challenge --

CASTRO: I`m just happy to support Secretary Clinton and I have zero doubt that she`s going to make a very good decision for her vice president and that that person is going to do a fantastic job on the campaign trail and be very well-qualified if he or she was needed to step in, God forbid.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk tough, let`s talk HARDBALL. There is somebody in that campaign told Paul Healy, what`s his name, I`ll think of it in a minute. Healy of "The New York Times", that Hillary Clinton doesn`t care if the candidate she picks for V.P., enthralls was the word, the Bernie people?

Do you think that`s a good attitude? Or should they pick somebody -- should they pick somebody that they like over there on the left?

CASTRO: Well, I think what you want do is select somebody who is going to compliment her well and also be able to help go out there and get support from the left and the center. Somebody that has credibility. And then again, the most important thing is somebody that can actually step in and do the job if called upon to do it.

MATTHEWS: Should she appease the Bernie people as part of this deal making and putting together a ticket?

CASTRO: I mean, that verb you`re using "appease" I think is not the right --

MATTHEWS: Enthrall, embrace?


CASTRO: I think if you remember, you know, 2008, 2008 was in some ways an even more heated, even more heated race than this one. And at the end of the day, Secretary Clinton was fantastic about trying to unify the party.

MATTHEWS: Sure was.

CASTRO: So was President Obama.

I`m very confident that headed toward November when Democrats realize that we have a choice to make between somebody like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz and someone who is progressive who can get things done and would be a solid president, a great president like Hillary Clinton that Democrats will support Hillary Clinton and also, I think independents are going to overwhelmingly support her, whether Cruz or Trump.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much. You`re a great guest.

And I do think you think about the White House and, well, you should.

Anyway, thank you, Secretary Julian Castro of HUD.

CASTRO: Good to be with you.

MATTHEWS: It`s good to have you on HARDBALL.

Up next, let`s make a deal. Ted Cruz and John Kasich join forces to stop Donald Trump and Trump calls it collusion. He wants them both to quit the race.

The HARDBALL round table is coming here next to talk about it. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One is one for 41. You know, I won many, many states. Millions of votes ahead. Many states, many delegates.

The other one is he`s like a total disaster. He goes to New York last week. He doesn`t even register he`s so low. He got no delegates.

Folks, they ought to both drop out of the race, so we ought to unify the Republican Party.


MATTHEWS: Well, that was the most egotistic think we`ve heard for a long time. Everybody else should quit the race. That`s Donald Trump just moments ago at a rally up in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

Joining me right now is the HARDBALL round table, Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post" opinion writer and MSNBC contributor. Jennifer Jacobs is a political reporter for "The Bloomberg Politics", and former Virginia U.S. Congressman Tom Davis. He`s a John Kasich supporter.

OK, John Kasich supporter, you only got like two minutes a piece here. What do we do here if you`re you? What do you do when Trump just said, clear the field, get out of the way?

TOM DAVIS (R-PA), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: We`re staying in for day one. You go into Oregon, you go to New Mexico, you go to California, you win delegates, and you go to conventions. He`s the only person that can win a general.

MATTHEWS: Jennifer, he`s just declared -- get out of here, scat.

JENNIFER JACOBS, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: I think he was clearly irritated today. I mean, if you`re going to unleash the pancake attack into the 2016 race --

MATTHEWS: What`s the pancake attack? Quickly.

JACOBS: He was saying that he doesn`t like the way John Kasich eats, which all of us who have covered John Kasich knows he is -- we know that he is a very voracious eater.

MATTHEWS: Does he eat pancakes one at a time?

JACOBS: Apparently, Trump thinks he shovels food into his mouth. And so, he had a new nickname. He had pancake attack.

MATTHEWS: Is nothing sacred?



CAPEHART: No. As long as Donald Trump is in the race, nothing is sacred. But the thing I`m wondering is, what took Cruz and Kasich so long to do this deal that we`re talking about?

MATTHEWS: What kind of strange bedfellows are. The one is sort of centrist Republican. You can`t even use that term without sounding derogatory. Regular Republican, now the guy is a hard right guy. In the middle is Trump. How can they marry against him?

JACOBS: T Trump guys told me today they think this tarnishes Cruz`s brand to be aligning himself with the most liberal candidate in the race.

MATTHEWS: I think it rubs off the sharpness.

DAVIS: Well, you got to stop the front runner, and the only way you`re going to stop the frontrunner is not divide your forces in a state like Indiana which is basically winner-take-all.

CAPEHART: But the problem with what they are doing is -- what you`re saying is absolutely right, but it plays perfectly into Donald Trump`s overall argument about --

MATTHEWS: Because -- rigging.

CAPEHART: Yes, the system is rigged, corrupt. They`re colluding. They`re bribing people. All of that and they`re trying to steal the nomination from us.

MATTHEWS: Kelly O`Donnell said something earlier. She said, how can you ask voters to be part of a back room deal? Because you`re asking the Kasich people to vote for Cruz in Indiana. How do you vote to play the game?

JACOBS: I don`t think -- I talked to a GOP official in Oregon this morning and he said he doesn`t think it`s going to change the outcome of the vote in Oregon. People are still going to vote the way they want.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think Indiana goes for Trump. Anyway, Jonathan Capehart, thank you. Jennifer Jacobs and Tom -- Tom Cruz -- no, Tom Davis.

CRUZ: Almost.


MATTHEWS: When we return, left me finish with this new Republican ploy to stop Donald Trump. I have some thoughts on this I`ve been holding.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this new Republican ploy to stop Donald Trump. Don`t count on it.

As Richard Nixon, a student of the political dark arts once observed to Pat Buchanan, whenever you hear of a stop X movement, bet on X. Why? Because, inevitably, the movement to stop a particular candidate is, A, too late and, B, too divided. By the time the others realize the only hope lies in combining forces, the leading candidate, the one they want to stop is so far ahead the only plan that offers hope at all.

Also, none of the candidates joined together to stop the front runner have any interest in seeing any of the other challenges pick up the pieces. They all want to free the front runner. They all want to end up the front runners themselves.

And one other reason, why would any voter want to vote for the candidate to stop movement clears the field for? If you`re a Cruz voter, why would you vote for Kasich or the other way around?

So, here we stand before five Republican primaries, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, Trump could win all, he could win all five. And amidst of this big news for Trump, his rivals decide it`s time to bunch together to try to stop him.

Here is betting that the Nixon Rule applies, when the only way his rivals see stopping him is a stop Trump movement, bet on Trump. If I were Hillary Clinton or an optimistic Bernie Sanders, I`d be thinking about this and readying for battle, because the real stop Trump movement needs to get going after the conventions.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. I`ll see you on Wednesday night.

Stay tuned for two MSNBC town halls tonight -- they`ll be great ones -- with the Democratic presidential candidates themselves starting now with my colleague Chris Hayes and Senator Bernie Sanders.