Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/6/2016

Guests: Ken Vogel, Heidi Przybyla, Francesca Chambers, Asawin Suebsaeng, Kim Ghattas

Show: HARDBALL Date: December 6, 2016 Guest: Ken Vogel, Heidi Przybyla, Francesca Chambers, Asawin Suebsaeng, Kim Ghattas

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Action man.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Donald Trump will speak later this hour in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It`s the second leg of his self-styled thank you tour to states that helped him win the presidency.

It`s an unusual spectacle, by the way, a president-elect returning to campaign-like rallies in the middle of a transition, but Donald Trump has broken the rules on what it means to be president-elect, obviously.

Anyway, Trump, the candidate, promised a presidency full of action, and that`s what we`ve gotten in the weeks since the election, almost on an hourly basis. Trump continues to tweet, calling out his detractors, everyone from street protesters to the cast of "Hamilton."

He`s turned Trump Tower into a staging ground for the biggest reality show in the country, a daily parade of would-be job applicants and other meal tickets marching down or up the marble hall to the gold-plated elevator for a meeting with the big man.

It`s been an odd stew of celebrity, Larry King, Al Gore, Mitt Romney, Bob Gates, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, Laura Ingraham, Marla Maples, a New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, and wrestling executive Linda McMahon, just to name a few in this potpourri.

Anyway, here was Trump today, telling the press to get ready for a show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We`ve got some great people coming in today. You`ll see them.

QUESTION: What did you talk about with Mayor Bowser from Washington, D.C., today?

TRUMP: Well, we`re going to talk about a lot of things to a lot of people. We have a lot of people coming up, great group of people, doing very well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: God, it`s like Ed Sullivan in the old days, We got a really big "shew" tonight.

Anyway, Trump has also mastered the spectacle of making dramatic announcements. Last week, it was a deal to save 1,000 jobs at the Carrier plant out in Indiana. Well, today, he tweeted his threat to cancel a deal with Boeing. Here it is. "Boeing is building a brand-new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control. More than $4 billion. Cancel order." That was Trump.

Trump was asked about that earlier today. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, the plane is totally out of control. It`s going to be over $4 billion. It`s for Air Force One program. And I think it`s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So what can we make of Trump`s transition razzle-dazzle? NBC`s Hallie Jackson is in Fayetteville, North Carolina, right now. Heidi Przybyla`s senior political reporter with "USA Today." And Howard Fineman is global editorial director for the HuffingtonPost and an MSNBC political analyst.

Well, let me go to Hallie Jackson. What`s tonight? What`s the show? Is it the defense chief, the new Pentagon chief he`s going to put on parade tonight?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the show is James Mattis, James "mad dog" Mattis. Remember, we`re in Fayetteville, right, home to Ft. Bragg. There is a huge military presence hers, a huge veterans presence here. So it is very intentional that Donald Trump will be appearing with his defense secretary pick.

You know, Chris, you talk about the razzle-dazzle and the art of making an announcement. It was only a few nights ago, on his first stop on the thank you tour in Cincinnati, that he surprised the entire arena by basically prematurely announcing that Mattis was his defense secretary pick in the first place, surprising even his aides that were with him, that had been thinking he was going to wait until today to go ahead and make that announcement.

So he certainly understands the art of a tease, if you will, from his days in the reality show world, I would say.

MATTHEWS: What`s the reaction to the media out there, to you yourself out there with that crowd? How is -- what`s the hate level?

JACKSON: I think that that`s a tough one to answer. We haven`t seen the president-elect yet doing what he typically does, what he did during the campaign and what he did in Cincinnati, which is point to the media and encourage folks to boo by calling us the dishonest press.

There`s been a little bit in the intro speakers. Diamond and Silk, a duo that has often appeared, introduced him at campaign rallies, was here again tonight and took a few shots. People turned around and booed, but it, to be honest, seemed a little less intense than what we saw towards the end of the campaign. That`s again, anecdotal and a personal opinion.

MATTHEWS: Well, fair enough. Anyway, Donald Trump came to the lobby of Trump Tower this afternoon to tout another economic success. He was joined by a Japanese business executive. Let`s watch Trump in action here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So ladies and gentlemen, this is Masa (sic) of SoftBank from Japan, and he`s just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs. And he`s one of the great men of industry. So I just want to thank you very much.

MASAYOSHI SON, SOFTBANK CEO: Thank you. Thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. And if you`d like to speak to him, you can. But one of the truly great men.

SON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

TRUMP: You may want to say hello.

SON: Yes, thank you.

TRUMP: I`ll see you soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump did not say what specific investment that Japanese company planned to make here in the United States.

Anyway, I`ve got to go now to Heidi and to Howard. Action Jackson, or something like it -- I mean, this guy is going to -- it`s like -- I want to say at the end of the show, I mean, you ever get -- in the old days, before Uber and other ways to get around, taxis in New York. You always listen wind (ph). Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, the knifing in Canarsie, something there, something happening on the Upper West Side. It`s constant buzz, buzz, buzz, ping-pong (INAUDIBLE) It seems like that`s the kind of peripatetic presidency he wants to now advertise.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": You`re just seeing the new season of Trump TV.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PRZYBYLA: He had a certain way of manipulating us during the campaigns, and now there`s a new way, which is, don`t have any news conferences, don`t have to take any questions about some of the hard-hitting investigative journalism that`s being done right now about some of the ethical questions surrounding his transition, but just have a huge media stakeout, a parade of personalities coming and going.

Let the speculation go on about who`s going to get the rose (ph) on secretary of state, as well as other positions, and keep us running around, like the sheep that we are.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, without doing that personal debasement -- why don`t we try it this way. How about he`s a Jack-in-the-Box. Every once in a while -- you just wait for him to come out. And he comes out, Guess what I`ve got? And then he disappears, goes right back in.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, you`re right about the pace of it. It`s very...

MATTHEWS: Or a cuckoo clock.

FINEMAN: It`s very midtown Manhattan.

MATTHEWS: It is.

FINEMAN: And that`s Donald Trump. And you`re right, it`s bang, bang, bang, bang. And he`s always got to be the center of attention. That`s...

MATTHEWS: Well, action does tend to grab our eyes.

FINEMAN: Action grabs our eyes. But what I`m interested in more than that is the combination of generals and billionaires...

MATTHEWS: Yes. OK.

FINEMAN: ... that seems to be the stew that he`s developing here. And of course, it also has a kind of medieval kingly aspect to it, where people are coming around, from around the world, before the coronation, to offer gifts to the new king...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: ... $50,000 jobs here from Japan, Carrier doing this in Indiana. And Donald Trump is stressing his personal power to get these things done, his personal relationship, which is a different...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: ... non-legislative kind of leadership...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about this billionaire thing.

FINEMAN: ... which is an -- which is an interesting...

MATTHEWS: You`ve met people...

FINEMAN: ... development, to say the least.

MATTHEWS: You`ve met people of enormous wealth...

FINEMAN: Troubling to many.

MATTHEWS: ... and when you meet people of enormous wealth, they seem to keep score by money, obviously, because that`s their area of success. So if they`re a billionaire, they don`t like people that are just local candy store owners. You know, they want to meet somebody else who`s made a lot of money.

Is that who -- that`s who he trusts, people who`ve made a lot of money, to run our country?

PRZYBYLA: Maybe, but I think you have to look at their philosophy. I mean, it`s not only that he`s stocking his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, but it`s millionaires and billionaires who have a particular world view and view on the markets. And that is to deregulate everything, privatize everything, privatize the social safety net. You just had Mike Pence saying today they want to block grant Medicaid.

The strange thing about this election, Chris, is that we can all debate whether Trump has a mandate to do what he wanted to do in the campaign, the populist platform that he sold. The one thing that there is clearly not a mandate for in this election was to have an establishment Republican agenda, which seems to be, at least in terms of domestic policy, what is emerging with these cabinet picks.

FINEMAN: Well, it`s an unleashed...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: ... establishment agenda. In other words, this is the hard-core passion to deregulate and allow -- except with the case of trade, except for trade -- to allow the free market -- in the never-ending battle between markets and the state, this is the market run wild.

MATTHEWS: Hallie Jackson, you`re still with us, I believe. Let me ask you about that gold plating of this guy. He seems to like, obviously, people who are very successful, attractive people, if you will. He likes the golden look. I`ve looked at the cabinet picks he`s made. He seems to want everything to look like it belongs in Trump Tower.

What else can you tell us along those lines of his kind of wealth -- I might call it monetary aestheticism? It has to do with wealth and look and everything.

FINEMAN: And uniforms.

JACKSON: Well, I will say this, Chris, just based on my experiences on the ground here in Fayetteville and out with the president-elect since he`s been elected, and that is that whatever the aesthetic is, it is playing very well with those who put him into the office to select these positions. I sat with about six people from the (INAUDIBLE) today, about an hour at a restaurant here, and we were talking about his cabinet picks. And some of what you just were saying came up a little bit, right, who he might pick. What if he picks an establishment guy like a Mitt Romney for secretary of state versus a Rudy Giuliani? Who do you like that he`s put in his administration so far?

And you know the name that came up again and again? It wasn`t James Mattis, right? It wasn`t Tom Price. It was Ben Carson. Now, that maybe because Ben Carson was just in the news yesterday or the day before, but I think there was a sense that a lot of folks like the idea that he was bringing in somebody who had been critical of him and who he had been critical of, but who had become an ally and sort of the people knew from the presidential race.

And I found that interesting. And someone notable in that -- again, it wasn`t some of these other picks that you might have expected folks to be talking about. I think you`re right. I did had one source close to the transition tell me, you know, appearance does matter for the president- elect, you know, somebody that would, for example, for secretary of state, have that bearing to be an international diplomat and to represent the United States abroad.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s a casting call. Anyway, today President Obama defended his administration`s counterterrorism approach in a speech down in MadDill Air Force base in Tampa. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs or deploying more and more troops, or fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat.

A sustainable counterterrorism strategy depends on keeping the threat in perspective. The terrorist threat is real and it is dangerous. But these terrorists want to cast themselves as the vanguard of a new world order. They are not. They are thugs and they are murderers and they should be treated that way.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, the world must wonder, guys, about the choice of presidents we make because we don`t have a pattern, you know? There`s no theme...

FINEMAN: Well, we do have a pattern...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Obama (INAUDIBLE) Trump, and the one guy`s sort of sophisticated, long view. The other guy is loud and now!

FINEMAN: Well, we do have a pattern, Chris.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: We followed George W. Bush, who was seen as reacting to the moment, as a visceral gunfighter.

MATTHEWS: Right.

FINEMAN: And he portrayed himself as such, at least for the first many years of his administration. We replaced the visceral gunfighter with the cerebral, long view of Barack Obama. And now after the cerebral long view of Barack Obama, we`ve gone back to the gunslinger, only moreso.

MATTHEWS: Yes!

FINEMAN: I mean, in physics, the pendulum slows. In American politics, the pendulum swings faster and faster.

MATTHEWS: Heidi, this is mostly what I would call fickle.

PRZYBYLA: I don`t think...

MATTHEWS: But I`m not sure. (INAUDIBLE) right, I think we correct every four years from the past eight years, we correct, and we sometimes -- by the way, it`s getting harder and harder to get re-elected in this country, if you look at these margins. Nobody comes in like a big second term anymore. Those days are over. You fight for your second term.

PRZYBYLA: I just don`t know that his foreign policy, though, that we know that he has a clear -- that the people who elected him really had a clear vision of that because he also cast himself as anti-nation-building and as someone who was going to take us out of the Middle East.

FINEMAN: Nation building is a peaceful answer. I mean, nation building...

MATTHEWS: Yes, OK.

FINEMAN: ... is in part a peaceful answer.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: ... if you do anything, you`re dropping bombs.

MATTHEWS: "The Wall Street Journal" Jerry Seib (ph) is fantastic at this, and he talked about the fact that the man doesn`t have an "ism." I don`t think we can say what Trump is. Is it hawkishness or dovishness? Complicated because he wants to have a stronger military.

Anyway, here he is. "The "Wall Street Journal`s" Jerry Seib today wrote that Trump could be a post-ideological president. "It`s nearly impossible," he wrote, "to identify clear ideological bent of any kind in the incoming president`s early moves. It`s probably a mistake to try because the definitions of left and right, liberal and conservative, are being scrambled right before our eyes."

PRZYBYLA: Well, you know, I think that`s true...

MATTHEWS: I don`t...

PRZYBYLA: Here`s the thing, OK? We don`t know what his foreign policy is going to be yet. It`s very...

MATTHEWS: Is it Mitt Romney or John Bolton?

PRZYBYLA: His team is not in place yet, but his domestic policy is coming into pretty clear focus, Chris. You already see, there`s a great story today out on how the Heritage Foundation is going to be kind of the mind behind a lot of his domestic policy. They have very clear views on this stuff, and that`s why you hear Mike Pence already starting to talk about block granting Medicaid.

They have a clear vision on deregulating the markets, deregulating Wall Street, privatizing the social safety net. And I think, as journalists, we have a responsibility to start to explain to people who voted for Trump, in very clear terms, what that means.

I had a great conversation with an older journalist today about how many people in America don`t even understand kind of the civics background behind Medicare and the social compact that we created to stop poverty among the elderly.

FINEMAN: Well, I agree completely with Heidi that on foreign policy, the bluster -- we`re not sure where he`s going to take the bluster, the -- you know, where he`s going with that.

But I think in domestic policy, you have to say that they`re going after -- they`re accepting no first principles that have been part of the American social and political compact since the New Deal and since...

PRZYBYLA: The Great Society.

FINEMAN: ... the Great Society, in particular.

MATTHEWS: So should poor people be worried, who depend on government for food stamps -- even...

FINEMAN: Well, what Donald Trump...

MATTHEWS: ... minimal assistance?

FINEMAN: What Donald Trump is going to say, what the Heritage Foundation said going back to 1980 with their first report for Ronald Reagan, is that there are ways to make the free market serve poor people. This was Jack Kemp`s dream.

MATTHEWS: I know.

FINEMAN: However, in reality, the fact is that half the American people depend in one way or another on government help, and they`re going to still need it. I think somewhere in Donald Trump`s mind, he knows that to remain popular, he`s got to be careful. But the default setting is going to be...

MATTHEWS: OK...

FINEMAN: ... privatize, privatize, and privatize.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you a question, with a liberal perspective. Why do conservatives believe that the best way to help the rich is give them stuff -- tax cuts, more money, give them benefits, and the best way to encourage poor people is cut their programs? Hurt the poor, help the rich. Why do they use different incentives...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: ... they have a fundamental distrust of the role of government. This is -- they`re saying it all gets wasted in government. Cut out the middleman, and let`s have free markets in the extreme. That`s their answer.

And talk about pendulum swings. They`re insisting that a pendulum is going to swing away from the Great Society and even the New Deal.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: When are they going to -- when are the Republicans going to thank Obama for tripling their wealth in eight years? Because the stock market`s gone from 6 to 19. Haven`t they noticed?

PRZYBYLA: Well, I think this is one of the things that Democrats will privately say they`re very concerned about, which is that they feel that Obama has really set Donald Trump on a great glide path in terms of the fundamentals of the economy.

MATTHEWS: Nobody thanks him. Nobody thanks -- they treat Obama...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: I`m going to see him at the Christmas party tomorrow night, and I`m going to thank him.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) The Republicans have done very well. Thank you, Hallie...

FINEMAN: At least on the 401(k)s.

MATTHEWS: Hallie Jackson, thank you, down in Fayetteville, North Carolina, ready for the big show tonight. And Howard Fineman and Heidi Przybyla -- you`re all great guests -- Heidi -- Hallie, great work down there.

Coming up, the case to reject or not elect Donald Trump. A Republican presidential elector argues that Trump demonstrates every day that he`s not qualified for the office. He says this elector -- he says he won`t cast his electoral vote for Trump, even though he`s elected -- he was chosen (INAUDIBLE) He`s urging others to do the same, to stop Trump now at the Electoral College in December. We`ll see where that`s going.

Plus, the dramatic fall of Chris Christie. Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. He`s out of favor with the Trump transition team and now he`s set an all- time low of job approval. He`s looking for a job at the RNC. Geez, that`s desperate.

And we will continue to keep an eye on the Trump victory rally in North Carolina, where Trump`s expected to introduce his pick for defense chief.

Finally, let me finish with "Trump Watch" for this Tuesday night.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: You`re looking at a live picture right now from Fayetteville, North Carolina. It`s the latest stop on Donald Trump`s, well, self-styled thank you tour. Tonight, he`s expected to introduce retired general James "mad dog" Mattis, his pick for Pentagon chief. We`re going to keep an eye on that rally and take you there if something big happens.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, this is going to be wild. Welcome back to HARDBALL. When the 538 people who make up the actual Electoral College meet in Washington this month -- actually, December 19th -- to officially cast their vote for president, one Republican elector among them who`s pledged to support Donald Trump now says he will not vote for Trump.

Chris Suprun is a Texas paramedic and presidential elector. He wrote in "The New York Times" today -- the lead column, by the way -- quote, "The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional vote, duty, actually, to vote their conscience."

"I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Governor John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be. Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. On December 19th, I will do it again."

Suprun, by the way, spoke to my colleague Andrea Mitchell earlier today on MSNBC. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER SUPRUN, TEXAS ELECTOR: I`m sure that there are other electors who are not comfortable with Mr. Trump, but I`m not leading a movement, I`m trying to make sure I`ve got a clean conscience at the end of the day.

I think the Electoral College is exactly the right process to look at a candidate and say, Hey, we need to pull an emergency brake. We had 50 Republicans who were national security experts and foreign policy experts during the campaign say that Mr. Trump was unqualified for office and a potential dangerous president.

And perhaps that`s a subjective issue, but objectively, as an elector, I can look at the emoluments clause and say, Look, Mr. Trump, you are making sales calls when you conduct your foreign policy. That is expressly forbidden in the Constitution. That is a danger to our public, and the Electoral College is here to do exactly what I think I`m doing, which is standing up and saying no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, up until now, ever since the beginning of this country, we`ve had 157 faithless electors in our Electoral College history, according to Fairroad.org (ph), and they`ve never decided a presidential election. By the way, the most recent example was in 2004, when an unknown Minnesota elector who was pledged to vote for John Kerry cast a presidential vote for his running mate, John Edwards, instead, and thereby voting for Edwards twice, president and vice president.

Many people think that was a simple mechanical mistake by that delegate -- by that elector. I think it was.

Anyway, Michael Steele is the former chair of the Republican National Committee. Who would want John Edwards both as president and vice president? And also an MSNBC analyst. And Ken Vogel is the chief investigative reporter for Politico.

You`ve been laughing. You`ve been champing at the bit. The reason I want to do this tonight is to begin a little bit of education as to the Electoral College, how it works. And here`s a guy who says he`s not bound.

Now, in 29 states plus D.C., where we are right now, you do what you`re told under the law or else you pay a fine. Well, I guess you could do that.

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, you can. I mean, I`m an elector in Maryland, so I know...

MATTHEWS: How`s it feel?

STEELE: It`s great. The perks are amazing! No, but I won`t get to cast because Trump didn`t win Maryland, so that`s not a problem. But I understand -- look, I understand principally and ideally where he`s coming from. I get it. But you know, you don`t have that ability to just kind of willy-nilly go into that session and vote how...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go...

KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Well, you do in Texas because it`s one of the 21 states where...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, suppose the president of the United States gets elected, in a universe where anything can happen, it`s almost -- we`re there almost -- and he just starts doing jumping jacks, flipping around the world like a crazy guy. And from the time he`s elected, he begins to act, you know, certifiable, like a nut. What would you do then in the Electoral College? Vote for somebody who`s certifiably crazy? So I`m just -- (INAUDIBLE) conceptual here. What would you have the conscience to do? Ken?

VOGEL: Well, clearly, this guy is suggesting that Donald Trump is already doing that. However, Texas, it should be pointed out, is one of the states that Ted Cruz won in the Republican primary, and there are a number of where Ted Cruz won or other candidates won in the primary and then Donald Trump won in the general.

So theoretically, if we were looking for fertile turf for folks like this elector to go and recruit other people to vote against Trump, even though they`re supposed to vote for Trump, those would be the places to go.

Now, we also have Democratic electors who are offering to team up with these Republican electors and not vote for Hillary Clinton and instead vote for a compromise candidate like a John Kasich. So theoretically, the possibility is there, it`s just so, so, so slim that...

MATTHEWS: Here`s my thought. Whatever we think of Trump, and I said, when I`m my best behavior, mixed bag...

STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... very mixed bag, that we all knew what we were getting. This guy wasn`t some phantom candidate. He was out there. So the time to get activated, if you`re on the progressive side of things, on the left, was to get out there, not vote for Jill Stein, not to go, Oh, I don`t know who I`m for. Vote for Hillary Clinton. That was the time to do it.

If you wanted to vote for another Republican, the primaries were your time. There were openings for public opinion in this campaign, and people didn`t take them. Some of these protesters in LA -- I like protests. They`re fine, especially non-violent ones. A lot of the guys in the protest didn`t vote! And they`re protesting the right of an election they didn`t bother to vote in. It doesn`t -- it does make sense, you`re lazy.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: OK. Go ahead. You`re a bum, I think you are. But that`s my thought. I voted.

JACKSON: Well, here`s the rub on all of this. You know, I get -- I get how people feel about it. But at the end of the day, you just made the argument. I mean, this was -- this character, this candidate, this individual was not a surprise to anyone in this election. And you had so many opportunities to not have the outcome that we have. But here we are.

So do you really think that at this stage that there are going to be that many electors who are going to go to their state capitals or come to Washington and go, No? It`s just not going to happen.

MATTHEWS: Well, this is going to be wild.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

When the 538 people who make up the actual Electoral College meet in Washington this month, actually, December 19, to officially cast their vote for president, one Republican elector among them who has pledged to support Donald Trump now says he will not vote for Trump.

Chris Suprun is a Texas paramedic and presidential elector. He wrote in "The New York Times" today, the lead column, by the way -- quote -- "The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional vote, duty, actually, to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman, such as Governor John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

"Fifteen years, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. On December 19, I will do it again."

Suprun, by the way, spoke to my colleague Andrea Mitchell earlier today on MSNBC.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS SUPRUN, TEXAS ELECTOR: I`m sure that there are other electors who are not comfortable with Mr. Trump, but I`m not leading a movement. I`m trying to make sure I have got a clean conscience at the end of the day.

I think the Electoral College is exactly the right process to look at a candidate and say, hey, we need to pull an emergency break. We had 50 Republicans who were national security experts and foreign policy experts during the campaign say that Mr. Trump was unqualified for office and a potential dangerous president.

And perhaps that`s a subjective issue, but, objectively, as an elector, I can look at the Emoluments Clause and say, look, Mr. Trump, you`re making sales calls when you conduct your foreign policy. That is expressly forbidden in the Constitution. That is a danger to our republic, and the Electoral College is here to do exactly what I think I`m doing, which is standing up and saying no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, up until now, ever since the beginning of this country, we have had 157 faithless electors in our Electoral College history, according to FairVote.org, and they have never decided a presidential election.

By the way, the most recent example was in 2004, when an unknown Minnesota elector who was pledged to vote for John Kerry cast their presidential vote for his running mate, John Edwards, instead, thereby voting for Edwards twice, president and vice president. Many people think that was a simple mechanical mistake by that delegate, by that elector. I think it was.

Anyway Michael Steele is the former chair of the Republican National Committee.

Who would want John Edwards both as president and vice president?

And also an MSNBC analyst. And Ken Vogel is the chief investigative reporter for Politico.

Gentlemen, you have been laughing. You have been champing at the bit.

The reason I want to do this tonight is to begin a little bit of education as to the Electoral College how it works. And here`s a guy who says he`s not bound. Now, in 29 states plus D.C., where we are right now, you do what you`re told under the law, or else you pay a fine. Well, I guess you can do that.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, you can. I`m an elector in Maryland. So, I know...

MATTHEWS: How`s it feel?

KORNACKI: It`s great.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: The perks are amazing.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: No, but I won`t get to cast, because Trump didn`t win Maryland.

So, it`s not a problem. But I understand. Look, I understand principally and ideally where he`s coming from. I get it.

But you don`t have that ability to just kind of willy-nilly go into that session and vote however you...

(CROSSTALK)

KENNETH VOGEL, POLITICO: Well, you do, in Texas, because it`s one of the 21 states where...

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Yes, you do.

MATTHEWS: Well, suppose the president of the United States gets elected -- in a universe where anything can happen, it`s almost -- we`re there almost -- and he just starts doing jumping jacks, flipping around more like a crazy guy.

And from the time he`s elected, he begins to act certifiable, like a nut. What would you do then in the Electoral College? Vote for somebody who`s certifiably crazy? I`m just being conceptual here. What would you have the conscience to do?

VOGEL: Well, clearly, this guy is suggesting that Donald Trump is already doing that.

However, Texas, it should be pointed out, is one of the states that Ted Cruz won in the Republican primary. And there are a number where Ted Cruz won or other candidates won in the primary, and then Donald Trump won in the general. So, theoretically, if we were looking for fertile turf for folks like this elector to go and recruit other people to vote against Trump, even though they`re supposed to vote for Trump, those would be the places to go.

Now, we also have Democratic electors who are offering to team up with these Republican electors and not vote for Hillary Clinton, and instead vote for a compromise candidate like a John Kasich.

So, theoretically, the possibility is there. It`s just so, so, so slim.

MATTHEWS: Here`s my thought. Whatever we think of Trump -- and I said, when I`m on my best behavior, a mixed bag, very mixed bag -- that we all knew what we were getting.

KORNACKI: Right. Yes.

MATTHEWS: This guy wasn`t some phantom candidate. He was out there.

So the time to get activated if you`re on the progressive side of things, on the left, was to get out there and not vote for Jill Stein, not to go, oh, I don`t know who I`m for. Vote for Hillary Clinton. That was the time to do it.

VOGEL: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: If you wanted to vote for another Republican, the primaries were your time. There were openings for public opinion in this campaign.

And people didn`t take them. Some of these protesters in L.A. -- I like protests. They`re fine, especially nonviolent ones. A lot of the guys in the protest didn`t vote. And they`re protesting the right of an election they didn`t bother to vote in. It doesn`t make any -- it does make sense. You`re lazy.

All right, go ahead. OK, go ahead. You`re a bum. I think you are. But that`s my thought. I vote.

KORNACKI: But here`s the rub on all of this.

I get how people feel about it. But at the end of the day, you just made the argument. This was -- this character, this candidate, this individual was not a surprise to anyone in this election. And you had so many opportunities to not have the outcome that we have.

But here we are. So, do you really think that, at this stage, that they`re going to be that many electors who are going to go to their state capitals or come to Washington and go, no? It`s just not going to happen.

MATTHEWS: Why did "The New York Times" put this guy`s column at the very top?

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Because "The New York Times" wanted to have fun. They are politicking.

VOGEL: But, also, I think there is an effort to use folks like this and the Democratic electors who are volunteering to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton to drive a bigger conversation about the Electoral College, which is a pretty archaic...

MATTHEWS: You think that is what "The Times" was up to?

VOGEL: Yes, absolutely. Well...

MATTHEWS: You think there`s any chance in our lifetime?

VOGEL: No, I don`t think so.

MATTHEWS: It takes three-quarters of the states. And, by the way, the little states like Idaho like it.

(CROSSTALK)

VOGEL: I mean, we right now have at least nine electors going into the vote saying that they`re going to vote for someone other the person for whom they are bound or supposed to vote for. That`s significant.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, class act again from a fellow I like. Ohio Governor John Kasich addressed any elector who chooses to vote for him instead of president-elect Trump. Here`s what he said.

"I am not a candidate for president and ask those electors not to vote for me when they gather later this month. Our country had an election and Donald Trump won."

Isn`t it great to hear from a serious person once in a while?

KORNACKI: Yes. No, he says the right thing.

And, look, there`s no love lost between Kasich and Trump, for sure. But I think, instead of egging this on and sort of making -- getting more hay out of it, I think the governor did the right thing, the smart thing and say, look, guys, look, this has happened.

Regardless of what you think about the Electoral College and regardless what you think about the outcome of the popular vote, at the end of the day, Donald Trump won. Let the country now heal.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I have got some news for Jill Stein. Next time -- and I like you as a public figure -- vote and encourage others to vote for the Democratic nominee for president. You will have more influence than this third and fourth party nonsense.

Anyway, Ralph Nader should have taught us that one. Anyway, it doesn`t work. Third parties just screw up the results. If you`re on the left, help the left win.

Anyway, thank you, Michael Steel.

If you`re on the right, I suppose same thing.

Ken Vogel, you`re a great reporter.

Up next -- and you`re a great party chairman.

KORNACKI: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Who is the guy in there now?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next: how the mighty have fallen, Chris Christie mortally wounded by Bridgegate. My God, the people think he was the guy that fingered the bridge. He said put the cones out there. Maybe he didn`t put the cones out there. We`re looking at the polls now that said they think he ordered the cones put out there. Remember that? "I didn`t put the cones out there."

And now utterly rejected by his voters back home in Jersey. They don`t like him up there. Republicans don`t like him.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Governor Chris Christie, folks, was unbelievable.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you, Chris.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Despite that fist up there, I`m not sure he`s having a good year.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was president-elect Trump during his victory speech on election night thanking Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey for his early and vocal support. Well, two days later, Christie was given the old heave-ho as he was pushed out as chair of the Trump transition team.

Politico reported that the president-elect called the governor to tell him that he had become a political liability. That`s strong words. And, today, there`s even more bad news for the governor of Jersey. A new Quinnipiac University poll has the governor`s approval rating -- and he`s still the governor halfway through a term -- he`s got another year to go -- at 19 percent, a record low.

A whopping 77 percent of New Jersey voters disapprove of the work he`s doing as governor. That`s about four out of five. Christie has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the 20-year history of Quinnipiac polls. How the mighty have fallen.

For more, I`m joined right now by an expert on our network. That`s MSNBC anchor Steve Kornacki.

How much personality liability do you take for bringing this guy down, Steve?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: How much...

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Chris Christie can...

MATTHEWS: You did the bridge story better than anybody else. You brought it to life. You brought it to Rachel. You brought it to me. You really did an amazing job explaining it, of doing the reporting from a local perspective.

And it really seemed to be one of those very small stories, I mean, cones out on a bridge, to being this blastoff of a political career.

KORNACKI: Yes.

Well, remember the time that that -- that was the end of 2013, when that was all happening. Chris Christie had just won reelection in New Jersey, more than 60 percent of the vote. He was -- he was seen as the guy who could talk to the Republican base nationally and excite them, and connect with them in the way Donald Trump ultimately did it.

But, unlike Trump, Christie was seen as the guy who could also be acceptable to the party elites. At that moment, before that story came out and a bunch of other things, it was not unreasonable to say Chris Christie was going to be the Republican candidate for president in 2016.

MATTHEWS: He came in as a prosecutor, and he left almost as being prosecuted. I mean, the fact that 70-some president of the people now believe that he did now understand and know about the bridge closing as a political get-back kind of thing, as a revenge move against the Democratic mayor in Fort Lee who wouldn`t back him for reelection, they believe Megyn (sic) Kelly. They believe all the others witnesses against him.

KORNACKI: Right.

And this has been the cloud that just won`t go away for him, because, obviously, the legal proceedings just dragged out, really, for years, we`re talking about. You finally got those convictions, you know, in the last couple of months, but, again, something that started in September 2013, did not work its way through the court system really until the fall of 2016, so three years there.

The headlines never went away. There were revelations here, there were revelations there.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

KORNACKI: These numbers for him right now are obviously not good at all in New Jersey.

But this has been the story for him in New Jersey for a long time now, a guy who got reelected, again, with more than 60 percent of the vote just three years ago. Voters in New Jersey have been sending a message to these polls that they`re kind of ready for the Christie administration to be done for a while now.

MATTHEWS: The first sign of why I didn`t like him -- I mean, I liked him as a political figure, as he`s knocked off Corzine. I thought they made fun of him for being overweight. And I thought that was a great sign of feebleness on the part of the Democrats up there to make a shot at a guy physically like that.

And I thought that that`s one of the reasons he won. But then he got into office, and the first thing he did is say, I`m not going to build that tunnel into New York, where everybody knows there`s incredible traffic problems up there. You need infrastructure. And he did it for some thing he was doing with the skyline or something, the Pulaski skyline.

That was the first sign. Now, you`re the expert. What was he up to in terms of those kind of policy decisions that got him -- he lost his popularity, I think, because of that.

KORNACKI: Yes.

Well, canceling that tunnel at the time actually, I think, worked for him, just in terms of the politics of it in New Jersey, because he framed it as, look, the New Jersey -- he said New Jersey taxpayers are getting screwed. We`re on the hook for too much here. I`m going to stand up.

What he framed it as, really, at that moment, when he canceled that project -- that was at the end of 2010, I believe, 2010, 2011 -- it was the Tea Party moment. It was the national Republican Party was all -- all of the sort of momentum was about spending, about reining in the size of government, reining in government spending.

And Chris Christie sort of staged a moment there. Again, the guy is a master communicator. Say whatever you want about him. The guy is an incredible communicator. He has a flare for the dramatic. He knows how to simplify things, simplify messages, really get them across.

And he picked that as sort of a moment. I`m going to stand up -- he said, I`m going to stand up to Barack Obama`s federal Transportation Department on behalf of New Jersey taxpayers.

In that moment, it worked. Now, longer term, obviously, there are some major transportation issues in terms of getting between New York and New York City. Canceling that tunnel certainly complicated that. And right now, I think it`s the kind of thing that`s used as a weapon against him and one of those things that New Jersey voters might not like.

But, in that moment, I do think it worked for him.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Traffic`s not getting any better.

Anyway, Steve Kornacki, congratulations on your journalism. I think you did have a role in this. Rachel did, too, of course. And I think the fact is, keeping an eye on these guys, and I think -- I do wonder what he really had -- I still don`t know his role. And I`m not going to ask you the answer, because I don`t think anybody has the -- there`s a lot of murkiness about the way he went.

But I don`t think Megyn -- rather, Bridget Kelly was out there working on her own. I have worked in politics. You do what you think the boss wants. The boss sees what you`re doing. And it works that way. You don`t have to give orders to get control of people under you. And I always think that, as Michael Dukakis put it, the fish rots from the top.

Anyway, up next, the HARDBALL roundtable is coming here, as Donald Trump continues to reimagine the presidency, his presidency. He is bringing out General James "Mad Dog" Mattis just minutes from now at his thank you rally down in North Carolina.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re waiting right now for Donald Trump to resume his "thank you" tour with a rally in North Carolina. That rally was set to begin minutes from now, actually, it was set to begin a while ago. It comes as a new poll shows the popularity of the deal he struck, apparently struck with Carrier.

According to a Morning Consult poll, 60 percent of Americans say they view Trump more favorably after his negotiations with Carrier, and that kept roughly a thousand jobs in the country. However, that poll also found that Trump`s overall favorable is still stuck at 48 percent, which is virtually the same it was in mid-November.

I`m joined right now by the roundtable. Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent for the "Daily Mail," Asawin Suebsaeng is a reporter with "The Daily Beast", and Kim Ghattas is, well, she covers Washington for the BBC.

This is quite an international evening here, starting with you, Kim.

KIM GHATTAS, BBC: And I cover international as well, not just Washington.

MATTHEWS: I know. Here`s what I`m thinking. I said before, I compared this to riding in a New York cab, the ping-pong of wind news. There`s something always something going. Every ping pong moment, there`s something new.

Trump feels he`s got to keep the audience. He`s got to have something to show everyday. The Japanese $50 billion deal, the Carrier deal, taking a shot at Boeing, you know, gold plating, saving tax dollars.

GHATTAS: It`s the razzle-dazzle.

MATTHEWS: Boom, boom, boom, your thoughts?

GHATTAS: It`s the razzle-dazzle approach.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GHATTAS: With the Carrier deal, I think what he did there was very smart. He shows the people that he can have a quick fix, it feels good, it looks good.

It`s not sustainable. He can`t do that with many more companies. It`s a business deal approach to the economy, which is not sustainable in the long-term. But in the short-term, it helps him get more love from the people, which is what --

MATTHEWS: The average guy or woman out there is thinking, at least the guy`s alive. He`s doing stuff. There`s somebody home. And he`s fighting for us. I`m thinking that`s what they like.

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, back to Kim`s point about this, this is about boom, boom, boom, it sort of apropos --

MATTHEWS: Well, that was my point. She followed up on it.

SUEBSAENG: Oh, well, congratulations.

MATTHEWS: Did you bring sarcasm with you today?

SUEBSAENG: A little bit.

MATTHEWS: OK, hold it to yourself.

SUEBSAENG: Right. Back to the point of how performative this was, as more details of the Carrier detail emerged, like how the Carrier union boss came out today or yesterday to say that Donald Trump lied his butt off about the deal, the number of jobs saved, the number of union jobs was actually significantly lower than what Donald Trump and his transition team had come out and said, again this is another example of how the razzle-dazzle --

MATTHEWS: So, you think it`s funny? You think it`s funny?

SUEBSAENG: Part of it is, and part of it is spin. And this was a stunt. And a very popular --

MATTHEWS: Should he have done nothing?

SUEBSAENG: Not nothing, but it certainly is a stunt that it doesn`t say much about how a Trump --

MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with saving non-union jobs?

GHATTAS: Well, then every company in the country wants to do the same for them.

MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with saving non-union jobs?

SUEBSAENG: There`s nothing --

MATTHEWS: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

SUEBSAENG: No, but if you say you saved a thousand jobs, it`s really 700, that`s a lie.

MATTHEWS: It`s better that be zero.

(CROSSTALK)

GHATTAS: But the issue is this cannot be replicated with every company. It`s about incentives and threats of retribution. And that is not economic policy in the long-term, as what it does is it makes people feel good in the short-term, but that is not sustainable.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: So, this is why the White House has said that in order to match President Obama`s record on jobs, President Trump would have to make one of these carrier deals, essentially, two times every single week in his presidency. So as you were saying, that`s not necessarily sustainable. We`re seeing --

MATTHEWS: Who`s saying this?

CHAMBERS: This was the White House that was --

MATTHEWS: So they`re challenging this guy?

CHAMBERS: They`re challenging him saying, you would have to do two of these a week. So, you`re talking about sustainable. It`s maybe potentially easy for him to have a couple of these razzle-dazzle ideas a week right now, but to continue to do that through four years of his president would be very difficult.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s see if he can. Anyway, in a speech today, defending his counterterrorism strategy, President Obama said the only way for terrorists to win is if this country loses sight of its own values. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These terrorists can never directly destroy our way of life. But we can do it for them if we lose track of who we are and the values that this nation was founded upon. In this fight, we have to uphold the civil liberties that define us. Terrorists want us to turn on one another. And while defeating them requires us to draw upon the enormous capabilities of all of our governments, we have to make sure changes in how we address terrorists are not abused.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Is he talking to Trump? I mean, he`s a gentleman, but he`s still talking to Trump, it seems to me.

CHAMBER: Sure, at a certain point, he laid out five things that he thought the next administration should follow up and should focus on and that`s when he mentioned civil liberties as one of those things. He did spend a significant amount of time in the speech laying out his counterterror strategy and why he did the things that he did and defending his legacy and essentially saying, look, even if I had left troops in Iraq, hadn`t taken them out, we might still be in this situation because of the issues that were happening in Iraq with the government and social media and things like that.

MATTHEWS: Asawin, let me ask you about Guantanamo, because this has been a bugaboo for the president. And it`s the old problem of NIMBY, not in my backyard. The Congress would never allow them to move the prisoners. Some of them are in this murky area between -- you know, they`re not quite provable in civilian courts, but we know they`re dangerous.

SUEBSAENG: Sure. And President Obama said in a speech, basically on his way out the door that Guantanamo, even though his excuse for this is Congress wouldn`t allow me to close it, and because of this, this is an ongoing stain on our nation`s character, who I don`t think that very many people at the ACLU or Amnesty International are feeling optimistic about what Presidenkt-elect Donald Trump would do about Guantanamo, but back to the --

MATTHEWS: Probably pack it fuller.

SUEBSAENG: Well --

MATTHEWS: They say it again. Pence I think says more.

SUEBSAENG: Well, Mitt Romney back in, I think even 2008, the primary, who I think we can all agree is significantly more moderate, shall we say, than Donald Trump, said that we needed to double Guantanamo. So, we`ll see what happens.

GHATTAS: It`s the pendulum that keeps swinging, that you were talking about earlier in the show as well, about American approach to foreign policy, international affairs, and to dealing with terrorism. And are we going back to the days of the George W. Bush administration, that tried to throw everything at, you know, militants and terrorists out there?

But that, that, you know, aggravates the problem in many ways. It doesn`t necessarily solve it. And 15 years into several wars against al Qaeda and now against is, you know, those wars have not been won.

So, clearly, there needs to be a new approach. I`m just not sure that the new approach is the one that we believe Donald Trump will adopt from everything we`re hearing from him and some of the people he`s surrounding himself with. I think that going at it with all the fireworks that you have, with, you know, making the sand glow in the dark, as one other candidate had said, that only feeds the fire. And I think that`s not as a sustainable long-term solution.

MATTHEWS: It`s Cruz.

Anyway, President Obama said in his speech today on terrorism, that methods like waterboarding, which constitute torture, undermine our national security. That`s a point he`s made and he made it again today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Staying true to our traditions as a nature of laws advances our securities as well as our values. We prohibited torture, everywhere, at all times. And that includes tactics like waterboarding and at no time has anybody who has worked with me told me that doing so has cost us good intelligence.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So we`re going to have a difference in administrations.

CHAMBERS: Well, and you asked before if he was speaking to Donald Trump. There`s another example. The incoming administration has suggested that they would like to bring back waterboarding, to bring back some of these tactics.

MATTHEWS: Where`s Mad Dog on this?

(CROSSTALK)

SUEBSAENG: Well, he`s staunchly anti-torture.

MATTHEWS: Good.

CHAMBERS: But his incoming CIA director, Mike Pompeo, is assuming that the Senate confirms him has suggested that he would be in favor of bringing back waterboarding. So, there`s a difference of opinion in the administration and it`s more important what Donald Trump thinks about this, what the president-elect should think about this, because that would be the policy that they are pursuing. And he has suggested that he would like to bring it back.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SUEBSAENG: But there is also difference of opinion within the intelligence community itself, and also the CIA, where officers and people working within there have straight-up said, we will not do it if you tell us to. You will have to bring your own bucket. President Trump, we`ll resign over this.

But it`s -- this torture issue is a very important point, because you flash back to 2008, when Barack Obama was first running for president. Both he and John McCain ran against torture, euphemistically branded as enhanced interrogation, as if that`s supposed to make it sound better. It`s straight-up torture.

And Donald Trump ran and won on a torture platform, saying, let`s waterboard them even if we don`t get anything out of them because they deserve it.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well --

GHATTAS: But he met with Mattis and Mattis told him, there`s no information I couldn`t get from someone by just sitting down with him and having a chat. And Mr. Trump was very impressed by that. And he said so himself.

And I think going to Francesca`s point, it will be interesting to see which one of these different pulls will win out. Will it be Flynn, will it be Mattis, will be Pompeo?

MATTHEWS: It`s interesting. It`s up in the air. Isn`t it nice? There are some things that are still up in the air.

Anyway, the roundtable is -- how Trump is going to go. We know what the truth is.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And as we wait for Trump to take the stage in North Carolina, Fayetteville, these people will tell me something I don`t know.

We`ll be right back with HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow, join me for a special hour of news leading up to a big hour of HARDBALL. Starting at 6:00 Eastern tomorrow night, our pregame hour kicks off with all the day`s news and headlines from around the country. Then, at 7:00 Eastern, stay tuned for a full four of HARDBALL with all the fire and heat -- I love that -- from the day in politics.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Francesca, tell me something I don`t know.

CHAMBERS: Well, Democrats are still reeling from Hillary Clinton`s loss. She won technically by more than 2.5 million votes. But Donald Trump won because of the Electoral College.

They had their first hearing in 20 years on this matter. One of the issues presented was this national popular vote initiative that would say if states agree --

MATTHEWS: I know this. We had this on the show.

CHAMBERS: -- to come together up to 270 that they could agree and give them to the national popular vote. So, the first time Congress has actually discussed this in 20 years, though.

MATTHEWS: OK, great.

Asawin?

SUEBSAENG: With all of the noise and the in depth reporting around Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump`s incoming White House chief strategist, one thing I think that gets overlooked sometimes is his very quirky Hollywood screenwriting past, which included the works of Shakespeare in some weird ways, including a hip-hop Shakespearean musical set during the 1992 L.A. riots and Titus Andronicus set in outer space with space creatures.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Hard to beat that one.

Kim?

GHATTAS: I`m going to try. I`m just back from Beirut. I found reaction to the election of Donald Trump in the Middle East actually fascinating. In Beirut, what I heard was, of course, Hillary Clinton wouldn`t have won. America would have never allowed America to be ruled by a woman. They`re too conservative for that, too misogynistic.

The other reaction which I found fascinating was from Saudi Arabia after Richard Spencer held his "Heil victory, Heil Trump" celebration next to the White House, this Saudi prince tweeted, "America, we need to talk about your radicalization problem."

MATTHEWS: Radicalization. So this theory about America being misogynist, I`m open to all theories, but where was that in the polling going up to the election?

GHATTAS: I`m not sure that I actually saw any polls about that.

MATTHEWS: No, I mean, Hillary was winning in most of the polls all the way to the end.

GHATTAS: Yeah, but the conclusion in Beirut was that --

MATTHEWS: Was that projection? Was that their projection over there? How many women leaders do we have in the Middle East right now?

GHATTAS: Not that many. But you have women leaders in countries like Pakistan.

(CROSSTALK)

CHAMBERS: Speaking of the Harvard panel last week, too, and Kellyanne Conway said perhaps America is not ready for a woman. Perhaps America is just not ready for this woman.

SUEBSAENG: But also back to the misogyny point, you didn`t have to look far at all in this election to find a lot of misogyny.

GHATTAS: And I do think that as an Arab woman, I`ve had to deal with more sexism in America than I`ve had to deal with in some parts of the Middle East.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I was in Ireland about a month ago and I was telling everybody, don`t worry, Pennsylvania will be the firewall. It`s not going to happen.

It did, because in the suburbs men and women both voted less for Hillary than we thought they were going to. We thought the suburbs would own them.

GHATTAS: It`s not just men who commits misogyny. I mean, that`s --

MATTHEWS: Of course. There are issues like Right to Life people came out and voted against Hillary on that issue, that Trump was able to perhaps exploit but he did it effectively. He raised that issue in the burbs. It wasn`t all pro-choice out there.

And he found a way to isolate on his selection of where to go with his visits, which is very smart. I`m going to get to it in the end of the show. He knew where to go with this road show of his.

Hillary was taking it easy with one or two events a day. This guy was doing five or six. And he was going where it mattered. It was a better run campaign.

She won the debates, she won the money, she won the TV ads, she won the ground game, she won everything but the trips.

Anyway, thank you, Francesca Chambers. Thank you, Asawin Suebsaeng and Kim Ghattas.

And now it`s time for Trump Watch for this Tuesday, December 6th, 2016.

The president-elect is out there, as I said, on a "thank you" tour that should fill most of the days before Christmas. It should also give him what he seems to need most, what his people seemed to respond to the most, action, moving around and stirring up big rallies is what he and his road managers believe created the juice for his upsets in Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That what got him going on the way to victory in Ohio and then Florida, showing up, proving Woody Allen`s old line turns out to be once again true.

It`s certainly true of journalism I`ve noticed. If you look at Trump`s schedule heading into Election Day he certainly turned on the steam hitting far more stops and far more important areas in terms of electoral votes than his rival Hillary Clinton.

He won the debate, she did, She raised the most money, as I said. She had the best ground game. She had the best TV ads. Trump`s rallies, however, did a better job of juicing up excitement and making the connection where the decisive electoral votes were.

So, here`s Trump heading into the inauguration doing the same thing, showing up, juicing up his fans, putting on a show. For him, clearly, this show must go on.

So, this is going to be the next four years? Maybe. Continual appearances, relentless rah-rah, showbiz without stop.

I know what this is like. It`s like riding in a cab in New York City, listening to the local WIN (ph) radio, that`s the call letters, the constant ping-ponging of news from borough to the othes, from downtown Brooklyn to the Upper West Side, news, news, news, crash, boom, bah. News 24/7, news by the hour, by the minute. Just like in a city that never sleeps.

This seems to be what`s working for Trump and his legions. So what do you think? Will this be enough to keep this country enthralled? Can he keep all the balls in the air or drive us nuts?

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight on "ALL IN" --

(CHEERS)

The president-elect rallies in North Carolina as the current president delivers a farewell address to troops.

OBAMA: We are a nation that can criticize a president without retribution.

HAYES: Tonight, the warning from the president that reads like a rebuke to his successor, and the lingering concerns about Trump`s national security adviser after his son was fired in the wake of pizza-gate.

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