Show: HARDBALL Date: November 1, 2018 Guest: Ryan Costello; Eric Garcetti, Jamal Simmons, Mark Kelly, Adrienne Elrod, Dan David, Eugene Scott
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: So how do you say "Willie Horton" in Spanish? Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Stoking fear, anger, and anxiety, President Trump is going to new extremes to rile up white voters in red state, America. With just five days until the midterm elections, he has dead set on ending this campaign dirty.
In a stark move to exploit fear, President Trump yesterday tweeted an online ad, appealing to the worst instincts of his supporters saying, it is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our country.
The incendiary video an undocumented immigrant who was convicted of killing two police officers in 2014 to the Democratic Party fuelling new fears about the come of refugees and migrants traveling to the United States from Central America.
However, as "the Daily Beasts" reports that convicted murderer featured in that ad came to America under the Bush administration. The video is a remake, of course, of the notorious 1988 Willie Horton ad, which stoked racial fears to drive white voters away from the Democratic nominee at that point, Michael Dukakis.
But Trump`s appeal to voter anxiety is also consistent with the way he has used the presidency itself as a campaign weapon of the Republican Party. As "the Washington Post" reports, Trump has transformed parts of the federal bureaucracy into a factory of threats, directives and actions. He has deployed 5,000 troops to the southwest border. And the largest such operation since the Mexican revolution. And he is now saying troop levels could increase to 15,000.
Well, Trump repeatedly calls the situation at the border a national emergency, even although he has made no such declaration under the law. And some he has threatened the excessive use of executive powder to counter a Trumped up threat all in a naked bid to turn out his base next Tuesday.
Here`s how he defended himself to ABC News in an interview that aired just this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, you are talking about 10,000, maybe 15,000 active duty U.S. military to the border. More than we have fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, more than we have fighting ISIS in Syria. You are really going to do that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s very important. We have to have a wall of people, very highly trained people, terrific, dedicated patriots, that`s what they are. You have caravans coming up that look a lot larger than it`s reported, actually. I mean, I`m pretty good at estimating crowd size. And I will tell you, they look a lot bigger than people think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they are 900 miles away. The active duty military, you know the law, I mean, you are the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can`t arrest people crossing the border --
TRUMP: Well, it can depends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they are not allowed to --
TRUMP: National emergency covers a lot of territory. They can`t invade our country. You look at that, almost like an invasion. It really does look like an invasion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think the caravans are an invasion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It is like the old Colbert report with somebody being very serious as somebody who is not at all.
Anyway, the President fired up his fierce, stirring campaign with a speech today at the White House accusing many of those seeking asylum in our country of doing so fraudulently.
I`m joined right now by Shannon Pettypiece, White House reporter for Bloomberg News, Ryan Costello, Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and Eric Garcetti, of course, is the mayor, actually the mayor of Los Angeles. Thank you.
I will start with Shannon. This whole thing, it seems to be an election gig.
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: It`s --
MATTHEWS: Just for the election.
PETTYPIECE: Right. It`s just out of Trump`s playbook, 101. And it has been the Trump strategy for months now. To play up immigration in the final weeks of the election. That is the number one issue that motivates his base of supporters. Playing on their fears of physical safety from immigration. It`s one of their number one issues.
So they are ratcheting up the volume. And they have to turn up the volume to like a level 12 at this point, to get over the noise of the Pittsburgh, I shouldn`t call it noise, but the news around Pittsburgh, the mail bombings. It distracted from their message. And now he has to escalate it to a higher level, to try and get some attention and get everybody back on messages of immigration, which is what he wants them talking about in these final days.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, reacting to the video that the President posted to the top of his twitter feed today. Republican senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said this is a sickening ad. Republicans everywhere should denounce it. However, few other Republicans have even spoke out against it.
Congressman, let me ask you about this thing. It seems to me that he is not really aiming himself around voters in the suburbs or anywhere in Pennsylvania. What he is trying to do is go after the close elections in Nevada, Florida, Montana, let`s see, Missouri, and Indiana, the ones I have found that are very within a couple of points, thinking that a couple of points could be pushed over to his side, to his candidates and save -- in fact, build him a large majority in the Senate. This is all campaign talk. It`s all about -- it`s not about border or anything else. It`s about this election. And winning where he wants to win.
REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I agree that there`s a political --
MATTHEWS: Is that right?
COSTELLO: Well, I agree.
MATTHEWS: What`s the policy calculus to this?
COSTELLO: Well, look. If the political calculus to this, if there even is one, is to twist those red states Democrat Senate candidates. For me, if I`m running in the suburbs, I would rather be talking about the highest wage growth in over a decade, the lowest employment in 49 years, more funding for NIH, more funding for vets` health care, more funding for any number of things. So this is not helpful for suburban Republicans. I can tell you that.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s trading the house to win the Senate for the red states? Because that`s where the action is, where he is going.
COSTELLO: I don`t know -- I don`t -- it`s hard for me to tell if he really -- if there`s a political calculus to -- if he gets that nuanced. I`m not sure that he does. Sometimes -- look, I think when he said that he knows how to count big crowd sizes, I think some of this stuff is just to trigger the libs. I mean, that`s -- some of what he does is just to get into Democrats` heads and then they overplay their hands at times.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to the mayor on this.
Mayor Garcetti, thank you for coming on. I have been around, you have been around. We know what Willie Horton ads look like. The shroud of terrain picture of an African-American guy, a rapist, and say, he is the Democratic Party.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: Yes.
MATTHEWS: He is the poster. I mean, I know this game. Your thoughts.
GARCETTI: Well, clearly the President`s having trouble governing, effectively at a time he should be running on his record, he is running from it. If the middle class felt that this tax break was so great for them, he would have been talking about it. If they felt that the national deficit or the trade deficit was getting better, he would be talking about it. If health care had improved, as he promised, he would be talking about it. But he has failed. He just doesn`t know how to govern effectively. So, of course, he is going back to a different playbook of distracting us. He is politicizing our military. He is attacking our free press. He is trying to run roughshod over the constitution. And Americans are better than that. And they want leaders who are listening to their concerns.
Eighty percent of Americans right now in a poll from yesterday are concerned about violence. But not violence from the caravan, not violence from North Korea, not violence from any enemy of the state, but from our own political leaders that has resulted in the sort of tragedies that we just saw this last weekend in a synagogue, in a grocery store, and throughout our mail system.
These things have to stop. Don`t get distracted is my message to Democrats. Keep talking about what Americans care about. Be listeners and they will see through who this guy is.
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump today denied he was politicizing the column of refugees coming from Central America, but in doing so, he made a blatant appeal to women voters. Here he goes. Watch him with his scare tactics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to the critics who think this is a political thing for the midterms?
TRUMP: There`s nothing political about a caravan of thousands of people, and now others forming, pouring up into our country. We have no idea who they are. All we know is they are pretty tough people, when they can blast through the Mexican military and Mexican police. They are pretty tough people. I don`t want them in our country. And women don`t want them in our country. Women want security. Men don`t want them in our country, but the women do not want them. Women want security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, Shannon, his address to the gender?
PETTYPIECE: Well, he has been told by his advisers that one of the big issues driving his core supporter of women voters is there`s concern about physical safety and there are concerns about economic security. So he is deliberately going after this base, playing up this threat about this, sort of exaggerating the threat of this caravan.
MATTHEWS: The Honduran male.
PETTYPIECE: Right --
MATTHEWS: Serious, that`s what he - he is pretty carnal. I mean, what is he up to here?
PETTYPIECE: He went on to say to portray this caravan, which is mostly women and children. Again, if you want to talk about issues that play well with women, it would be sympathy for women and children fleeing, you know, a terrible economic situation. He also -- but he is trying to portray this caravan as violent. He talked about them throwing rocks and how the military could open fire on him, if they do that.
You know, he is trying to turn this into this angry mob. Which, of course, it`s that angry mob mentality, is the type of thing that stokes these fears and that ad, the Willie Horton-style ad, where there were these images of a mob of people tearing the down a fence. That is the image he wants to portray of this caravan.
MATTHEWS: And congressman Ryan, it seems to me that no matter how high the wall, no matter how many soldiers are there, if you are in trouble, if you are looking for a job and you hear an illegal guy, somebody comes into the country without documentation can get a job somewhere, you are going to make it here.
It seems to me that the Republican Party -- not that either party have been fabulous on immigration policy, but I never hear Republicans really talking about illegal hiring and that is the lore. You have got a cousin in Chicago. He says, I have got a job for you in this restaurant, if you can get up here in two weeks, you are going to get there, no matter how big the army or how high the wall.
So Republicans don`t really like talking about exploitation of cheap illegal labor, they just don`t. Why not?
COSTELLO: Actually, actually, you see in most Republican immigration proposals a need to e-verify and that`s actually where some Republicans get labor support --
MATTHEWS: How come they don`t vote in the Boehner or the Ryan house? It never came to a vote. The 2013 comprehensive bill had that e-verify in it, and it never got to a vote, because your leadership refused to bring it to a vote. That`s a fact.
COSTELLO: OK, the -- OK -- not disagreeing.
COSTELLO: E-verify was in the compromise bill that I supported and that many of us tried to get tonight floor. Let me add to the immigration --
MATTHEWS: Republican leadership would not put it on the floor. That`s why it didn`t get tonight floor.
COSTELLO: Here`s another piece to that. I - you are correct. Here`s another piece to this. You have in the suburbs, former formerly agricultural communities that have been developed but still existing agriculture where you have migrant workers working on farms. You have the high-tech corridor outside a lot of major cities where you have high-tech visas there.
The immigration issue is much more sophisticated and nuanced and using the blunt instrument of a caravan to suggest that I`m going to be right on immigration is not going to play well, because in the suburbs people see the immigration issue on many, many different layers. And there are a lot of very good folks that volunteer at organizations, social service organizations with, that help migrant children, making sure they have health care. There`s a lot more to this. And I think that both parties need to realize that there is a compromise that can be had, that includes e-verify and some other -- there`s some other layers to this and we`re missing the boat entirely.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you, congressman. I wish you would stick around and get a compromise, because Trump doesn`t seem to want one.
Anyway, Trump is stoking tensions about these migrants, less than a week after a wave of crimes and domestic terror here in the country showed the ugly end result of hate in this country. We all saw it in those last three events. Of course, now, a new poll by NPR, PBS, and Marist finds that 82 percent of this country more than (INAUDIBLE) of likely voters say they are concerned that the lack of civility in Washington, D.C. will lead to more violence.
Mayor Garcetti, that question, the American people are so in tune with this. They know that the rhetoric does lead to hate and hate leads to violence. Not with everybody, but enough to kill people.
GARCETTI: That`s exactly right. And you know, as much as I`m working hard for and hoping for a blue wave, I want a civil wave to come over this country again. I want leaders in our White House and our Congress to bring people together, to do things like we are doing, like going to synagogues. I`ll be in synagogue this Friday, as a Jew, and as an American, with my Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters, as we have done when they`ve been attacked. I will be heading out to do things like campaign for candidates, who have been attacked because of their religious or ethnic backgrounds, like Ammar Campa-Najjar who has a chance of beating Duncan Hunter.
MATTHEWS: I hope he wins out.
GARCETTI: It is time for us --. Thank you. Republicans - he is only three points out in the latest poll. But if you look at that poll, Republicans, half of them, by the way, blame the media for the violence against the media. It`s mind-boggling, so that you have a President who has stoked these fears of saying the enemy of the people is a free press and when asked in that poll specifically, where these pipe bombs and the coverage of these pipe bombs, were they the result of media coverage? The media was attacked according to half of Republicans who said that because of themselves. That`s how crazy things have gotten. So it is time for civility.
And by the way, it`s time to get things done in Washington. Enough of the distraction, enough of the promises. I`m a mayor. I want an infrastructure bill. And this President promised me one. I still don`t have one. He promised better health care. I don`t have it. He promised a lesser deficit. It`s bigger under him with China. Our national deficit -- our debt is almost going to be the size of our GDP. Let`s get back to work, stop yelling, stop distracting and get things done.
MATTHEWS: Well, along those lines, mayor, and everyone else in this panel, I have to say that history shows that the demagogues have to get hotter and hotter and their rhetoric just to keep their current level of popularity. You have to keep raising the heat. Trump has to be more heated, more scary, more frightening, every month he is in, especially to get reelected and get his Congress reelected. So if he continues on this course for the next two years, the next six years, each year are getting hotter and more frightening and more fear mongering, by the time it`s 2024, imagine what he is going to sound like. That is a concern I have.
I hope somebody like you, Mr. Garcetti, tries to change that course of history. Thank you all for joining us tonight.
GARCETTI: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Shannon.
Thank you, Congressman Ryan Costello. Good luck, sir, in your next career.
And Mayor Eric Garcetti, I hope your next career is running for President.
Coming up, Oprah Winfrey stumped today for Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate. And she has got a real good chance of being the first African- American woman elected to governor down there in Georgia.
Meanwhile, her Republican opponent backed out of their debate, their final debate in order to campaign with Mr. Trump. Prefers the company of Mr. Trump to a debate.
Plus, Trump continues on the campaign trail with his divisive rhetoric, in spite of the violent tragedies of the last week.
And how`s the Trump show playing to voters? Well, the President has made the midterms all about him. To "The New York Times," his message of nationalism is turning off some key voting blocs.
Finally, we finish tonight with Trump watch. This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With less than a week now, in fact, just five days now, both candidates in their close gubernatorial race down in Georgia called up their heavy hitters to help make their closing arguments today. Oprah Winfrey lent her star power to Democrat Stacey Abrams, with a passionate appeal to just get out and vote. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS: I`m here today because of Stacey Abrams! And I`m here today -- and I`m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed, and oppressed for the right, for the equality at the polls, and I want you to know that their blood has seeped into my DNA and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, she also helped get out the vote, going door to door, which must have been pretty impressive to people. Let`s watch Oprah Winfrey knocking on doors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope she`s home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
WINFREY: Hi, Denise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Oprah!
WINFREY: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m wonderful. How are you?
WINFREY: Surprise, surprise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surprise. I am shocked.
So, I`m canvassing for Stacey Abrams.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, yes.
WINFREY: Are you voting for her?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I absolutely am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s like Ed McMahon coming around with million-dollar checks.
Anyway, Republican Brian Kemp -- he`s the alternative -- welcomed Vice President Mike Pence ahead of a Sunday night rally with the president.
Here`s an alternative view.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard Oprah`s in town today.
PENCE: And I heard Will Ferrell was going door to door the other day.
PENCE: Well, I would like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I`m kind of a big deal too.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
PENCE: I got a message for all of Stacey Abrams` liberal Hollywood friends. This ain`t Hollywood. This is Georgia.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the race has a RealClearPolitics polling average now of Kemp ahead by just a point. Really close.
If neither Abrams, nor Kemp, who also has a libertarian challenger out there, get over 50 percent this Tuesday, the race heads to a run-off come December. We will see who shows up for that when it comes.
Abrams, in an attempt to expand her reach, has visited all 159 counties in Georgia. Her pitch? Jobs, public transportation, infrastructure, and better access to rural health care.
Brian Kemp offers himself as a Trumpian candidate, proud to be politically incorrect. As secretary of state, Kemp is tasked with ensuring that the election is fair. He`s also the referee in this race. But the process has been plagued by accusations of voter suppression.
For the latest, I`m joined by George F. Will, "Washington Post" columnist, and Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist and host of "Hill TV."
George, you have been covering this rather well. What do you make of that race, first African-American woman with a real, a real shot?
GEORGE WILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The number of undecided voters in Georgia is probably equal to or slightly smaller than the number of people at this table right now. Everyone knows what they think.
Stacey Abrams` problem is she, like a lot of Democrats, depends on low- propensity voters, so they have to get them excited. Do celebrities do this? I don`t know.
WILL: If celebrities are that powerful, Republicans, who have no celebrities, would never win an election.
MATTHEWS: Well, they did have Martha Raye and Wilt Chamberlain, the last time I looked.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Boy, you guys are going back.
MATTHEWS: I know. I know I`m going back.
WILL: Sammy Davis.
MATTHEWS: Sammy Davis, for a while, with a hug at least.
Jamal, everybody`s got their heart around this race, I can tell. Everybody around here, all of my producers, have got their heart around this race. They feel, some -- more than even the Andrew Gillum race down in Florida. They have real hopes about an African-American woman finally grabbing the big executive job, governor.
SIMMONS: Yes, it`s a big deal.
Listen, I was down there a couple of weeks ago. I worked in Georgia in 2002. I was Max Cleland`s communications director, when the Republicans took that state over.
And I got to tell you, when I was down there a couple of weeks ago, I talked to Jason Carter, who was the nominee the last time.
MATTHEWS: Jimmy Carter`s grandson.
SIMMONS: Jimmy Carter`s grandson.
And Jason told me he lost by 200,000 votes in that election. So Stacey`s got to find 200,000 votes. Here`s a good number. In the primary, Jason Carter only got 300,000 votes in the primary. The two Democratic candidates this year got 500,000.
So they already have raised a number of votes who have turned out. They have got to keep that momentum up and get people to turn out. As George says, they have got to convince some people to go out and vote who don`t usually vote. But they also got to convince some women.
MATTHEWS: What are people doing when they don`t vote? I know this sounds terrible, because some people have two jobs, and some people have got day care challenges, and some people have to get to work at 7:00 in the morning, and there`s no time before. They come home, they`re exhausted.
But I wonder, if you just went to all the Starbucks lines and said, what are you in line for? A coffee. How about getting in line to vote?
Anyway, to that point, while making her pitch for Abrams, Oprah Winfrey had a message to all women. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: We, as women people, need to stand united and vote our values. Vote your values. Vote your conscience.
All this noise, all the noise, you just can`t get away from it. You turn on the TV on the way, it`s so much noise and crazy talk, all the vitriol in the ads, you know what? They are designed to confuse and confound you with fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: George, governor, like mayor, is an executive job. And it doesn`t have much to do with ideology.
La Guardia of New York City said there`s no Republican way to collect garbage. And a lot of it is about -- she seems to have executive ability, the Democratic candidate.
WILL: And she has a particular plan that is going to require the Georgia legislature to do it for her, which it has been reluctant to do, and that is expand Medicaid.
She says it`s costing them $8 million a day not to expand Medicaid. And it`s the reason why eight rural hospitals have closed, 21 are in perilous condition. And there are people out there -- this is why she goes on Christian radio stations serving basically white audiences, and campaigns, saying, your rural hospitals are at stake in this election.
MATTHEWS: Because people that make more than the poverty level by a bit, but barely get by and can`t afford to get regular medical care, need to get it.
It`s really about people who show up for work in the morning, expanding Medicare. It`s not about bums or loafers. It`s about people that go to work, but need to get medical care. I would think that would appeal across the board.
SIMMONS: It does appeal across the board.
And just remember this. Oprah Winfrey was down there campaigning. Oprah Winfrey is not just a billionaire because black women like her. Oprah Winfrey made a lot of money because she`s got appeal across the board. She appeals to everybody.
And Hillary Clinton, in some counties -- Gwinnett is one -- Hillary Clinton did better than Donald Trump in Gwinnett County. Stacey Abrams has got to go out in Gwinnett County and find those Democrats who voted in 2016 and get them to vote in 2018.
WILL: Georgia has the smallest proportion of whites in its population, the second smallest of any state east of the Mississippi, second only to Maryland. So, demographically, it`s ripe.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Abrams, Kemp, and the independent candidate were set to have their final debate this coming Sunday. However, the debate, which was scheduled six weeks ago, was canceled because Kemp, the Republican candidate, is attending a rally with President Trump in Macon, Georgia, 100 miles south of the debate site.
The Kemp campaign, however, blamed Abrams for the cancellation, because she couldn`t commit to a new date and time after they had agreed on this time for Sunday.
Her campaign manager issued a lengthy response -- quote -- "Unfortunately, despite his own advice about the importance of honoring promises, Mr. Kemp has decided he will not be participating in the long-scheduled debate at the agreed-upon time. Just because Brian Kemp breaks his promises doesn`t mean anyone else should."
On Oprah, what I have always thought was Oprah`s appeal, there`s something genuine there. People watched her, George, for a long time. They know who she is. She honestly seems to have empathy that crosses over gender, over ethnicity. She seems to care. I watched her so many -- I believe her. And I think people believe her. That`s her strength.
WILL: And she`s -- as you say, she`s a very talented businessperson.
WILL: She actually made her money.
MATTHEWS: That`s such a George answer.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
I thought you would fall for some sentiment, but you have held back.
Anyway, thank you, George.
MATTHEWS: I know you. Thank you.
SIMMONS: Let`s not give up on ethnicity here, Chris. Ethnicity does matter.
And I think, particularly in the city of Atlanta, there are a lot of black voters who feel like the Kemp voter suppression stuff is real and they are turning out in a major way. I get text messages from friends saying, you should see...
MATTHEWS: You know why I say ethnicity, and not race?
SIMMONS: Why do you say that?
MATTHEWS: Because we are the same race. And I think ethnicity is a nicer way of saying it. And I have always thought that.
Thank you so much, George F. Will. Thank you, Jamal Simmons.
Up next: Former astronaut-turned-gun-control-advocate Captain Mark Kelly joins us to talk about the impact of recent gun violence in the midterms.
Here`s -- well, this is HARDBALL, where the action is.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2010)
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: We need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we`re on Sarah Palin`s targeted list.
But the thing is that the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have got to realize there`s consequences to that action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was then Congresswoman Gabby Giffords back in 2010 calling for more civility after there was a rise of heated rhetoric following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Well, Giffords was shot the following year while campaigning in her home district.
And, as we discussed, a new poll by NPR, PBS, and Marist finds that 82 percent, more than four in five of us, of likely voters say they`re concerned about the lack of civility we`re seeing in Washington and how it`s going to lead to violence.
This comes on the heels of numerous high-profile domestic attacks in just the past weeks, including a politically charged campaign of mail bombs, the murder of two African-Americans by a white man in Kentucky, and the murder of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last weekend.
For more, I`m joined by Captain Mark Kelly, Gabby Giffords` husband, and co-founder of the advocacy group Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence.
Thank you so much, Mr. Kelly.
Give us a sense of the way, in your head, and the experience in your -- with your family`s loss in terms of the gunfire on your wife and all of that, the recuperation and all of that, and what -- how do you see talk and shooting as connected?
MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Well, you know, Gabby`s -- you know, her being shot and six of her constituents being murdered and 12 other people being injured in 15 seconds, you know, it`s a complicated number of reasons why this happens.
But when she was injured back in 2011, it was also a time, it was around, just after the passing, a year after the passing of the Affordable Care Act, and there was a lot of heated rhetoric politically about this. And she certainly, you know, was targeted because she was a member of Congress. That`s clear.
And the words and the language we use do matter. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people at some pretty high levels that don`t seem to -- they don`t seem to realize that yet. But it certainly does have an impact.
MATTHEWS: You and I have lived through it. I have lived through maybe more history.
And I remember, during the November period of 1963, and all of those weeks that we were hearing about the violent attitude down in Dallas, Texas, and how people were out to get Kennedy, there were ads in the paper, horrible stuff, calling him a traitor. Adlai Stevenson, the ambassador to the U.N., was spat upon.
There was all that atmospherics. And then a guy on the hard left, a communist sympathizer, Lee Harvey Oswald, comes and shoots Kennedy. Somehow, there seems to be a kind of almost electrical atmospherics that sort of creates something that may not be related -- the same thing happened in the spring of `16. Dr. King is shot and then Bobby is shot.
It does seem to be atmospheric. Your thoughts about that, when it gets into the -- gets into our systems, and people who are a little nutty to begin with or a little far out politically think, oh, here`s my permission slip to shoot somebody?
KELLY: Well, so 1963 was a year before I was born, so I wasn`t really paying attention then, certainly.
And, you know, but we see this over and over again. And it seems to go in cycles.
KELLY: And our partisanship is somewhat, you know, cyclic.
I think we`re at a pretty bad time right now, probably the worse that I have seen since I have been paying attention, you know, perhaps even the worse since the early 1960s.
And I think I think people that we elect need to realize that their words do matter. And if they say certain things, they are giving certain individuals who, you know, probably have some possibly mental health issues or somewhat unstable, but it`s not good for us as, you know, people who are in leadership positions to try to give these -- or to give these people some form of political cover.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about gun control, gun safety.
I notice the NRA isn`t spending much money this cycle. Is that why -- is that because they don`t have much to fight, or there isn`t much noise out there or concern publicly by candidates about gun safety?
KELLY: Yes, they have had some issues.
In New York City, they had a lawsuit. They claim that that affected their bottom line. They have got some financial issues right now. But they also have millions of members, that they just raised the membership fee. I don`t think it`s really a financial thing with them, despite some of the things they have said.
I think really what it comes down to is, they are starting to realize that their side of this issue doesn`t play very well in an election, even in a midterm election. I mean, we have -- we have a lot of Democrats and even some Republicans that are running on the side of, hey, we need stronger gun laws. We need gun safety.
We have got veterans running across the country on this issue. There was an NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll that just came out, and it put gun safety, I think, at -- right after health care and the economy as an issue that people really care about.
KELLY: The National Rifle Association, they`re even hiding the letter grades that they traditionally give members of Congress and people in state governments.
So, they`re currently underwater. They have got a negative approval rating. Their favorable/unfavorable is at minus 17 percent. It`s certainly the lowest since we have been paying attention. And it`s because the American people are starting to realize that our laws do matter, and there are organizations out there, like the NRA, that are advocating for weaker gun laws.
And that`s not making us more safe.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you, Captain Kelly, and maybe those young kids from Parkland and around the country will get the voters out on this issue of gun safety this time around.
It`s an honor to have you on, sir. Thank you so much.
KELLY: Thank you for having me on, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next: With five days left until the midterms -- I mean, it`s only five days -- tomorrow, it will be four -- it`s coming on -- it`s all Trump all the time. It`s all about him. That`s the way he likes it.
Will his message of fear and division, however, help turn out Republican voters in those close races and energize the anti-Trump -- or will it actually go the other way and energize the people that don`t like what Trump is doing?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It`s days now -- five days -- before the midterms this coming Tuesday, and President Trump is making the election all about his base, stoking fear and division over the media, the so-called caravan, he calls it, and birthright citizenship he talks about now. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The far left media, once again, used tragedy to sow anger and division.
A vote for Democrats is a vote to liquidate America`s borders. We will end, finally, birthright citizenship. It`s costing us so many billions of dollars. People didn`t want to bring it up. I said, we have to bring it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, "The New York Times" reports that in Republican-leaning districts that include diverse populations or about cities that do, or abut them, the party is in danger of losing its House majority next week because Mr. Trump`s racially tinged nationalism that has alienated these voters who once made up a dependable constituency.
Let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL roundtable. Adrienne Elrod, former director of strategic communications for Hillary for America, Dan David is a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania`s fourth congressional district, which is in Montgomery County near Philly, and Eugene Scott is a political reporter for "The Washington Post." I did that stentorialy (ph) for you.
Is this working? It seems to me, there`s two Americas. Big development there. You`ve got the red states where everybody is going to double down on Trump. But in those suburban areas where people may have hesitated because of Hillary are more moderate politically and aren`t going to like this guff from Trump.
ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER CLINTO CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: You just hit the nail on the head, Chris. In a sick and twisted way, it is helping to generate some excitement around his very hard-core base. But at the same time, he`s alienating independents who may still be undecided. He`s alienating moderate Republicans who are trending towards Democrats. And he`s in particular alienating that very core group of white suburban college-educated women, who are now supporting Democrats by up to 25 points.
MATTHEWS: Is he right to warn women about the men coming here from Honduras, Dan?
DAN DAVID (R-PA), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: No.
MATTHEWS: Is that -- is that a reasonable fear that Hondurans are going to threaten our women?
DAVID: I think a reasonable fear is that Congress will continue, not to do its job and pass immigration reform. I don`t think it`s a reasonable fear that --
MATTHEWS: But it wasn`t a Republican speaker who refused to bring it up in `13 when you had a Republican --
DAVID: Listen, this is a pox on both houses. It has been for a long time.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I want a bill.
DAVID: Absolutely. You -- we need to do our job. I`m running for Congress. I`m not running against or for the president.
MATTHEWS: Did you vote for him?
DAVID: I did.
MATTHEWS: Well, then you`re a Trump guy.
DAVID: Well, look, I mean, it was a binary decision.
MATTHEWS: Right? You`re a Trump guy. I`m just teasing. I understand.
DAVID: I`m fine with that.
MATTHEWS: You`re telling me you don`t really like the guy much --
DAVID: I`m not telling you that at all. That`s not what I said at all.
MATTHEWS: What are you telling me about Trump? You`re running on the Republican ticket this time. Are you for Trump or not?
DAVID: What do you mean, am I for Trump or not?
MATTHEWS: I`m asking!
DAVID: That`s not the job I`m applying for. I`m applying for the people.
MATTHEWS: OK, I got it.
EUGENE SCOTT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I mean, I think what`s really interesting is that midterms are historically used to win people to your side who weren`t on your side during the presidential election. And what we see Trump doing is alienating people who weren`t already supportive of him in the first place.
Will it bring out his base? Will it bring out the people who are already on the Trump train? Sure. But the electorate is bigger than the Trump train. And in fact, more people are not on the Trump train than people who are.
MATTHEWS: I think the country`s divided. I think the `burbs are going to go big for the Dems, I`m sorry, Dan, and I think out west, especially in states like North Dakota, it`s going to be very hard for a Democrat to win.
Anyway, in an interview with Axios and HBO, President Trump talked about why he calls the media the enemy of the people. Let`s hear his explanation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: What scares the crap out of me, when you`re saying, enemy of the people, enemy of the people --
TRUMP: Fight back --
INTERVIEWER: But one second. God forbid somebody -- you`ve got fervent supporters, they love you. They listen to you. Enemy of the people, enemy of the people.
TRUMP: They like me more because of that.
INTERVIEWER: Don`t you worry at all -- but you`re like the most powerful man in the world, and if you say that word, enemy, enemy, literally tens of thousands of people go in a stadium to listen to you and then go on social media and they get themselves so jazzed up. There`s got to be a part of you that`s like, I`m scared that someone is going to --
TRUMP: It`s my only form of fighting back. I couldn`t be here if I didn`t --
INTERVIEWER: You won. You have the presidency.
TRUMP: No, no, no, but I did this before I won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, Adrienne, explain that logic. He says, I call you people -- to the face of a journalist -- Jim VandeHei, I call you people the enemy of the people, because it works for me politically.
ELROD: Well, look, there`s a lot of people in America, especially a lot of Trump voters who think that the media is this elite entity that has not been on their side. You`ve got the New York and Washington, D.C. elite media, so they like this.
But it`s -- again, it`s disgusting and it puts journalists in danger. You know, it`s a rallying cry for him toward his supporters. But it`s very dangerous.
MATTHEWS: Dan? You think it`s okay for him to trash us?
DAVID: I`m a freedom of speech activist. That`s my job. That`s my history. So I`m always going to be for the First Amendment and for the freedom of speech.
Is the media biased? The media has been biased since the first cave man started talking about the cave man next to him. It`s been going on forever.
And you have to get through it and past it. But freedom of speech is what separates us from China, what separates us from communist countries who oppress people. And I will never be against freedom of speech.
MATTHEWS: I used to serve the newspaper, the "Philadelphia Bulletin" in the afternoon. I was a paper boy. The thickest paper in the Northeast. I used to take that around and that was filled with opinion.
DAVID: You`re right.
MATTHEWS: All the columns in the afternoon paper.
Yes, my dad was a paper boy for "The Washington Post" and I`m a reporter for "The Washington Post." And I care deeply about the free press.
However, I think journalists need to be careful about centering so much of this conversation on ourselves. Many voters do not like how Trump is responding to the media. But the amount of attention we`re putting on our fight with Trump, I think is distracting to a lot of voters.
MATTHEWS: Except the big lie works.
In another interview, President Trump said that he always wants to tell the truth. He wants to. He`s trying, he says. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me now, honestly, have you kept to that promise at all times? Have you always --
TRUMP: Well, I try. I mean, I do try. I think you try, too. You say things about me that are not necessarily correct. I do try.
And I always want to tell the truth, when I can, I tell the truth. Sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that`s different or there`s a change. But I always like to be truthful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s somebody talking about their diet, you know. I know I`m not supposed to eat cake, I`m not supposed to eat ice cream, but you know, I just try and I can`t -- it`s an amazing admission, I thought.
SCOTT: Yes, almost doesn`t count. The reality is that people look for their president to be truthful. And I think we`re going to see in the midterms, people are going to be really upset with his 50 percent effort. If that`s how much he`s --
MATTHEWS: Dan, think about what he`s saying there. I go out in front of the people, I`ve got 5,000 people in the room, and I really try to tell the truth. I just can`t do it.
DAVID: OK, that`s an unfortunate comment. I tell the truth. That`s my job. And you think you can catch anybody in an unfortunate moment trying to say something like that. It doesn`t come off well.
DAVID: And for me, I can only speak for myself. What I do, what I report, what I is a I is the truth, objectively. I`ve done 16 hours of town halls, with independents, Democrats, and Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Good for you.
DAVID: You can all look at, right now --
MATTHEWS: That`s a great way to campaign.
DAVID: Well, look, it`s policy for 16 hours that my opponent hasn`t done, no other --
MATTHEWS: I`m with you, by the way. I can`t stand self-funders to go into a race and just buy the TV time and they just own it, whereas people like you go out --
DAVID: I got zero money from Washington, D.C. zero. Or the state. So I go out there, to the people, and tell the truth. And let me tell you something, it`s been great.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about the president. I want to step back to the president, Adrienne. This president makes no attempt to deal with objective truth.
MATTHEWS: He says, I`m nope for picking -- for knowing crowd sizes. Everybody knows that`s a joke.
MATTHEWS: He just says it, he brings it up again. It`s like to him, it`s all vaudeville. It`s like a stage show. It`s not about truth.
ELROD: And didn`t he say he got more delegates than any other Republican presidential nominee? I mean, you know, he constantly lies, but here`s the thing. He knows -- he may not -- he admits that he`s not a big policy wonk, right? Although he may go out there and misspeak on policy, but he constantly lies about --
MATTHEWS: He does everything you tell your kids not to do. He calls people by their names, he lies. You`re not supposed to do that, Junior or Mr. President, who it applies to.
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. The next thing we`ll hear from these people some things I don`t know.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.
Adrienne, tell me something I don`t know.
ELROD: The Voto Latino, which is a civic organization that focuses on voter registration, exceeded their goal of registering 200,000 new voters this year, two weeks before the midterm elections last week. So, very exciting.
MATTHEWS: Until they vote.
ELROD: Get out there and vote.
MATTHEWS: Dan, tell me something.
DAVID: Well, I tell you what, I think you take out the Republican and the Democrat and we`re all more alike than we`re not alike, and that people out there I`m speaking to want a vision, a vision for our country for the next five years, ten years, not the next five minutes.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
DAVID: That`s something Congress can do.
MATTHEWS: I agree, thank you.
SCOTT: Voters in 17 states have participated in early voting and absentee voting at such record breaking numbers it`s suspected at least half of them will even double the number of people voting early compared to 2014.
MATTHEWS: Have you guys all voted?
DAVID: We`re not allowed to early vote.
MATTHEWS: I`ve got to tell you, it was crowded as hell at Montgomery County. Big crowd out there. A lot of people waiting in line, tranches of people waiting in line, you know, wait as a group, wait for another group.
Anyway, thank you, Adrienne Elrod. Thank you, Dan David of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Eugene Scott, as always, sir.
When we return, let me finish tonight with "Trump Watch". You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch", Thursday, November 1st, 2018.
There was a time where it seems to have been when the American people knew how to solve problems. They debated an issue, passed a law and enforced that law.
Why can`t immigration be dealt with this way? Debated, pass a law, enforce that law. President Trump sees an opportunity here for an alternative set of actions, of course, warn of trouble, talk of a wall that has no chance politically of being built, complain when the situation remains, then exploit the issue in the next election.
Trump speaks of desperate migrants as rapists and cop killers. He gives cover to people concerned with cultural and ethnic change by saying it`s about crime and terrorists from the Mideast, hiding amidst the Latin American poor. He says the issue is safety when we all know that`s not it.
I lay some of the blame on the Democrats and the Republicans like Lindsey Graham who know better. They know that the chief allure for illegal immigration is the hiring of people in this country who arrive here or stay here legally. They know the hypocrisy of politicians and voters who oppose illegal immigration, but benefit from it personally and financially. Five years ago, the Senate passed an immigration bill, a comprehensive bill with bipartisan support, but the House refused to even take it up.
Why can`t this president close the deal now? I suspect it`s because he prefers the issue itself, and the scare to the reasonable solution, perhaps after the election someone from some political party will have the guts to stand forth and challenge both parties to do the right thing.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END