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Governor Steve Bullock interview. TRANSCRIPT: 7/16/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, Michael Eric Dyson, ShermichaelSingleton, Joel Payne, Steve Bullock


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Fear and hatred?  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.  I`ve got breaking news from the Capitol.

The U.S. House of Representatives of the United States has voted moments ago to condemn the President of the United States for having, quote, legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.

The resolution followed the President`s racist comments about four congresswomen of color.  The vote posed as a reckoning for republicans.  It forced each of them to say on the record whether they condemn the President`s remarks or not, and only four of those republicans did condemn them.  They were Will Hurd of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Susan Brooks of Indiana and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

House Minority Leader Whip Stephen Scalise of Louisiana and Democratic Congressman John Lewis each made closing arguments for each side shortly before the vote.  Let`s watch.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA):  Rather than engaging in this constant barrage of personality attack that we`ve seen week after week after week, the American people expect us to be spending our time up here fighting for the issues they care about, and these are easy issues for us to solve if we come together and spend real-time in good faith working on them rather than this foolishness.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA):  I rise with a sense of righteous indignation to support this resolution.  I know racism when I see it.  I know racism when I feel it.  And at the highest level of government, there is no room for racism.


MATTHEWS:  Well, the rebuke to the President comes after he tripled down on his racist attacks again today, saying that those four women of congress hate their country.


REPORTER:  When you say the democratic congresswomen should leave if they`re not happy, where should they go?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  It`s up to them.  Go wherever they want, wherever they can stay.  But they should love our country.  They shouldn`t hate our country.

And the way they`re treating Israel is a disgrace.  But not only Israel, it`s what they say about our country.  It`s my opinion they hate our country, and that`s not good.  It`s not acceptable.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Trump also insists on Twitter that those Tweets were not racist.  I don`t have a racist bone in my body.  The so-called vote is to be taken is a democrat con game.  Republicans should not show weakness and fall into their trap.  That`s all Trump talking there.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was quick to endorse Trump`s behavior this morning.


REPORTER:  Were the President`s Tweets that said go back racist?  Yes or no.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA):  No.  I believe this is about ideology.  This is about socialism versus freedom.


MATTHEWS:  Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended the President and said both sides are to blame.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  And I think everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric.  We have examples of that across the ideological spectrum in the country, all across it, everyone ought to tone down their rhetoric and we ought to move back to talking about the issues.

REPORTER:  But you`ve stopped short of calling his comments racist.

MCCONNELL:  Well, the President is not a racist.  The President is not a racist.  And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country.


MATTHEWS:  I`m joined right now by two Democratic Congressmen, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Ted Lieu of California.  Gentlemen, thank you.

Congressman Cicilline, you start.  Jack Kennedy, when he was president, once said, sometimes party loyalty asks too much.  I don`t understand these republicans.  There is a chance they say, I like his tax cuts.  I like his deregulation.  I don`t like his personal behavior.  This was about his personal behavior, and they voted with him like lemmings.  Your thoughts?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  Yes, I mean, it`s very disappointing.  This is really a sad vote in many ways.  We only had four republicans who were willing to show the courage of their convictions to speak up and condemn this racist language in strong terms.

The President evidenced he doesn`t understand what is really great about this country, and that is our diversity, the fact that America is a welcoming place for people from all over the world.  The idea saying go back to your country is one of the oldest, racist tropes there is.  It should have been condemned by every democrat, every republican, every independent, every American.  It`s un-American.  It was disgusting.  The President owes them an apology.  He owes the American people an apology.

MATTHEWS:  Congressman Lieu, you said something very powerful on this.  I`d wish you`d say it again.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA):  Thank you, Chris, for your questions.

So like many people in America, I`m an immigrant.  I also served on active duty in the United States military because I love America, and yet people have told me to go back to China or Japan or North Korea, and it`s very hurtful when that happens.  And like many immigrants, when we get that go back insult, we feel that we don`t belong here in America.

And make no mistake, the go back insult is flat-out racist because it`s based on race.  If I was white, people wouldn`t tell me to go back to China.  They tell me, and I experienced that insult because I happen to be of Asian race.

But what`s good is Americans now realize that immigration is a good thing.  We have high support for immigration.  In fact, record highs according to a new poll.  And David Cicilline and I are still going to be standing here after the occupant of the White House departs.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I think that`s true, Mr. Cicilline.  Nobody would tell some West Virginian from Scotch-Irish background to go back to Scotland or you go back Northern Ireland.  Nobody would think of that because they`re white.  It`s so obvious in the way that`s --

CICILLINE:  Yes, I mean, it`s so obvious, and what`s so disappointing is you look at the President`s language, you look at his policies.  This is clearly racism.  And this was an opportunity for everyone to stand up and say enough is enough.  We need to move forward on a whole range of important policy issues.

We`ve passed 230 pieces of legislation that are sitting on Mitch McConnell`s desk.  We have lots of work to do for the American people.  But it would have been very helpful today if everyone in the Congress said this is not America, this is not acceptable and condemned it and voted to condemn the President for what he did.  And it was very disappointing that we only had four republicans that were willing to add their voices to this.

This is -- doesn`t reflect who we are as a country.  We cannot let the President say these things and change the character of America.  And it was disappointing today that we weren`t joined by our republican colleagues.  But it was an important thing to do.

The President and the country need to see us standing up and saying this is not acceptable.  This is un-American.  This is not who we are.  No one should be speaking this way, particularly the President of the United States.

MATTHEWS:  Well, urging a unanimous vote today, early today, Speaker Pelosi condemned the President`s words as racist, a move that prompted republicans to ask the parliamentarian to strike her words from the record under the rule that prohibits personal attacks on the House floor.  Here it is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist.  Every single member of this institution, democratic and republican should join us in condemning the President`s racist Tweets.  To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oaths of office to protect the American people.  I urge an unanimous vote and yield back.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (D-GA):  I was going to give the gentle speaker of the House if she would like to rephrase that comment.

PELOSI:  I have cleared my remarks as a parliamentarian before I read them.

COLLINS:  Can I ask that her words be taken down?  I make a point of order, the gentlewoman`s words are unparliamentarian, her words will be taken down.


MATTHEWS:  Well, the parliamentary later ruled that Pelosi`s language us indeed out of order.

However, a vote to strike words Pelosi`s word from the word was overruled by a near unanimous democratic vote.

Let me ask you, Congressman Lieu.  What do you think of about that?  Some of the -- one of our producers is pretty sharp and said, the language of the resolute itself was pretty personal about the President.  What was wrong with her saying that in her argument for it?

LIEU:  There is nothing wrong with what Speaker Pelosi said because it was the truth.  There is an antiquated rule in the House of Representatives that basically says during debate, you cannot say the President is racist or that his remarks are racist, even if it is.

And what the House of Representatives did today is we, in effect, reversed precedent because we want to make sure we say factory true things on the House floor.

And I want to note that the President is engaging in a new line of attack now.  He is attack legal immigration and U.S. citizenship.  And the problem for him is that many Americans are immigrants or have family members who are immigrants.  This is backfiring on him in a big way, and he is going to see that most of America does not support what he says.

CICILLINE:  And, Chris, the real irony of it -- the real irony of it is the republicans didn`t have the courage to stand up and call it out and say it`s racist and condemn him.  Then they try to prevent those of us actually have the courage to stand up and tell the truth, from preventing us from doing that and trying to get the Speaker`s words taken down.

I mean, think about that, bad enough, you don`t have the courage that you`re a coward who won`t stand up for American principles of equality and diversity and all the things that have made this country strong, but then you want to take down the words of the Speaker because she spoke the truth?  It`s a shameful day.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, they should stay away from the Lincoln Memorial.  Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline and Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you, sir.

Coming up now, Michelle Goldberg is a Columnist with The New York Times, Shermichael Singleton is republican political consultant and Michael Eric Dyson, a Professor at Georgetown University and author of What Truth Sounds Like.

Michelle, I want to start with you, Michelle Goldberg, about this thing, and that is the Republican Party, I was saying this to Michael before, you may have been hiding in the corner for months and two years now saying, you know, I don`t really like the way this guy Tweets or talks.  I don`t really like his character even, but I like his tax cuts and I like his deregulation and his rah-rah.

Here is a clear surgical vote today to say all that, we don`t like his behavior, his character.  This was about the character, about the language the President`s used, and they walked away from it, except for four members, they all went down the line like lemmings.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  That`s right.  And I think that -- well, first of all, I`m not sure how many of the republicans who do say that they really condemn Trump`s behavior actually have a history of being anti-racist or having any real problem with racism.  But more than that, they know their constituents, particularly in the more red districts, it`s precisely the racism that makes them so enthusiastic about Trump.

I think one of the things we`ve discovered in these last three years is that a lot of the base of the Republican Party was never that excited about republican economic policies.  It was not excited about the tax cuts.  It`s never been excited about laissez faire economics or libertarian approach to regulation.  What thrills them is the white nationalism.

And so it is very difficult, I think, for most members of the Republican Party to distance themselves from white nationalism without bringing on the rage and a possible primary challenge from their base, right?  I think Trump has an accurate assessment of what it is that moves the people who vote for him.

MATTHEWS:  Professor Dyson, it looks to me like that vote today was a codification of the charge that MAGA is really white nationalism.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY:  No doubt.  And I think Ms. Goldberg has brilliantly articulated that.  It is the principle premise and predicate of this man`s engagement politically, and it`s his appeal to people beyond the intelligence of the actor, the citizen, the person he confronts.  He appeals directly to an emotional resonance and response.

He is a genius at that, a demented genius, but a genius nonetheless.  He understands the manipulation.  He understands how to characterize things and encapsulate them in bite-sized digestible form, and he does it both politically.  He does it economically and socially, but he does it in terms of the politics of representation.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  And he knows by standing up for this principle, he will organize the logic of white supremacy across the country.

MATTHEWS:  What`s interesting is that George Corley Wallace, the late, not great, the Governor of Alabama, was always careful when he went to the national audience.  He would say pointy-headed liberals. He would say the bureaucrat with his attache case with his peanut butter sandwiches in there.  It was a way to diminish government power, federal power.  But he never made the direct racial climate that this guy is doing it.  This guy just says it.

DYSON:  Well, the great writer, Ralph Ellison, said, it`s like doing a brain surgery with a switchblade, and that`s what we see going on here.  He doesn`t have the skill of a George Wallace.  He doesn`t even have the acumen of a George Wallace.  He doesn`t even understand the psychology.  What he does understand is the raw emotional appeal of racist ideology.  And he knows better than anybody else that`s what undergirds so much of white response across the circle (ph).

MATTHEWS:  Shemichael, is there any evil genius at work here?  Attacking those four women elevated them front page in color on The Wall Street Journal today, right at the top.  It looked like a scene out of the bible.  These were fabulous faces, fabulous picture showcased.  He did that.  Donald Trump did that.  He took them from a level of being mavericks to being the heroes of the nation to many people.  Why did he do it?  Is he stupid or is he secretly trying to make them the Democratic Party?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT:  I mean, like I don`t know.  Well, politically, I mean, he did it because of you look at swing states, AOC, Representative Ilhan Omar are not very popular according to the most recent data (ph), even democratic strategists have raised that.

And so if the argument is a philosophical difference of we`re anti-social, socialism that is, which also does not resonate very well in swing states, then let`s have that argument.  We have the apparatus and discuss them.  But he did not do that.  He made it personal based off of race.

And what sort of really disappoints me as a republican, as a conservative more than anything, I`m a conservative who happens to belong to the Republican Party, is that Donald Trump does not even respect the most basic norms, the most basic norms that I think even conservatives and liberals alike have agreed.  These are the most basic forms of social knowledge.  We all expect people to govern themselves accordingly, particularly leaders, particularly the President.

And what Donald Trump has realized is that it is this group of nationalists.  These folks are sort of always a part of the Republican Party doc but they were really looking for someone to mobilize them and energize them.  And Donald Trump did that better than Mitt Romney could have.  He did it better than John McCain could have.

MATTHEWS:  I know.  But the scary thing is --

SINGLETON:  And the result is -- the result, Chris, is that you see a rampant form of racism, whereas the norm.

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  Here is the scary thing.  Michelle Goldberg, you know, I thought that when W was president, it wasn`t like a great leader was president, who had a great oratorical ability or emotion that connects with the people.  He had very limited connection.  He was high F.L. kind of back on the slap, I married up and all that old B.S. stuff.  But he took us into a war that caused the lives of of 100,000 people.

Now, this president has done something different.  He has taken the Republican Party hostage.  They are basically all POWs.  They do anything he wants, they say anything he wants and he has no connection historically to the party.

DYSON:  And they have Stockholm syndrome.

MATTHEWS:  And how did he do this, Michelle?  How did he make republicans like -- Kevin McCarthy is not a stupid guy.  Why is he saying stupid thoughts (ph) today?

GOLDBERG:  I think taking them hostage implies that they are unwilling participants in this.  And, again, I think that what Donald Trump has going for him is he has this kind of limbic connection to the passions and the id, if you will, of the republican base.  And what the Republican Party has learned over the last few years is that a lot of their voters were never in it for the conservative ideology.  They were in it for the reaction and for the racism.

And so when you see Kevin McCarthy and all of these other republicans, you know, kind of go along with Donald Trump, it`s because they`ve made their choice.  They can either stand up to these extraordinarily dark and destructive forces or they can risk their political career, and they`re not willing to do the latter.

MATTHEWS:  I think you`re right.  I think he has got a closer connection to the republican voters than the republicans.  But what`s limbic mean?  I`m sorry.  I need little help here.

GOLDBERG:  Well, it`s like, you know, the front brain that controls like, you know, kind of emotion and fear.

MATTHEWS:  No, I was thinking that.  I`m not kidding.  You were educating me the very first stroke there.  We`ll be right back.  The same guests are sticking with us.  This is going to be -- I think this is an historic day, bad day, bad day of black rock for the republicans.  They`re not going to be able to live this past with the suburban voters who don`t want to be thinking of themselves, whatever they are, they don`t want to think of themselves as racist, and Trump`s blatant hypocrisy about criticizing America, because here he goes.


TRUMP:  You look at what they have said, I have clips right here, the most vile, horrible statements about our country.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Trump says, America, love it or leave it.  Well, in that case, Trump, the candidate, would have to be asked to leave by Trump the President.  We`ll show you some of his very, very bad things he said about our country when he was running, when he was the outsider.

And newspapers all across the country in red states and blue are taking a strong stand against Trump`s divisive language.  By the way, NBC News is also, like Houston Chronicle calling his words the racist rantings of a bigot.  Will it actually cost him any votes next year?

Plus, good news for some of the more liberal democrats running for president, brand new polls show their numbers are on the rise.  And one of the 2020 candidates, Montana Governor Steve Bullock plays HARDBALL tonight, his thoughts on Trump`s racist Tweets, the immigration situation and much more, a lot to get to tonight.

By the way, listen to NBC News tonight about the word racist, powerful new information here.  Stick with us.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  If you`re not happy in the U.S., if you`re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave.  You can leave right now. 

Well, they`re very unhappy.  I`m watching them.  All they do is complain.  So, all I`m saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave, John.  They can leave. 


MATTHEWS: "They can leave."

Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

The president has said multiple times over the past couple of days that, if the freshman Democratic congresswomen don`t like America, they should leave it. 

However, as a presidential candidate himself, he campaigned on what a mess the country is in.  Let`s watch him knocking America. 


TRUMP:  Folks, we`re living in a Third World country.  The American dream is dead. 

Our country is a mess.  Our infrastructure is falling apart. 

Everybody knows what a mess our country is in. 

We are a mess. 

Our country is a mess. 

We got a mess of a country. 

They were saying the other day, Trump is angry.  Of course I`m angry.  I want to be angry.  Who`s not angry?  And they wanted me to say, no, I`m really not angry.  I`m so happy with the way things -- the country is a mess.  I am angry. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, back with me are Michelle Goldberg, Shermichael Singleton, and Michael Eric Dyson. 

And, guys and Michelle, every time Trump says something sort of biblical and New Testament, he puts his hands up like Jesus from the Bible pictures. 


MATTHEWS:  I watch that little hand.  You make those -- little finger, a little circle, with your three fingers in the air.  And then you speak the divine truth. 

There he was, Michelle, trashing the country again and again to get elected.  Now anyone who dares speak in that way against our country should go home to wherever their grandparents came from.

GOLDBERG:  Well, look, I think it`s always a mistake to look for logical consistency in what Trump says. 

The consistency is the white nationalism.  When America was ruled by an African -- or when America -- when America had an African-American president, then the country was, in Trump`s estimation, by definition, degraded and worthy of scorn, right?

Now he conflates himself with the country and sees them both as worthy of not just respect, but kind of unquestioning deference.  And so he when he runs down American cities, which he does, not just when he was running for president -- he continues to do it as president, to say the most despicable things about the cities of the country that he purports to lead. 

But it`s because he kind of writes off certain people in certain regions as being outside of the real America. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me talk to you about -- Professor, about this race thing in big cities. 

I grew up in a big city, but not really downtown, but in a city with high school kids from -- and there`s neighborhood fights, the Italian neighborhoods, the black neighborhoods.  That all went on.  There was rivalry. 

DYSON:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And then there were also nicknames that weren`t so nice. 

And does Trump come from that?  I sometimes get the sense he is sort of from that urban hostility from maybe 50 years ago. 

DYSON:  Well, there is no question about that. 

But when you look at his lineage, look at his father, look at the set of ideas he inherited, look at the unconscionable privilege that he... 

MATTHEWS:  Tell us about it. 

DYSON:  Well, in the sense that -- keeping black people out of your apartment buildings, red-lining, understanding the degree to which black people must be cordoned off, and that real estate must be the preserve of those who are privileged, and it is transmitted according to race and not according to money. 


DYSON:  So, the reality is that Donald Trump has inherited the vocabulary of racial animus and hostility that he instinctively now passes along to the country. 

And so when you think about logic, you know, Michelle Goldberg`s point there is that at the root of all of this is the understanding that white supremacy continues to be contagious and radioactive to others, and yet that is the bellwether for a Donald Trump presidency.

And he continues to ring that tone, so to speak, in ways that people hear again. 

MATTHEWS:  He reminds me of a guy driving a car through tough traffic in a city on a 95-degree day, mad at anybody he passes.

And he is throwing the anger and the slur out.  And it`s all going to solve his problem.  Like that yelling out the window at the other car is somehow going to make the world better. 

And he is president.  He is not driving a cab.

  SINGLETON:  Well, I don`t think Donald Trump has ever really appreciated the idea that, when you`re president, you`re president for everyone. 


SINGLETON:  Not a third of the country, not a quarter of the country, not just the folks who voted for you, but every single person. 

MATTHEWS:  President...


SINGLETON:  And, look, I want to remind people of the politics of this, Chris. 

Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by just 44,000 votes.  He won Michigan by just 10,000 votes.  He won Wisconsin by just 22,000 votes.  He won Florida by 100,000 votes, which is 1.2 percent. 

This notion that Donald Trump is automatically going to be reelected in 2020, I`m not certain of that.  What existed in 2016 is not necessarily going to exist in 2020.  And what`s so incoherent about...

MATTHEWS:  Well, you`re the expert here on politics.  I want you to answer these two questions. 


MATTHEWS:  Two factors will change, we know, by 2020, right?

One is, Hillary Clinton won`t be running. 

SINGLETON:  Exactly. 

MATTHEWS:  She had some negative vote there because of her long career. 


MATTHEWS:  Second thing is, the African-American vote fell off in `16. 

SINGLETON:  It did. 

MATTHEWS:  Will it come back out of out of reaction to him?  Because remember Philadelphia, when we had Frank Rizzo?


MATTHEWS:  Largest black registration ever, because there`s a reason to get out there and vote. 

He wasn`t just Tweedledum and Tweedledee.  He was the enemy.  Will a bad Trump drive up the black participation?

SINGLETON:  I am 90 percent sure that it was.

When Donald Trump asked that question, what in the hell do you have to lose, I think a lot of African-Americans realize, we have a whole lot to lose. 


SINGLETON:  And I think whomever the Democratic nominee will be, black voters will turn out significantly, including Hispanic voters will turn out significantly. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s 96 million people.

SINGLETON:  And that does not benefit Donald Trump. 


Let me go to Michelle on that.

Your thoughts, Michelle, because voters are negative in many ways.  They will get out on the street and go vote on a rainy day or a snowy day because they don`t like somebody. 

GOLDBERG:  Well, that`s true. 

And I think that there is no question in my mind that Donald Trump is going to lose the popular vote in 2020.  I think the only question is whether...

MATTHEWS:  What about the states that Shermichael mentioned, though?  They`re the critical states.

GOLDBERG:  Right. 

And I very much hope he is right.  I think he is probably right, but I don`t think anybody should be complacent about Donald Trump`s inevitable loss, because I think that one thing that we`re learning is that there is more -- there`s a fair amount of white people who won`t admit to liking what Donald Trump is selling, but in the privacy of the voting booths, that`s where they cast their lots. 


MATTHEWS:  Some.  I think that`s true. 

I also think there are some people that don`t like thinking that they`re racist too. 

DYSON:  Well, yes.

But Tom Bradley effect, oh, yes, yes, yes, I`m down with that, I`m down with that.  And you go in the voting booth and you dimple chad or pull the lever, and you`re...


MATTHEWS:  Explain the Tom Bradley effect. 

DYSON:  Well, Tom Bradley was the black mayor of Los Angeles running for governor, polling way ahead. 

People thought that he would walk in, almost waltz into the governorship, and then, when people got into the voting booth, their rhetoric didn`t match their action. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree.  They put Deukmejian in, a guy they never heard of. 


MATTHEWS:  By the way, I thought that was going to happen, Professor, too, in `08.  It didn`t.

Obama actually beat the spread, which was good for the country.

Anyway, House minority leader -- Whip Steve Scalise said today that when Obama was president, Republicans didn`t disrespect the office of the presidency. 

Let`s listen to that. 


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA):  We had disagreements with a lot of Barack Obama`s policies, but we never disrespected the office.  We expressed our disagreements in a respectful way. 

But what they continue to do, to go after him personally, to call for impeachment of the president from day one. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, as "The Washington Post" pointed out today, there is plenty of tape out there that disputes Scalise`s kind argument about his party.  Let`s watch. 


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The reforms I`m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. 

REP. JOE WILSON (R-SC):  You lie!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is the time that we`re going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.  We`re going to do it. 


REP. DOUG LAMBORN (R-CO):  I don`t want to even have to be associated with him.  It`s like touching a tar baby, and you get it -- you`re stuck and you`re part of the problem now. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s unbelievable. 

Anyway, that was Congressman Lamborn from Colorado, who did finally apologize for that. 

What do you think?  The Republicans are clean on this, that they have never attacked the president, recent president?

SINGLETON:  Hell, no, they`re not clean, Chris.  Excuse my language, but this really angers me. 

Yes, I`m a conservative, but there was a huge sense of pride for me to see Barack Obama get elected.  I remember I was a student in high school, and I called the superintendent of my district in the suburb outside of Dallas to demand that we get a school bus, so that the boys of my high school could go and see President Obama speak. 

Didn`t care about the politics.  It was just amazing for me, as a young black kid, to say, oh, my God, look at this black guy.  He is the president. 

And so you have Republicans who are sitting there saying you never -- they disrespected President Obama every step of the way.  You don`t have to like the policies, but why in the hell do you have to disrespect the man just merely because of how he looked, how he looked?

MATTHEWS:  Well, you...

DYSON:  Well, I think that`s what -- but, see, this is what Donald Trump has tapped in to, right, that extra-rational, that irrational stuff there that lays down there, right?

MATTHEWS:  It`s absurd.  It`s absurd. 


DYSON:  And it`s -- but it`s clearly explained.

It`s deep -- the deep pathology of white supremacy and racism and the hatred of things that are not white, black and brown.

Look at the congresswomen who are now being battered by Donald Trump, battered into glory, to a certain degree, but also seen as a kind of pinata, right, as a kind of whipping boy, lashing out against them. 


MATTHEWS:  We have to go.  We have to go.

But if you can`t remember what happened in the last presidency, you`re not going to remember slavery and Jim Crow.  And they have memories -- they have memories of gnats. 

Anyway, I got to go.


SINGLETON:  Change is inevitable.

MATTHEWS:  I know.

Anyway, Michelle Goldberg, thank you so much, from "The New York Times." 

GOLDBERG:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  I read you regularly, as I should. 

Shermichael Singleton and Michael Eric Dyson. 

Up next:  Newspaper editorial boards all around the country are calling out Trump`s tweets as racist, the word they`re using.  The question is, will his supporters care?  Or is this episode only hardening their support for him?  I think the core is the core. 

I think the -- right around the edge of the core is wearing off. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

President Trump was elected by embracing a hard-line immigration policy of course, promoting a Muslim ban, of course, and unabashedly using racially tinged language, of course.  And, as president, he refused to condemn a neo-Nazi rally, of course, in Charlottesville. 

Well, Sunday`s racist tweets by him directed at four minority congresswomen showed the president is willing to use the same type of rhetoric to solidify his base ahead of the 2020 campaign as he used in 2016.

His remarks were condemned by some of the country`s major newspapers, from Florida to Pittsburgh, even in Topeka, Kansas. 

"The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch," for example, wrote that the president`s -- quote -- these are quotes -- "racist rant crossed a new line."

"The Minneapolis Star-Tribune" wrote the president was tapping into -- quote -- "his toolkit of racism" -- those were the words -- "by attacking the congresswomen."

"The Charlotte Observer" asked Republicans if they were OK with a racist president?" -- again, the word.

For more, I`m joined by Elise Jordan, former aide to George W. Bush White House and a contributor to "TIME" magazine, and Joel Payne, Democratic strategist. 

Elise, it`s interesting.  You know, the newspaper world, especially the editorial page, they`re very careful about language that`s personal and is a little too ethnic. 

Now we have NBC News -- I believe this -- believes that the language by the president over the weekend is, in fact, racist, is willing to use the word.  All these newspapers. 

This is not fake news.  This is an alignment of newspaper editors, all in their own separate souls, that this is un-American and unacceptable language by a president. 

Your thoughts? 

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  You look at the government`s handbook on what constitutes racism, and literally telling someone to -- quote -- "go back to their country" is an example given. 

Of course this is racism.  Newspapers and those of us in the media need to call this what it is.  And Donald Trump made a racist statement, and there is no need to parse words when it comes down who to what he actually said. 

MATTHEWS:  And I think -- I think, Joel, when you call people of color to go back to where they came from, it`s singling them out. 

I mean, there were -- we have had pretty nativist comments by people during World War I.  One of the Cabinet members of Wilson came out and said, if you`re from Germany go, back with your wooden shoes. 

That`s not -- when you say only to four people of color, you`re making a statement. 

JOEL PAYNE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  It`s personal.  My great-grandfather was a sharecropper, OK?  My grandfather moved our family north during the great migration.  We know what that means. 

We know exactly what the president is talking about when he is using that rhetoric. 

And what is interesting to me about this is, I have been saying the president is saying the quiet part out loud.  This is the stuff in the past that would have been pushed back to the backbenchers, to the guys that they didn`t let in the front of -- or the women that they didn`t let in the front of the House of Representatives or the Senate.  They didn`t let them talk. 

Donald Trump has now represented that person in the White House.  He`s the guy at the end of the bar that everybody told to shut up at the end of the night. 

MATTHEWS:  So, he is the Joe Wilson.

PAYNE:  He is the Joe Wilson.  They elected Joe Wilson.  They elected Steve King president. 


PAYNE:  Because they wanted to tap into this to turn up their base, to turn this base red hot.  That`s actually Trump`s strategy here, too, by the way. 

Normally, at this point in the cycle...

MATTHEWS:  Why do you want -- why do you want a red -- turn on 37 percent of the public, the red hot Trump people, when 37 percent will lose a general election? 

PAYNE:  It`s the only way he can win.  The only way he can win is having 37... 


MATTHEWS:  Well, how do you win with 37 percent? 

PAYNE:  Because what he is going to do is, he`s going to tear down the other side.  He is going to tear down Harris, Warren, Booker, et cetera. 

MATTHEWS:  That`s fair politics.  That`s just rough politics. 

PAYNE:  Yes, yes. 

But he is going to tear them down, and he is going to make the moderates do jump ball at the end of the day. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Elise, back to you.  You`re the pro on this politics thing here. 

How you make 37 51 or even close enough to 50 to take the Electoral College? 

JORDAN:  If you have voters in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan staying out and they aren`t energized, again, you repeat somewhat the model that happened in 2016, and that would be how Trump secures a victory. 

At this point, though, there is...


MATTHEWS:  That`s with Hillary helping.  Come on, Elise. 


MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  Let`s talk politics. 

Skip ethnicity for three seconds.  The politics of `16 was, a lot of African-Americans stayed home because they weren`t as energized as they were for Barack Obama.  It makes perfect sense historically. 

Another problem was, a lot of people were tired of the Clintons after 20 years, and Hillary Clinton took the brunt of that.  She took the brunt for her husband and everything else.  We all know that. 

PAYNE:  Well, Chris, I can speak to this.

MATTHEWS:  Just one second.

JORDAN:  She was the receptacle of negative polarization in that election. 

Is Donald Trump going to be that vehicle in 2020?  As of now, it does seem like the Democratic base is certainly motivated and primed to come out.  You look at what happened in 2018 and how their turnout ballooned. 

Certainly, Republicans had pretty strong turnout. 


JORDAN:  But Democrats widely surpassed it. 

So they`re on good footing, if they keep their people motivated and excited. 

PAYNE:  Yes, my point was, look, I worked on the Hillary campaign.  I actually did African-American ad outreach. 

And what we found is that people -- we wanted to tie Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton.  That didn`t work, because Obama`s coattails weren`t long enough to drag Hillary across the finish line. 

What we found is that voters felt apathetic because the Obama, you know, layover effect was really putting a drag on Democratic turnout. 

So, what we`re going to have to do this time...

MATTHEWS:  What does that language -- explain the language. 

PAYNE:  What that means is that enough Democrats were not excited about turning out. 

It could have been Hillary Clinton.  It could have -- frankly, it really could have been anybody that was not an African-American. 

MATTHEWS:  I think that...


MATTHEWS:  ... true.

PAYNE: I think that was going to happen to anybody, and I think unfortunately, it`s just going to be -- 

MATTHEWS:  OK, I want to say it that way because I know there`s some anti- Hillary attitude in the suburbs, but in big city, lack of turnout was just a lack of gung-ho. 

PAYNE:  It was a lack of turnout and, look, there was some strategic mistakes as well which we`ll acknowledge. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, thank you, Elise Jordan.  Thank you, Joel Payne.  It`s great to have you both on.

Up next, Biden and Bernie battled over healthcare, the Democrats` most important issue to them.  The sharp divide between two of the major candidates is now out in the open.  Obama -- well, I made a mistake.  Biden calling him Obama.  He wants to keep Obamacare, not in a public option.  Bernie wants government-run health care. 

Stick around.  You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Tonight, a new poll in one of the 2020 battleground states is showing a tighter race among the top Democratic contenders.  The CNN/University of New Hampshire poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders topping the list, there they are, as the nearly two dozen candidates fight it out for the nomination. 

The battle over healthcare remains one of the top issues for everyone, especially in the Democratic Party.  Well, two of the front-runners, Biden and Sanders, have not kicked off -- the first high profile fight that`s going on right now on the issue, with Biden releasing his proposal to keep and expand the Affordable Care Act, the ACA, and Sanders pushing for Medicare-for-All or actually government-run health care, would basically eliminate anybody`s chance of buying private insurance, at least full buy insurance. 

Let`s watch. 


MIKE BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST, "MORNING JOE":  Does your health care plan go far enough for a party that supports predominantly Medicare-for-All? 


BRZEZINSKI:  It`s pretty conservative. 

BIDEN:  Well, look, I don`t think it`s conservative at all.  It`s -- it will pick up the vast majority of almost 100 percent of the American people.  It is available immediately and will be able to be moved, we can pass it. 


BIDEN:  It costs a lot of money.  It costs $750 billion, not $3 trillion.  It can be done quickly, and it will in fact allow people to make the choice of staying on their own, their employer-based plan if they like it better or joining this plan. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Senator Sanders responded today to Biden`s criticism that Sanders` Medicare-for-All plan is too risky and could cause people to lose coverage. 


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I like Joe, and I hope we will have this debate, you know.  But when Joe says something to the effect that Medicare for seniors, what he said, will end -- I mean, that just an obviously absurd situation. 


MATTHEWS:  And according to a recent poll, voters backed the idea of a government-run health care system. 

More on that next, and I`m going to speak with one of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president, Montana Governor Steve Bullock. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

As the battle lines are forming over health care among the Democratic presidential candidates, a recent poll is showing a near split by registered voters over which health care system they`d prefer. 

According to "The Washington Post"/ABC poll just out, among all registered voter, 49 percent prefer a government-run health care system like the one Senator Sanders is proposing, with 44 percent sticking with the Affordable Care Act in place where Vice President Biden was in the House -- in the White House, rather.  We can assume among only Democratic registered voters, the numbers would be much higher for the universal health care or the government-run option. 

For more, I`m joined by Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. 

I`ve been watching you.  I feel like Robert de Niro.  I`ve been watching you.  I watch you and you`re now finally in the race, because I think you`re going to be a challenge because you`ve got executive ability.  You ran a state.  You`re not some gadfly. 

GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I won in a state where Trump won. 



MATTHEWS:  But you`re a governor. 


MATTHEWS:  People will vote for a relatively liberal senator -- governor, but they`re not going to vote for a Democrat.  You`re not going to run for the Senate, for example, because you can`t win, can you? 

BULLOCK:  I`m not going run for Senate. 

MATTHEWS:  You can`t win. 

BULLOCK:  I think I could probably win. 

MATTHEWS:  Really? 

BULLOCK:  No, I think -- 

MATTHEWS:  Some of you guys are running actually for president when everybody knows, you know, Buttigieg is not going to become senator from Indiana.  It`s a conservative state. 

BULLOCK:  But we`ve got a whole bunch of good folks.  Democrats are going to be running against Senator Daines.  And I think the --

MATTHEWS:  Would Tulsi Gabbard be elected governor or senator of Hawaii?  No.  I mean, you guys are running out of desperation.

BULLOCK:  Look, I won in Montana in 2016.  Donald Trump took Montana by 20.  I won by 4.  Twenty-five to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump. 

MATTHEWS:  Why did they vote for a Democrat in conservative Montana, you? 

BULLOCK:  Well, I think because they knew that they might disagree with me on some issues, but I`d be fighting for them.  I understood their lives.  I`ve travelled all throughout.


BULLOCK:  And I`m fighting for the better economic gains.  And I think that, you know, folks even though as a Democrat, and we`re kind of a purple state, that they knew that everybody day I`m recognizing that not everybody is climbing up that ladder, having that fair shot for opportunity, and I`d be working for them to do that. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you deal with a party that on so many issues seems to lean very left?  You know, I was watching the very first debate.  I thought it was exciting. 

But when they put those hands up, everybody has got their hands like -- why are they flapping their hands up so fast?  If you get in the country without documentation, illegally, immediate health care.  I mean, how about thinking a couple of seconds before you put that hand up? 

BULLOCK:  Well, and there are a couple -- look, we`ve got to reform our immigration system. 


BULLOCK:  But in an area like that, or decriminalizing border entry, those are areas where I don think it`s the best way to actually fix the immigration system. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree with you.

And that will sell with the party?

BULLOCK:  I think it will.

You know, the biggest problem right now I think from my perspective with overall immigration system, we need to change some things, but it`s Donald Trump.  He is the one that`s both ripping families apart and ripping our country apart. 

MATTHEWS:  Why isn`t Biden doing better? 

BULLOCK:  I think, you know --

MATTHEWS:  Is he too old? 

BULLOCK:  That`s -- at the end of the day, Chris, that`s up to the voters. 

MATTHEWS:  But what`s up to you?  You`re running against him.  Is he too old? 

BULLOCK:  I think I have something to offer that`s unique to the field.  

MATTHEWS:  Why can`t you answer this question?  Why is it a problem? 

BULLOCK:  Well, I don`t think -- what, as far as whether he`s too old? 

MATTHEWS:  He`ll be in his 80s -- 

BULLOCK:  No, that`s up to the -- 

MATTHEWS:  three to four years he`s president.

BULLOCK:  That`s up to the voters.  What do you think?

MATTHEWS:  Oh, my job is different.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, following the president`s attacks on the four freshman House Democrats, Republicans mainly expressed support for the president, including Montana Senator Steve Daines, your senator. 

The senator tweeted, quote: Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, I guess that`s how to pronounce it, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals.  This is America.  We`re the greatest country in the world.  I stand with Donald Trump. 

What do you think of your senator? 

BULLOCK:  I think both -- look, in that tweet, that`s not what Montanans are.


BULLOCK:  And to further divide us?  That`s -- you know, I don`t get elected by trashing every single Republican, nor should I?  I work with those. 


MATTHEWS:  OK, we got a minute, we got a minute.  I`m sorry to kid around with you because this is important.  Long ago, I thought you were the best bet because I think people want an executive and they want somebody sort of center left, moderate, from Montana. 

So, make your pitch.  President of the United States.  Why you? 

BULLOCK:  Look, the economy is not working for most folks.  They look to the political system for relief.  It`s captured by the money. 

I`m the only one in this field that won in a Trump state.  If we`re going to win in 2016, we not only have to bring out our base but we got to bring back places like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.  I can do that.  Twenty-five to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump. 

I think people are also hungry to believe the government can work.  My -- the whole time I`ve been in office, had a majority Republican legislature.  Even with that legislature, we`ve been able to get good things done like expanding health care to 100,000 Montanans, record investments in education, freezing college tuition, kicking dark money out of our elections. 

MATTHEWS:  You`re great on that.  By the way, if you only get that done, I watched that documentary (ph) -- 


BULLOCK:  And we need to do that.

MATTHEWS:  No, getting rid of dark -- 

BULLOCK:  That`s exactly right.

MATTHEWS:  -- I think it`s a root of so much evil in politics.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much, Governor. 

BULLOCK:  Thanks for having me, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  It`s great to have you on.  Steve Bullock of Montana, a great state. 

Up next, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, and one president`s historic vision. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  When President Kennedy was killed, his widow Jackie sought two monuments to his honor.  First, there was the eternal flame guarding his grave at Arlington Cemetery.  The second was her husband`s initials on a tiny corner of a giant Saturn Rocket then readying for launch where no one would see it.  It was the same rocket that would carry the Apollo program six years later to the moon. 

Apollo 11 would take three astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon, all because Kennedy had set it as an American goal. 


JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT:  We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.  Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we`re willing to accept, one we are willing to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others too. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, today, July 16th is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, a needed reminder of what we Americans can do when we put our heads together. 


ANNOUNCER:  Liftoff.  We have a liftoff, 32 minutes past the hour.  Liftoff on Apollo 11. 


MATTHEWS:  When I listened to the three astronauts take off from the lunar surface in 1969, worrying like the rest of the world if our astronauts would make it back to earth.  As a peace corps volunteer in Africa thousands of miles from home, I had only a short wave radio and, of course, the shared hope of mankind. 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.