ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Also, I want to tell you a programming note, 9:00 P.M. tonight, Eastern Time, an MSNBC special, A Nation In Crisis, airs right here on MSNBC.
Up next is "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Political terrorism. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Fear, loathing and death, is this the face of Trumpland? Dual massacres this weekend in El Paso where the death toll has now reached 22. A gunman laid siege to a Walmart shopping center Saturday targeting families buying school supplies in the predominately Hispanic neighborhood.
Just hours later at a popular night life district in Dayton, Ohio, a shooter equipped with a rifle and high-capacity magazine killed nine people in just 30 seconds before being shot dead by police.
The massacre in El Paso was a case of political terrorism. Authorities are investigating what they say is an anti-immigrant declaration of hate that the gunman posted to an extremist website just minutes before the attack.
While addressing both mass shootings this morning, the President actually condemned the white nationalist sentiments that appear to have motivated the Texas gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate.
In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the gunman`s declaration of hate, the Associated Press reports that, quote, some of the language included in the document parroted Trump`s own words, characterizing Hispanic migrants as invaders, taking American jobs and arguing, quote, to send them back. In short, the online rant speaks of a Hispanic invasion of Texas. It mirrors the very language that the President routinely uses describe those trying to enter the country illegally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, a lot of people don`t like the word, invasion. We have a country that`s being invaded by criminals and by drugs.
Mexico should step up and stop this onslaught, this invasion.
This is a virtual invasion of our country.
But we are being invaded. We`re being invaded by drugs, by people, by criminals, and we have to stop it.
You look at what`s marching up, that`s an invasion. That`s not -- that`s an invasion.
It is an invasion, you know that.
It`s an invasion of our country.
We have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people.
I don`t care what the fake media says, that`s an invasion of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: More damning for the President is that in a rally just three months ago, he laughed when an audience member called for those entering the country illegally to be shot. Two people at that rally confirmed to NBC News that the audience member yelled out, shoot them. And here is that scene playing out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is an invasion. When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that`s an invasion. But how do you stop these people?
AUDIENCE: Shoot them.
TRUMP: You can`t. There`s no -- that`s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a chuckle.
Anyway, earlier this morning, the President suggested he would support stronger background checks for gun purchases if Congress backs his agenda on immigration.
He tweeted, we cannot let those kill die in vain. Republicans and democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We just -- we must have something good, if not, great come out of these two tragic events.
On linking the two issues, the President appeared to suggest he`d hold gun legislation hostage until he gets action on border security. In the last hour, NBC has learned that the President intends to visit Dayton and El Paso in the next couple of days.
I`m joined now right now by Kamala Harris of California, who`s running for the democratic nomination for president.
Senator, great to have you on, but not so much because of tonight, and I want you to give us a sense. I`m calling this political terrorism because I think this is like the assassination of Dr. King and the Kennedy Brothers. It`s a political act aimed at making a political statement, a declaration. And that declaration echoes the President`s own. Your thoughts?
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-A): Well, I call it domestic terrorism because, listen, there is no question that these are acts of violence that are motivated by hate and intended to terrorize our country. And we should think of it as a national safety threat in that way.
I also think that we have to acknowledge that, first of all, it is borne out of hate, it is creating fear, it is intended to create fear, much less intended to -- obviously to kill people, innocent people.
But, you know, I mean, you`re mentioning it, Chris, in the context also of the President. I -- his words have no meaning on this issue as well as many others. But on this issue in particular, his words have no meaning today. You know, he waits this long to speak. He`s the President of the United States. He should be bringing a sense of calm. He should be bringing a sense of compassion. And, you know, the guy is out playing golf after this happened.
MATTHEWS: I know.
HARRIS: And I think that what it speaks to is a failure of leadership across the board.
And then on the issue of gun violence, in addition to the issue of the white nationalism and the hate that are behind this, we need action and we need action that is called on by the President of the United States and that is acted on by the United States Congress. But we see a failure across the board.
I`ll tell you, when I`m elected, I`m going to give the United States congress 100 days to pull their act together on this and put a bill on my desk for signature. And if they do not, I will take executive action. I`ll put in place a comprehensive background requirement. I`ll put in place a requirement that we ban the importation of assault weapons into our country. I will require that we support the ATF in taking the licenses of gun dealers who violate the law.
It is enough of talking about this, enough of the beautiful speeches and the grand gestures. We need action. The American people deserve it. They want it and we need it.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the assault weapons. We had a pretty good ban in place from `94 to 2004, thanks to your colleague, Senator Dianne Feinstein. That was a big part of her effort. California is very good on guns, I think. It`s a state that like Connecticut has some brains about the subject, for some reason.
Can you -- why don`t we have that now? Apparently, Tom Delay refused to let it come out in the House. It died in a sunset provision in the act. It always struck me, why would the Congress let that die? Is it just NRA power?
HARRIS: Well, you know, I mean, I`ve always asked about this, you know, what is the deal with the NRA? You know, being in D.C. now for two and a half years as a senator, it`s clear to me that special interests have a firm grasp on a lot of people on Capitol Hill, and the NRA included.
And at some point, people have got to have the courage of their convictions and understand that to be elected a member of the United States Congress means to take on a role and responsibility of having the best interests of the American people and their health, safety and well-being in your priorities, and the highest priority.
But, you know, these members of Congress, they walk around with these fancy lapel pins and they have staff chasing them around as they walk up and down the halls and they take pictures and they take all the benefits of being a member of the United States Congress, but on this issue, no responsibility.
And it is a failure, it is a failure to act based on what people know, to be right, which is to reject a false choice, which suggests you`re either in favor of the second amendment or you want to take everyone`s guns away. Like, just act. This is not about saying we`re going to take everyone`s guns away. We`re saying we need reasonable gun safety laws, including universal background checks, and to your point, Chris, a renewal of the assault weapons ban. It`s just the right thing to do.
MATTHEWS: How far can you go? Look, I`ve heard this speech before from others and I`ve also watched people`s careers end because of the NRA. We had a great liberal senator when I was growing up named Joe Clark, a fabulous -- he was defeated by the NRA. It`s possible. Tom Foley had to deal with the NRA out in Spokane. I mean, it`s -- they`re a frightening group. What do you say to your colleagues who face political elimination at the hands of the NRA? Do you tell them it`s worth a hill to die for? How do you tell them that?
HARRIS: Chris, people are dying every day in America.
MATTHEWS: I`m just asking, how do you convince people that are limp --
HARRIS: We just saw this. This is the point -- but this is the point here. Now, I`m going to get into a good strong shouting match with you.
MATTHEWS: Go for it.
HARRIS: Listen, people -- we have babies who have been orphaned in El Paso. You look at what happened in Dayton, in Gilroy, California, in Poway, California, in the Tree of Life synagogue. People are dying in America. Blood is being shed. And if these elected leaders aren`t prepared to stand for something to the point that maybe they might lose the job but they will have done the right thing, they need to move over. Because what the American people deserve is to have leaders who act with courage.
And you know what? It`s not enough to lead with your heart. There`s another piece of the anatomy that they also need to use.
HARRIS: I`m not going to mention what that is.
MATTHEWS: No, I got you on that.
Let me ask you about this President and his -- what you pointed out is his phony baloney thing he did in the last couple of days. He`s out playing golf. He goes to a birthday party. He didn`t seem to be all that interested in this horror that took in El Paso at all. And then he comes out with a statement read almost like by a POW. He didn`t write that statement. All these about the evils of nationalism and everything, and hatred. Who wrote that?
How did you react when you heard those what I call phony baloney, like Joe Biden here, full malarkey, or whatever it is? What do you make of what he was saying today?
HARRIS: They were empty words, Chris, And I think that there is a clear disconnect, as usual, between what is actually happening in our country and the level of awareness that this president has about his role and his responsibility.
You know, again, we are dealing with immense tragedy. People are mourning. The fact that, one, these crimes were committed, and in particular, what happened in El Paso motivated by hate, the kind of hate speech that this President speaks on a consistent basis.
HARRIS: And, you know, it`s just -- these are empty words. These are empty words that he`s speaking.
But let`s get back to the point of it. The point of it has to be that we stand up and that leaders lead, and that includes obviously the President of the United States, and this president has shown he doesn`t have the capacity to do that. And it is the United States Congress.
But we can`t wait any longer. And we have not lacked for good ideas. We`ve had plenty of good ideas. We are lacking for action and for people to have courage.
And here`s the other thing I`ll say about the NRA, Chris, because I think it`s really important. Responsible gun owners are in favor of background checks because responsible gun owners know that you might just want to know if somebody has been found to be a danger to themselves or others before you let them buy a gun. You just might want to know if someone has been convicted of a crime of violence before you let them buy a gun. You just might want to know. It`s really practical. And those bullets are not distinguishing between republicans and democrats. So let`s grow up, everyone, and take charge and lead.
MATTHEWS: I`m afraid -- I want to ask you now a pretty tough question, I think, about leadership. I think the President is a leader in the worst way. When President Obama was elected to the glory of this country, an African-American elected president after a whole history, to have that come about. And he said, oh, no, he`s a Kenyan. He`s not even here legally. He`s some sort of illegal immigrant type. He`s a fraud. Nobody has his high school records. Nobody knew him in school. He made him almost like a phantom.
And then he goes after illegal immigrants, undocumented workers. He goes after that group. So he goes after African-Americans, then he goes after Hispanic-Americans, Latinos.
The whole pattern seems to be white supremacy. It seems to be. And then this guy the other day kills 22 people in the name of --
HARRIS: Yes, it is. It actually is.
MATTHEWS: Is he morally or legally or somewhere in the middle responsible for what`s going on in this violence, the President?
HARRIS: Well, he is morally responsible for setting a tone in this country that is -- is not speaking to the best of who we are. He is morally responsible for coddling and condoning this kind of thought and language and clearly action. It leads to action.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.
HARRIS: He doesn`t -- but the point -- hold on. The point, Chris, is he doesn`t understand the strength and the power of the President of the United States to do good. Instead, he does -- he does things that cause bad behaviors, and in this case, his kinds of words encouraged the kind of action that we`ve seen in El Paso.
MATTHEWS: Is he educable?
MATTHEWS: Educable? Can he be educated? Will this educate him? He seemed to pull back on Ilhan Omar this week.
HARRIS: Oh, no, absolutely not.
MATTHEWS: He seemed to pull back. He`s not educable. He can`t be corrected.
HARRIS: No, Chris. Listen. You know, Maya Angelou told us a long time ago, people tell you who they are the the first time, believe it. He has told us who he is.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Senator Kamala Harris, candidate for president, U.S. Senator from California.
HARRIS: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He`s the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Congressman, thank you, it`s an honor having you on as well, sir. And thank you, your brother is running for president. You`re Chairman of the caucus. The victims of this, I think, political terrorism were intended to be and are and have been Hispanic people, Latino Americans. Your feelings about this?
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): That`s right, Chris. This was the deadliest attack on the Latino community in United States` history. And the President today in his press conference, I think as all Americans after an event like this were glad that the President would address it and at least speak about the opportunity to work on gun control legislation with the Congress, but the President blamed the media, the internet, video games, he did not look in the mirror and blame himself.
If you look at that terrorist manifesto, the shooter`s manifesto, a lot of the language that the shooter used is eerily similar to language that the President has used to dehumanize and demonize Hispanic immigrants in this country, and that violence spilled over and affected not just immigrants but Hispanic-Americans and also folks that are not Hispanic.
So the President has created this deadly climate where people are acting upon the kind of words and language that he has inspired in them.
The other part of it is the guns. The fact that this guy could take a weapon of war to the streets of an American city and kill 22 people so quickly, and that the man in Dayton, Ohio could kill nine people and injured 26 people in 24 seconds should be a wake-up call to all Americans that we have to get these weapons of war off the streets of our country.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to the first question. If this killer, mass shooter, does fess up and explains that he was following the language of the President, what`s that -- what does that lead us to in terms of political, if not, legal culpability? If he was basically acting on, if you will, the instructions of the President, the leadership of this president, using his language, his manifesto, as you put it, how does that connect?
I mean, normally, if somebody said, go do this and I do it, you sort of connect the person. His agency isn`t 100 percent. He`s being led to this by someone else.
CASTRO: This presidency has been a cancer on the country. This president has put a target on the backs of vulnerable communities, not just the Latino community but the black community when he speak of areas of Baltimore as being infested, the Muslim community, the LGBTQ community. All of these communities, the President at one time or another, has attacked.
And in a country of over 300 million people, when you create that kind of political -- dangerous political environment, there are going to be people who act on the words of such a powerful person, the person who holds the highest office in the land. That is what this president has created in the United States of America.
MATTHEWS: I think Mike Pence is more responsible for that last one you mentioned.
Anyway, thank you, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas.
Coming up, the President and others are blaming mental illness and video games, ignoring the fact that those existing countries where mass murders don`t happen. You notice that? There`s a lot of countries that got video games and they`ve got mental illness. They don`t have mass shootings, lots of countries like that. Is that because those countries don`t have easy access to semi-automatic rifles, assault rifles?
So any meaningful gun control actually happen this time or will we be forced to see more images like this, people running for their lives. Look at this. These are real people like us.
Congressman and democratic candidate Tim Ryan of Ohio is going to join me next.
Much more ahead here on HARDBALL tonight. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Democratic lawmakers have stepped up calls for Mitch McConnell to bring senators back to Washington from their vacation to vote on a background check bill that passed the House in February. It could pass, but he won`t bring it up.
Although President Trump tweeted earlier this morning in support of strong background checks, in the White House`S remarks hours later, he blamed a host of other culprits for the shootings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.
We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.
We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence. Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is what Democrats should fear in November next year, the president reading a Teleprompter. He doesn`t have to believe a word of it, but it sounds better than anything he says off the cuff.
For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, who previously served as police chief of Orlando, and Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Campaign Violence.
Congresswoman, thank you for joining us.
You know about police work. You were a chief. I always figure chiefs know what the hell is going on, what you can do to stop murders, what you can do to protect people.
How do you get past Mitch McConnell?
REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well, Chris, thank you so much for inviting me tonight. I really wish I was here for another reason.
Look, the House passed what we say is very meaningful legislation right after the 1st of the year. And that legislation, which deals with background checks has sat on Mitch McConnell`s desk for months.
And so I believe we are on the right track. We are calling for Mitch McConnell to take action, but more important than Congress, the American people. Every advocacy group that I know of is out there calling for action.
You know, Moms Demand Action just happened to be in Washington, D.C., at a conference. They have called for action. And so we have got to hold Mitch McConnell accountable. And we intend to do that.
MATTHEWS: Kris, do you believe that the United States Senate -- I have been thinking about this, as everybody has. The Electoral College shifts all the power to the small states, you know, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, these states that have like one member of Congress in them, they`re so small.
And yet they control the U.S. Senate. They own it. They own the Electoral College, the same deal. I have never seen such a bias in our Constitution towards the gun-owning states. How do you get any meaningful gun legislation through 60 votes in the Senate? How can you ever get 60 votes in the Senate in a Senate dominated by these rural states?
KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: Well, I think...
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that it?
BROWN: It is a big part of it, Chris, but we also have to look at what happened in 2018 in the last election cycle.
After Sandy Hook, which was really a stain on our national conscience, the idea that 26 children and educators were gunned down in school and that Congress failed to take any action really hurt our movement.
Fast-forward, Parkland, and it wasn`t elementary school children. These were high school children who got out afterwards, the survivors, and said we call B.S. on that.
And what happened as a result of that was a record number of people registering and a record number of people voting. That`s why we have a gun violence prevention majority in the House of Representatives.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go back. Let`s talk turkey again, the same question I asked the congresswoman.
MATTHEWS: How do you get Mitch McConnell, who doesn`t mind taking the heat -- he says go enjoy life to the other Republican senators. Do what you want. Go on vacation. Hang out with the family. I will take the heat.
And he just does it.
BROWN: He does it, but he has done it without penalty.
And the reality is and what I`m saying is, he is up for reelection in 2020 and so are a number of senators.
MATTHEWS: In Kentucky, though.
BROWN: I understand it`s in Kentucky, but look at what`s happening in some of these states across the country.
This is an issue in which, whether you`re a gun owner or not a gun owner, the American people are uniform in their belief that these changes need to happen.
MATTHEWS: As you mentioned in the wake of the massacred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year, President Trump briefly supported a plan to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21.
Then, during a meeting with the White House with lawmakers of both parties, he accused them of being afraid of the NRA. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can buy a handgun. You can`t buy one. You have to wait until you`re 21. But you can buy the kind of weapon used in the school shooting at 18.
I think it`s something you have to think about. Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can`t be petrified. They want to do what`s right. And they`re going to do what`s right. I really believe that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the next day, the president tweeted: "Great meeting in the Oval Office today with the NRA."
But two weeks later, he rolled out a proposal to arm some teachers, backing off the proposal to raise the minimum age to gun purchase.
Congresswoman, again, it`s just a wall. And here`s what I`m afraid of. A week from now, when we normal people are thinking about all kinds of things again, because news changes, the gun owners, the Second Amendment types are still thinking about they want their gun.
DEMINGS: You know, Chris, let me say this.
In this country, as you well know, we have faced some tough times. And we have been to some places when we look back now and wonder how we ever got there. Every horrible issue in this country has its tipping point.
And, you know, it`s not just these two horrible incidents that happened this weekend. It`s Newtown, it`s Parkland, it`s Orlando, it`s Las Vegas, it`s Virginia Tech. Every issue has its tipping point.
I don`t believe anything the president says out of his mouth. I have no faith in him. But I do have faith in the American people. And I believe the American people are going to demand more. They`re not stupid.
And so I just believe this is a time to come together, hold the president accountable, the Senate accountable, Mitch McConnell accountable, and I just believe it`s going to happen.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me talk about presidents and guns.
Franklin Roosevelt would be dead, except the guy missed and hit Cermak of Chicago, the mayor of Chicago. It was down at the Orange Bowl. Harry Truman was shot by Puerto Rican nationalists at the Blair House next to the White House.
Let`s see. John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas. Jerry Ford was shot at twice. Ronald Reagan should have been killed by -- except for the magic of his Secret Service agent getting him to G.W. University Hospital in no time. Saved his life. But that guy was shooting to kill him.
We live in a violent country. And presidents have not been immune from it.
MATTHEWS: And yet, when Bobby was shot, when Dr. King was shot, when Jack was killed, we always said, we`re going to get to these people.
And every single damn time, the gun guys win. You say there`s a tipping point. When? I keep waiting.
BROWN: Well, I happen to lead an organization called Brady. Jim Brady was also shot.
MATTHEWS: When they shot at Reagan.
BROWN: When they shot at Reagan. He survived. He and his wife spent six years and seven votes doing what they said at the time, Chris, was impossible.
But, ultimately, when that law was finally signed by President Clinton, it passed the Senate by unanimous consent. We`re not saying this is easy.
MATTHEWS: This is the assault weapons ban.
BROWN: The Brady law.
BROWN: The Brady law, six years...
MATTHEWS: How long was it sunset? Was it sunset?
BROWN: It`s still in effect. The Brady law is our nation`s background check system.
MATTHEWS: And what does that do? And what does that do?
BROWN: It`s our nation`s background check system.
What that says is, if you`re a federally licensed firearms dealer, you must conduct a background check before you complete a gun sale. If the person is a prohibited purchaser, a convicted felon, a convicted domestic abuser, you don`t sell the guns to them.
MATTHEWS: What about gun shows?
BROWN: Gun shows were not included at the time.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. That`s what they know.
BROWN: But that`s the bill that is now pending before Mitch McConnell, HR- 8.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
DEMINGS: That is absolutely correct, Chris.
There is legislation in the Senate right now that will address those issues, that says every gun sale will need to go through a background check. Mitch McConnell needs to take it to the floor.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
McConnell, do your job. Bring it to a vote.
Thank you, Congresswoman Val Demings, who knows her stuff.
Thank you, Kris Brown. Thank you for coming on the show.
BROWN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Stay with MSNBC tonight for a special report on this weekend`s deadly mass shootings, Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, for a -- it`s going to be "A Nation in Crisis: Terror in America," tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Up next: What needs to be done vs. what can be done about the epidemic of young white men unleashing terror in America? Is this white nationalism with guns?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON, OHIO, POLICE CHIEF: If all of those were completely at full capacity, including the loose rounds found on the ground near him, as well as in a backpack that he carried, he would have had a maximum of 250 rounds in his possession at the time.
It`s problematic, it is fundamentally problematic. To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, is problematic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the Dayton, Ohio -- it was the chief himself, Richard Biehl, today describing the amount of ammo the gunman out there had when he opened fire in Dayton`s nightlife district early Sunday, in the middle of the night, in other words, killing nine people and injuring dozens more.
There have been 251 mass shootings so far this year, 251. The Gun Violence Center, by the way, an average more than one a day, according to their experts.
Joining me right now is Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Tim Ryan, who is in Dayton.
Thank you, Congressman.
And let me ask you about this. You`re from Northwest Ohio, which is not exactly gun control country. How do politicians like you stand up to those who are so absolutist about their right to have a gun of any kind?
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I`m from north -- the northeast part -- portion, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Northeast. My mistake.
RYAN: And I think this is common sense.
Yes. No, that`s OK.
But it`s because it`s common sense. We`re not talking about hunting. Obviously, in places like Ohio and other states, there is a rich hunting culture. But no one`s talking about hunting. No one`s talking about protecting your family.
We`re talking about weapons of war on the streets of America, like Dayton, where you can kill, you know, nine people and wound almost 30 within under 30 seconds, or do what this kid did down in El Paso at the Walmart within minutes.
And, you know, if it wasn`t for the cops here in Dayton, it would have been even more of a tragedy. And so keeping the argument away from hunting and protecting your family to weapons of war and background checks to make sure that people who shouldn`t have guns don`t ever get them, I think that`s a pretty reasonable conversation.
And the bill that you were just talking about that sits at the steps of the Senate right now has the support of 70 or 80 percent of the American people and over 70 percent of hunters. Now, what the hell are we talking about here? This is an inside job by the NRA.
MATTHEWS: Well, look, what we`re talking about is, the U.S. Senate -- the U.S. Senate will not even bring this up.
Mitch McConnell says he`s basically taking the heat for his fellow 52 Republicans. They say, he will just take the heat, sit it out, wait until it`s September, the break is over, the vacation`s over.
We will move on to another topic by then. He will play the calender and we will be off the topic. That`s what Mitch will be able to -- he always does this stuff.
RYAN: Yes. No. I...
MATTHEWS: What do you do about it?
RYAN: That`s his game plan, and that`s the president`s game plan.
You got to keep the heat on them. You have got to make it so unpalatable, so uncomfortable for them. And I think Trump recognized that when he made his speech today. As you said, somebody wrote it for him, but he couldn`t even get the town right. He was talking about Toledo and not even Dayton. That shows how disconnected he was from the script that he was handed.
And so the reality of it is, we have got to keep the heat on him.
You`re seeing movement, Chris. I was out here last night after the candlelight vigil in Dayton. I was here two hours, hanging with the people, giving hugs, shaking hands.
I met more Republicans that were saying, this is out of control, we have to do something.
And so, just quickly, if anybody wants to help these families and these victims in Dayton, they can go to the Dayton Foundation home page and make a donation to the victims and their families, who all need a lot of help right now.
But the reality is, there are Republicans that are starting to move on this issue. Is it next week, next month? I don`t know. But we need to keep the heat on, because the reality is, the electorate underneath the discussion is moving in our direction.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman and presidential candidate Tim Ryan.
It`s called the Dayton Foundation. Its Web site, go to it.
Up next: We have heard from two -- well, two this hour, but what about the other presidential candidates saying about this week -- what are they saying?
The president blames the media. Well, not -- he blames the media. I don`t understand that. Who is angrier than Trump?
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
After this weekend`s mass shootings in Dayton and, of course, down in El Paso, Democratic presidential candidates were quick to condemn President Trump for his rhetoric on immigrants and minorities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Since he has engaged in one ugly statement after another day after day, we`ve seen hate crimes on the rise.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have the president from the highest moral office in our land talking about invasions and infestations and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hole countries --
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have a president that is laughing off the idea of shooting at immigrants.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The blame rests squarely on President Trump and the rhetoric he`s used since he got elected.
BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s trafficked in this stuff from the very beginning, and we are reaping right now what he has sown.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump, please stop the racist anti-immigrant rhetoric.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. President, it`s long past time you addressed it for what it is, this is hatred, pure and simple, and it`s being fueled by rhetoric that is so divisive and that`s causing, causing people to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I think Bernie was the best of all of this.
Anyway, the president, however, found someone else to blame. That`s up next on HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Earlier today, the president tweeted that the media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our country.
Fake news has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse.
Which reminds me of what Huey Long said, when fascism comes to America, it will be called anti-fascism.
I`m joined right now by Connie Schultz, nationally syndicated columnist, Rick Tyler, who`s a Republican strategist, Eugene Robinson, columnist for "The Washington Post."
Connie, thanks for coming on. I don`t know what you say about absurdity, but the president blames the press for being, what, I don`t know. Nobody is channeling the press when they got their guns blazing. I think they`re channeling the president.
CONNIE SCHULTZ, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The only reason that Donald Trump is going after journalists yet again is it ramps up his -- the real zealots of his base. That`s the only real reason he`s saying that.
They love it. They`ll talk about it. They`ll go after us as usual. We get attacked all the time now. They see our badges or our notepads. They love telling us we`re the enemy of the people.
He`s talking directly to them. This is just yet another way that Donald Trump directly talks to the people that he wants to disrespect -- in this instance, to disrespect journalists, but in other instances to threaten the lives of immigrants.
MATTHEWS: Well, Rick, the hard part for his defense is that he makes a point of saying they`re invading us, invasion. It`s not just we don`t have a decent -- I don`t think a very good immigration law that we enforce, but he blames them personally as the villains, that they are the demons. They`re bad people, the rapists and everything else.
He`s done that, not the press.
RICK TYLER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, he`s set the tone from the very beginning, the press has covered that, and if you read the manifesto, which I did, those words are echoed in the manifesto. And so, look, if you -- if you -- I`ve been saying all day that everybody should blame the shooter, number one.
MATTHEWS: To start.
TYLER: But when you have a -- when you have a public platform, you have a responsibility to be very careful with your words. When you`re leader of the free world, that burden is very high. When you tweet out things that are racists --
MATTHEWS: Hear, hear -- how many times -- you never make a mistake, Gene. But the idea that you say something on air that targets somebody as the bad guy and you always wonder, oh, God, is there some nut who is going to take this into action?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, exactly. You have to be sensitive to that. Sensitive to what you say. Sensitive to what other people say that, you know, it`s -- it`s crazy now.
Obviously, Trump with his rhetoric has -- has created an atmosphere of anything goes. An atmosphere that gives permission for, you know, the sort of bilious expressions of hate.
MATTHEWS: It`s amazing.
ROBINSON: But, you know, in terms of what he`s saying today, I`m kind of more interested in, like, what happens, right? You know? Does the Senate -- does somebody make Mitch McConnell take up that -- the background checks bill at least?
MATTHEWS: Well, you know the Hill, right? You know the politics. Do you think right now like tonight in the evening when politicians tend to call each other or whatever, do you think anybody`s calling him, Gene, say, Cornyn from Texas where this horror took place. Calling him up and saying, Mitch, we got to move on something. We got to do something on background checks.
We got -- is anybody doing that?
ROBINSON: My guess is that people are calling him. I just saw reference to McConnell saying he was going to have some people brainstorming as to what can be done on a bipartisan basis or whatever. Well, you got a bill sitting there. It`s just for background checks.
MATTHEWS: Joe Manchin`s for it. Toomey`s for it.
ROBINSON: We know. We know.
MATTHEWS: Connie, do you think --
SCHULTZ: I`m getting so frustrated with Republicans right now because we knew immediately they`d start talking about mental illness.
SCHULTZ: And I want to say something about that tonight because I`m hearing from so many people who either suffer from mental illness or love somebody with mental illness or like my family, lost someone to mental illness.
Mental illness affects Republicans and Democrats. It affects women and men, and it affects children and immigrants. Everybody is vulnerable to it. Everybody knows what this feels like when these attacks start.
If they really cared about mental illness, they`d not be trying to be gutting the Affordable Care Act, let`s start with that, to remove mental health care from millions of Americans. But secondly, they are adding on to the stress of already traumatized lives. And that to me is unconscionable and as unconscionable as it was, it was also very predictable.
I saw it in Dayton yesterday. We heard it from the president today. I`d like them to stop picking on some of the most vulnerable people in the country who almost never harm someone else. The person most likely to be harmed by their mental illness is themselves.
MATTHEWS: And something happened to your family recently?
SCHULTZ: Yes. My brother -- my 56-year-old brother after decades of struggling with depression and alcoholism took his own life on July 1st. And I was public about it in part because I started to understand -- well, two things, first of all, the hardest thing about my brother`s death is how he died. The second thing was that no matter how hard we tried to help him, none of us saw this one coming because he chose a different method.
SCHULTZ: And I heard from thousands upon thousands of Americans who thanked my family, my sisters and I for being public about this. And that`s why I`m hearing from them now. So if anything can come out of -- there is no such thing as good coming out of my brother`s death, but the one thing I will do is be far more vocal for all of the people out there who know what this feels like.
MATTHEWS: People like that -- like your family, Connie, deserve to be used as more than an alibi.
Rick, it`s used as an alibi. Is there anything to get away from the issue.
TYLER: They`re deflecting. It`s anything -- because what they can`t afford to have is that racism is -- maybe racism is a mental illness. I don`t know. They need to deflect from the racism that is tied to white supremacy. We have a problem with white supremacy.
MATTHEWS: Why do we always assume in this case there is a mental illness? It could well be these are political, like assassinations where they`re killing people to make a political point.
ROBINSON: When you leave a political manifesto behind -- that`s a political -- it`s a political act.
MATTHEWS: Assassinations are political.
MATTHEWS: And mass shootings can be political. Like this one seems to be.
TYLER: What I don`t understand, Chris, if we have -- we have a terrorism task force to defeat terrorism, but it didn`t say only go after Muslim terrorists. We should be going after all terrorists.
This is terrorism. Let`s call it what it is. Put the resources against it and stop the recruitment --
MATHEWS: We recently had a pretty good president, Barack Obama. Let`s look at what President Obama said just about this thing today. He said -- there it is.
In a statement today, former President Barack Obama wrote: We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments. Leaders who demonize those who don`t look like us or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life or refer to other people as subhuman or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of person. I love when he talks. Here he is back.
ROBINSON: That`s what we expect to hear. Go ahead, Connie.
SCHULTZ: Racism is not an illness. Racism is not an inheritance. Racism is a choice every single time.
MATTHEWS: Connie, you`re so true.
Every one of us who grew up in my generation and the generation just before us learned how to change. People changed because their parents say you should change and because they decided to change. It is evolutionary.
MATTHEWS: We are getting better. Our kids are great. Most of them in their teens and 20s are great on this topic. They don`t even notice ethnic or racial difference. They don`t even talk about it.
We`re learning. They`ve learned. You`re so right, it`s a choice.
Connie Schultz, thank you for coming on. Your family story, God bless you, dear.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: What a family. What a story. What a reality to live with.
Rick Tyler, you`re woke sometimes. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Eugene Robinson, thank you so much, sir.
Up, up next, how President Trump must respond to these murders, mass murders or be damned by history. I`m serious, that`s what he faces, damnation.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: The killing of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963 was a political crime.
The killing of Dr. Martin Luther King in April of 1968 was a political crime. In fact, after the assassination of President Kennedy, the civil rights leader told his wife, this is what`s going to happen to me. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.
The killing of Robert F. Kennedy in June of that same year was a political crime. His assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, didn`t like Kennedy`s position on the Mideast.
And the killing of those 22 people in El Paso this Saturday was a political crime. The killer said he didn`t like what he called the invasion of immigrants across the country`s southern border.
It is vital to understand these crimes and their common nature. They`re acts of terror, political terror. The killers are in each case striking out in hatred at this country and the direction they see it headed.
They didn`t want the Kennedys in the White House. They didn`t want Dr. King becoming the country`s moral leader. And yes, these are crimes against the country.
Trump`s unlikely to take back what he said in the recent past about invasions and rapists and the need for people to go back to the homes of their ancestors` origin. But what he could plausibly do it now is to stop such language in its tracks. He can cease and desist these words of his that the El Paso killer chose to echo in his killing spree. These are political crimes committed from a political motive carried out to reach a political goal.
I truly hope that this president, who so many have given up on, can see now the words he uses to spark dissent and political favor can also be taken to ignite violence against our country itself. He needs to take responsibility or face history`s damnation.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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