Matthews: Trump Speech Was ‘Hitlerian,’ Jokes He Could Fix Nepotism Laws By Hanging Son-in-Law

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was a living, breathing edition of Notable Quotables on Inauguration Day, offering takes ranging from joking about Mussolini and former President George W. Bush hugging Supreme Court justices to this now-infamous quip that President Trump’s speech was “Hitlerian.”

Matthews’s Nazism connection went hand-in-hand with other media reactions to Trump’s inaugural address, but this one came roughly 30 minutes after it ended.

“But I’m thinking when he said today ‘America First’ it was not just the racial, I mean the, um, I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it. But it was the message I kept thinking, what is Theresa May thinking this morning, when she picks up the papers and goes ‘My God, what did he just say, he said America first, what happened to the special relationship,’” Matthews complained.

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Earlier, the topic of discussion was the White House power structure of Reince Preibus and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner when Matthews joked to co-host Rachel Maddow that “it’s hard to fire your son-in-law.”

Maddow responded “[t]hat’s why the nepotism laws are there,” but Matthews had other ideas that sent Maddow into a frenzy:

MATTHEWS: [B]ut Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s —

MADDOW: Jesus, Chris! 

MATTHEWS: So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.

MADDOW: Well, all the people who are waiting for the reference to Mussolini have just started drinking.

Moments after Trump and Barack Obama arrived at the U.S. Capitol, Matthews returned for more lunacy by showing an inability to let go what transpired in the 2000 presidential election:

MATTHEWS: You know, Rachel, I just saw the warm embrace that W. gave to the Supreme Court justices, especially the Republican ones and I realize why he embraced him? They put him in office. [LAUGHTER] There’s Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, I know you guys!

MADDOW: We call them constituents.

MATTHEWS: His constituents.

JOY REID: That was gratitude. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: There is that. 

WILLIAMS: Their warm embrace for him was called Bush v. Gore. [LAUGHTER]

Earth to Matthews, but John Roberts wasn’t on the Supreme Court until September 29, 2005 and Bush v. Gore was decided on December 12, 2000. Try again, bud.

 

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s 2017 Presidential Inauguration coverage:

MSNBC’s 2017 Presidential Inauguration
January 20, 2017
10:44 a.m. Eastern

RACHEL MADDOW: Interesting portrait of power in the new — in the new White House. Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of the President. A lot of people felt like the anti-nepotism laws — there’s Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Ed Markley — a lot of people felt like the anti-nepotism laws would prevent a hire like that but they believe that they're on firm ground. Jared Kushner will be a senior adviser to his father-in-law. Reince Priebus will come on as chief of staff, having served as RNC chair. There will also be a senior strategist and top counsel to the president in Steve Bannon. Among all of those people, there is — including the President himself — there's zero governing experience, no one who has had any role in any White House previously or any governing experience of any elected official or responsible for any government operation. So, that's part of the anticipation or in some cases trepidation about what's about to happen, particularly because the transition, as it now comes to an end, appears to have left so many major positions, including national security positions, unfilled. Having such a lack of government experience at the very top and having these amorphous jobs with very powerful people with different claims on the President and his attention, it’s going to be an unusual arrangement in that White House. Reince Preibus and Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon will be an unusual triumvirate around this President and we don't really know who will be first among those equals. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It’s hard to — Rachel — it's hard to fire your son-in-law. 

MADDOW: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: That's tricky part although —

MADDOW: That’s why the nepotism laws are there.

MATTHEWS: — but Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s —

MADDOW: Jesus, Chris! 

MATTHEWS: So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.

MADDOW: Well, all the people who are waiting for the reference to Mussolini have just started drinking.

(....)

MATTHEWS: You know, Rachel, I just saw the warm embrace that W. gave to the Supreme Court justices, especially the Republican ones and I realize why he embraced him? They put him in office. [LAUGHTER] There’s Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, I know you guys!

MADDOW: We call them constituents.

MATTHEWS: His constituents.

JOY REID: That was gratitude. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: There is that. 

WILLIAMS: Their warm embrace for him was called Bush v. Gore. [LAUGHTER]

(....)

MATTHEWS: But I’m thinking when he said today ‘America First’ it was not just the racial, I mean the, um, I shouldn’t say racial, the Hitlerian background to it. But it was the message I kept thinking, what is Theresa May thinking this morning, when she picks up the papers and goes ‘My God, what did he just say, he said America first, what happened to the special relationship?’ What if you’re Putin? You’re probably pounding the table saying “that’s what I’ve been saying, Russia first. Russia first.” The, this whole bullying message to him. And I wonder, are people around the world going we're watching closely in the PDBs, he got one this morning, what will the reaction today? Will somebody do something they weren't going to do yesterday? 

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