The salt mines were open for business Monday night as the panel of MSNBC’s Hardball worked themselves into hysterics over the televised swearing-in ceremony for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Within the the course of a few minutes, host Chris Matthews smeared Trump supporters as “cruel,” complained about how “happy” Justice Clarence Thomas looked, and demanded to know when Democrats would put a stop to “the victory lap for Kavanaugh.”
Before the ceremony began, Matthews was perturbed at the sight of the smiling Supreme Court Justices entering the room. “They look very happy, Gene,” he remarked to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. “I mean, Clarence [Thomas] is wall-to-wall happiness.”
“Everyone should pay attention to this, because this is what power looks like,” Robinson spat. “Republicans had the power to do this, and they did it.”
“This is a terrible moment for the country,” added Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the left-wing Center for American Progress.
The real fireworks began once the ceremony had concluded. Matthews complained about the “partisan” nature of President Trump expressing sympathy to the Kavanaugh family for the death threats and harassment they’d endured during the confirmation process:
On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. What happened to the Kavanaugn family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process. Under historic scrutiny, he was proven innocent.
“That is a partisan statement aimed directly at the elections four weeks from tomorrow,” Matthews complained.
The conversation then pivoted to the President’s harsh remarks about Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, at a recent rally. Matthews referred to the attendees as “the hard, cruel – I think that’s the right word for it – right.” He added, “Who are these people?”
“Trump appeals to a kind of bloodlust,” Robinson offered in response.
Matthews wrapped up the segment by yelling at Tanden for what he saw as an insufficient response from the left:
When’s the liberal – or the progressive side going to speak loudly and blow the trumpet? When? When? Tuesday? Wednesday? No, no, when between now and then. When are you going to go to start the fight?
... There’s nobody out there. Where’s Pelosi, where’s Schumer, where’s everybody? They shouldn’t be taking the day off.
“I gotta get a trumpet here,” he added. He closed with a question for viewers: “What’s the Democrats’ game plan to offset what we just watched?”
Covering elections can be a struggle for any member of the press, as party affiliation naturally conflicts with one’s ability to remain objective. Evidently, Matthews found Monday night’s events so distressing that he chose to abandon that struggle entirely.