Appearing as a guest before MSNBC's live coverage of President Barack Obama's Friday press conference, during a discussion of Donald Trump's history of promoting birtherism against the President, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews recalled his accusation that Trump is "playing to racists" and playing to a view that President Obama is "not one of us, he's black."
Shortly before 2:00 p.m., MSNBC anchor Brian Williams brought up Matthews's contention that birtherism was Trump's "original sin," although it has since "been washed away" by other statements during the presidential campaign. Matthews began by alluding to "people out there who don't want to accept the first black President." Matthews:
Yes, but it does track because if you say the first African-American President is not legitimate, whatever your personal feelings about ethnicity are saying to you or you're acting on, you're talking to people out there who don't want to accept the first black President.
He referred to views of President Obama being "illegitimate" as Matthews added:
You're saying to them, "Okay, you can put your list of presidents together, pictures in their copy books, your textbooks, but you don't have to put his picture in there because he's not really legitimate. He deserves at least an asterisk next to his name, an asterisk. Because he's not really one of the presidents since going back to Washington, through the great presidents, Lincoln and FDR. No, he's not one of them because he's illegitimate."
The race-obsessed MSNBC host then bluntly proclaimed:
You're playing to racists. And I raised that with him the other night. This is about ethnicity and it's about race and you're talking to those people. And it's not just a dog whistle. You're saying to them, "You're right, we never elected him President, he's not one of us, he's black."
Matthews asserted that his views are "fact" as he concluded:
And that game is serious business on the hard right. If you look at the people who still believe the President is not legitimate, who think he's a Muslim, who think he's not from this country, put all of it together, he's a foreigner, he's playing to them still. And that's why he said we're not going to let Muslims in the country anymore. It's all playing to that same crowd of people. Fact.