Matthews Goes Off Script, Shocks Williams by Rant About Likelihood of Violence at RNC

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was up early dithering away on Saturday morning minutes before Donald Trump unveiled Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate when he went off script and shocked breaking news anchor Brian Williams by insinuating that there will be violence at the Republican National Convention (RNC) like the 1968 Democratic National Convention (DNC). 

Williams had remarked to Matthews to indicate if he agreed that “[w]e're about to witness, Chris, this is going to be a convention, again, for us political history buffs, unlike any other gathering we've seen” when Matthews flew off the rails.

Right off the bat, Matthews informed viewers that “they'll be trouble” at the RNC “and we all know that and we're all taking precautions for that” but will involve “a lot of protests” creating “action outside convention hall grabbing which will grab attention of the cameras.”

“We know that because Trump is a magnet. He’s a lightning rod, whatever the metaphor is, he causes trouble with other people who see him as the enemy. African-Americans, we saw that at that downtown Chicago rally that he held. We saw it in San Diego with the Hispanic, the Latino population showing up,” Matthews added (instead of criticizing those protesters looking to create violence).

Seeming to excuse the violence, Matthews chalked the behavior of certain protesters up to their ethnicity being smeared by Trump:

They don't like being called rapists. If you're a Latino, you don't want to be a rapist. If you’re an African-American, you see the guy as a man who called the President of the United States basically an illegal immigrant, somebody born in Africa who somehow pulled wool over our eyes making himself eligible for the presidency. That will not to be forgotten[.]

Matthews concluded with the comparisons to the DNC violence from 1968 before a very uncomfortable Williams informed Matthews that he was off-base from what he had asked him to expound upon:

Chris, I was not even talking about trouble. I was talking about the fact that the two living former Republican Presidents who both happen to be named Bush will not be there. I was talking about the two previous standards, McCain and Romney, and how about the host governor, John Kasich, who was part of this 17 Republican field...I think the gathering, even the part that we see at home on TV is just going to look so dramatically different.

After speeches from Trump and Pence, Matthews claimed that the entire world is concerned about violence at the RNC in another sign of irresponsibility stirring the pot.

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s AM Joy on July 16 can be found below.

MSNBC’s AM Joy
July 16, 2016
11:05 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: We're about to witness, Chris, this is going to be a convention, again, for us political history buffs, unlike any other gathering we've seen. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, yeah, because they'll be trouble and we all know that and we're all taking precautions for that. We expect to be a lot of protests. Hopefully it’ll limited to peaceful protests, but there's a lot of action outside convention hall grabbing which will grab attention of the cameras. To be an event next week. We know that because Trump is a magnet. He’s a lightning rod, whatever the metaphor is, he causes trouble with other people who see him as the enemy. African-Americans, we saw that at that downtown Chicago rally that he held. We saw it in San Diego with the Hispanic, the Latino population showing up. Sometimes it seems like he's out there trying to royal it up to create trouble, but it comes, and all those groups, organized or not, are going to see Cleveland as a chance to express themselves. They don't like being called rapists. If you're a Latino, you don't want to be a rapist. If you’re an African-American, you see the guy as a man who called the President of the United States basically an illegal immigrant, somebody born in Africa who somehow pulled wool over our eyes making himself eligible for the presidency. That will not to be forgotten, and so there's a lot of enemies out there of Donald Trump who will show up in Cleveland. Let's hope they express themselves with the right way, with the way with words and loud noise and, perhaps, some excitement, but not in a violent way, but we know that that's going to be a big part of the story here. This convention could be like ‘68, the Democratic convention in Chicago. It's not the same as having a war going on, the people find to be awful like the Vietnam War, but it is a country in division right now, and so I think it's going to be one hell of a week out there, and I don't think the vice presidency or the things we talk about on the platform, really, will be able to compete with the natural clatter that we're going to hear. It's going to be noisy. 

WILLIAMS: Chris, I was not even talking about trouble. I was talking about the fact that the two living former Republican Presidents who both happen to be named Bush will not be there. I was talking about the two previous standards, McCain and Romney, and how about the host governor, John Kasich, who was part of this 17 Republican field, and who had a base of support, a constituency in the race and kind of marketed himself as the sensitive real guy from Ohio. I think the gathering, even the part that we see at home on TV is just going to look so dramatically different. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think we’ve beginning — we’ve begun to see in our lifetime the disappearance of the Republican Party you're describing. The old New York Herald-Tribune Republican Party of Tom Dewey and Ike Eisenhower and of course Davidson Rockefeller and the rest of them of Bill Scranton and Christine Whitman the northeastern Republican establishment, personified really by the Bushes, even though they moved to the southeast is the Republican Party that has disappeared. It's really a representative of the abolitionists and the Whigs, they are the Whig part of the Republican Party. Now, the question Trump has to answer is can he replace them with the working class white people of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, bring people out to replace the establishment people. The Ivy Leaguers, if you will, can they be outnumbered by the new parts — the substitute team that Trump is putting together? Can he do it? It's there. We've seen it. We've seen it anecdotally. We’ve seen it from Scranton, from Erie, Pennsylvania, from parts of Ohio, the parts that have been basically pulled back from in terms of manufacturing. The parts that have hallowed out. The angry white families up there that have been left more or less marooned economically. A lot of people out there ready to express themselves for Trump. 

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Convention Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Events 2016 Republican Convention Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC AM Joy Video Government & Press RNC Chris Matthews Brian Williams Donald Trump Mike Pence
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