Along with the unpredictable ladies from The View, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews can almost be guaranteed to make daily appearances on the pages of NewsBusters. Whether it’s making inappropriate statements or coming up with asinine names for conservatives, Matthews has provided decades of entertainment for those on the right.
Matthews had quite the 2016 and whether it was witnessing his wife failing spectactularly as a congressional candidate or covering Hillary Clinton losing the election, he was there for it all. [For a video compilation of these hits, check out a video below pieced together by the great Corwin Parks of MRCTV.]
With that in mind, here’s my top ten list of the most awkward, craziest, and disturbing things Matthews uttered in 2016 (presented in chronological order).
1. Mark Levin Is 'One of Most Distasteful Human Beings Out There' (January 18)
Matthews was yucking it up with NBC News Trump correspondent Katy Tur on the subject of then-candidate Trump and Senator Ted Cruz when Levin came up:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: There's something strange about Cruz. Has Trump got to him with this "nasty" comment that now Rush Limbaugh is now defending him. Imagine having Rush Limbaugh saying oh, no, he's not nasty, this is Rush Limbaugh as your character witness.
KATY TUR: I think it's Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin are defending Ted Cruz. I think Ted Cruz initially --
MATTHEWS: Oh my God! Mark Levin is one of the most distasteful human beings out there.
2. Ted Cruz ‘Operates Below the Level of Human Life’ (February 10)
The morning after the New Hampshire presidential primaries, Matthews woke up early for Morning Joe and dropped what my colleague Kyle Drennen referred to as “perhaps his most vile attack on...Cruz to date”: “...there’s a troll-like quality to Cruz. He operates below the level of human life.”
Yes, you read that right. Near the end of a tense debate with Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver, Matthews admitted that the policy issues Weaver was alluding to were “hitting” “my erogenous zone.”
Matthews rounded out his show with a “Let Me Finish...” commentary that acted as a brainstorming session for all the hateful nicknames for Cruz. At the same time, he touted former House Speaker John Boehner as “the angel with wings and sword” and “Michael the Archangel”:
Let me finish tonight with the words of former House Speaker John Boehner that are now wafting through the air. “Lucifer in the flesh.” That's what he called Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Lucifer, the devil, Satan, Beelzebub, the very personage of evil, the leader of the underlife, the chief resident of hell, Lucifer...John Boehner is the angel with wings and sword. He's Michael the Archangel in this picture. Cruz is the one in the tail and cloven hooves. Boehner, let's agree, never looked this good.
<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>
5. Catcalling Melania Trump (May 3)
This needs no further introduction other than noting it occurred as Trump concluded remarks following Indiana’s presidential primaries: “Did you see her walk? Runway walk. My God, is that good! ...I could watch that runway show!”
Cranky, late-night Matthews provided the NewsBusters staff with plenty of material as MSNBC kept him on the air well past midnight (so long after his bedtime). In this instance, Matthews adamantly stated that a portion of America wanted Obama wiped from history books:
I think there's a percentage of our country, 10 percent, 15 percent, whatever, I'm not going to go any higher, who want to be able to bring those books out, you know to show the kids when they go to high school and grade school, here's a list of all our Presidents in the color pictures and there's no Obama there or have an asterisk underneath.
Hours after terrorists bombed the main airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Matthews uttered a truly dumbfounding statement to a guest about why terrorists always employ bombs:
Let me ask you, Anthony, about bombing. This was a combination, apparently, we don't have all the information on the — at least 28 dead, maybe more. A.P. is reporting many more. At least 100 injured badly, probably. Look at that guy. We just watched there. Maybe lost his leg. Bombing. What's bombing and terrorism have to do cause it always seems to involve bombing. Is that because it’s one sure way to blow yourself up, certainly, and the suicide bomb strapped to the body seems to be part of this cult of suicide, of martyrdom, if you will, by their standards.
Let’s label this one in the inappropriate column of comments Matthews made this year. In the run-up to Indiana Governor Mike Pence being named Trump’s running mate, the Hardball host seemed annoyed with how much Pence wanted the job:
I think Pence is almost horny for the job. It's clear that he wants it. It's clear that he thinks it's his....Is Donald Trump interested in having a buddy, someone who’s going to make him feel warm and call him at midnight and say great job today, great job today, you really hit it out of the ballpark. Does he want that kind of familiarity or does he — or does he — can he put up with a churchy guy like Pence? Pence is so churchy.
Of all the items on this list, this one was maybe the most recognizable entry. Following Pat Smith’s speech at the Republican National Convention discussing her son’s death in Benghazi, Matthews smeared her:
Even if all the arguments about the PR afterwards, as Gene pointed are true, worst case scenario, she didn't give a straight story afterwards. That had nothing to do with the death of our great ambassador over there. I don't understand why the Republicans would choose to put this on primetime television when they have such wonderful stories of American heroism to speak to the American people. I think it was wrong. I don't care what that woman up there, the mother has felt, her emotions are her own but for the country in choosing a leader, it's wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton. It's not true. It's logically not true. It's manifestly not true she had anything to do in that case...anybody who thinks about it for a second knows it's not true and I think it's wrong that they ruined their evening with this.
Matthews arose from his sleep or dinner party just after midnight on November 26 to inform MSNBC viewers after Fidel Castro’s death that he was “a romantic figure” and “a folk hero to most of us” growing up in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Matthews added that “young high school kids and kids in those days rooted like mad for the guy.”