Matthews: McConnell ‘Sat Around Like a Troll’ Ready to Bite Obama for Eight Years

He’s off and running, people. On Tuesday night’s Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews served up his first head-scratching Notable Quotable for 2017 as he likened Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to someone who “sat around like a troll under the bridge, ready to bite the leg of Obama for four or eight years.”

Matthews made the comment while speaking to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (Conn.) on the first day of the 115th Congress and wondered what new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) will do in dealing with a Trump administration.

“I'm watching Schumer. He’s a hard guy to figure out. I know he’s very pro-Israeli — a couple issues he’s had, certainly with Secretary Kerry. You have as well. So, I'm trying to figure out, he’s a New York Senator. He has to represent New York,” Matthews explained in his lead-in to questioning how obstructionist Democrats should be in thwarting the GOP. 

Matthews then continued by blasting McConnell (in a clear nod to his hope following the 2008 election that he’d work to make Barack Obama a one-term President): 

He also has to find the difference between where you just look like an obstructionist — like Mitch McConnell, who just sat around like a troll under the bridge, ready to bite the leg of Obama for four or eight years. You don't want to look like that guy. Do you want to be that guy? Do the Democrats want to be obstructionists — pure obstructionist but not get caught at it or do they want look for places where they can agree with Trump? Where are they going to go here? 

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Later in the “Hardball Roundtable” segment, longtime journalist and Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson similarly opined that “it’s in the Democrats DNA to do stuff and in the Republicans not to.” 

“That's why McConnell was successful in resisting Obama. Democrats won’t be that successful because they want to do stuff,” Carlson added. 

To probably no one’s surprise, McConnell wasn’t the first person to be referred to by Matthews as a “troll under the bridge.” Back in 2009, my colleague Geoffrey Dickens wrote that the MSNBC pundit knocked former Vice President Dick Cheney as a troll “bit[ing] the foot of every Democrat that passes over the bridge.”

Trolls also came to mind just last year when Matthews attacked Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Tex.) as possessing a “troll-like quality” that meant he “operates below the level of human life.”

Earlier in the show, Matthews pressed a seemingly-shocked Murphy about whether he’ll consider running for president in 2020. Murphy repeatedly shot back that he needs to win reelection to the Senate in 2018 but also devote his full attention to “stopping the disaster that's going to occur to Americans if the things that Trump is proposing gets through.”

Here are the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 3:

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 3, 2017
7:11 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the — your strategy as a Democrat. Are you running for president, by the way? I’m curious. I think you are. Are you thinking about the presidency in 2020? 

DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY (Conn.): No, I'm not. I have to get reelected in two years.

MATTHEWS: Not at all?

MURPHY: No, I have to get reelected in two years.

MATTHEWS: Not at all?

MURPHY:  I have to get reelected in two years. 

MATTHEWS: Well, that’s the first step.

MURPHY: I'm thinking about stopping the disaster that's going to occur to Americans if the things that Trump is proposing gets through. 

MATTHEWS: Okay, alright. Well, that’s your job. I accept that. Well, let's talk about the that job right now. I'm watching Schumer. He’s a hard guy to figure out. I know he’s very pro-Israeli — a couple issues he’s had, certainly with Secretary Kerry. You have as well. So, I'm trying to figure out, he’s a New York Senator. He has to represent New York. He also has to find the difference between where you just look like an obstructionist — like Mitch McConnell, who just sat around like a troll under the bridge, ready to bite the leg of Obama for four or eight years. You don't want to look like that guy. Do you want to be that guy? Do the Democrats want to be obstructionists — pure obstructionist but not get caught at it or do they want look for places where they can agree with Trump? Where are they going to go here? 

(....)

MATTHEWS [TO MURPHY]: I think you are running for president, but it takes a couple of years. You got to get reelected first. 

(....)

MARGARET CARLSON: You know, it’s — it’s — it’s in the Democrats DNA to do stuff and in the Republicans not to. That's why McConnell was successful in resisting Obama. Democrats won’t be that successful because they want to do stuff. Now, Republicans, so far, have had their way — the establishment — with their picks for the cabinet. I mean, it's an incredibly establishment cabinet, but Trump is not an establishment player. I think it’s going to be — he is going to be in line with Bernie Sanders than Mitch McConnell. 

NB Daily Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Margaret Carlson Chris Murphy Mitch McConnell Chuck Schumer
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