Fake News: Matthews Claims GOPers Are Not Condemning Trump’s Charlottesville Remarks

On Tuesday’s Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews irresponsibly dabbled in fake/false news by claiming that Republicans and those in GOP leadership haven’t spoken out against President Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville violence, including his Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Matthews was squabbling with frequent Hardball guest and GOP strategist John Brabender when he went down that path (despite Brabender largely agreeing with Matthews). 

Brabender promoted the notion that Republicans and Democrats should be unified with “a very loud and clear voice” against the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, but Matthews only seemed interested in attacking the GOP.

After telling Brabender that Trump’s behavior and those responsible for the Charlottesville terrorism represent “a problem for the Republican Party,” he let lose the falsehoods [emphasis mine]:

Okay, I’m with you. John, I’m with you, but your party is not with you because I remember when we had Speaker Boehner a couple years ago. And we was asked, why don't you tell the president to stop pushing this birther thing, that the President of the United States at that time, Barack Obama, is not some foreign who snuck into the country and he said as follows. I'm not going to tell people what to think. Isn't that the goal of leadership, to be able to tell people what to think? Why does your party leadership shy away from saying, Trump is wrong. It seems to me, that McConnell and the Speaker, Ryan, should be standing right now and saying, whatever Trump thinks personally, we know where we stand. We're the party of Lincoln still and we don't stand for this and nobody’s doing it. 

Brabender put forth a measly response by citing Speaker Paul Ryan’s statement (tweet below) to which Matthews shot back “not really.” 

Brabender then just cited an old statement by Vice President Pence before moving on to largely agreeing with Matthews:

The problem is this Presidents falls into this terrible trap of talking about things like monuments and statues. When that is not the purpose today, the purpose today is purpose is clarity of message. And anybody allowing him to do that, it is disappointing they even put him in that position[.]

One could go on all night with interviews, quotes, and tweets from Republicans up and down the proverbial food chain taking issue with Trump’s Tuesday press conference and maintaining the belief that the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists were the leading causes of last weekend’s terrorism in Charlottesville. Marco Rubio’s thread were compiled in a number of places (including here). In addition, here’s a small sampling: 

And those are just the tweets regarding the President’s Tuesday statements. Matthews can level these deceiving claims, but that doesn’t mean they’re right and that they won’t be refuted. Such irresponsible talk alleging millions of people are silent in the face of hate serves zero purpose in uniting the country.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 15:

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 15, 2017
7:40 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go — let me go to John Brabender and this is a problem for the Republican Party, isn't it? 

JOHN BRABENDER: Well, first of all, let me say this. We really should put Republican and Democrat aside right now and stand up as Americans with a very loud and clear voice that says, collectively, we're unified and repudiating the KKK and the neo-Nazis. That needs to be said. We need to be united to do that.

MATTHEWS: Why didn't he say that on Saturday? 

BRABENDER: Well, personally, I think it should have been. I also marvel at how anybody would put on that press conference today and think that they were going to walk out of there talking about infrastructure without this being addressed. It should have been addressed right up front. This is one of the issues that’s so important and where words matter so much. It should have been a statement.

MATTHEWS: Okay, I’m with you. John, I’m with you, but your party is not with you because I remember when we had Speaker Boehner a couple years ago. And we was asked, why don't you tell the president to stop pushing this birther thing, that the President of the United States at that time, Barack Obama, is not some foreign who snuck into the country and he said as follows. I'm not going to tell people what to think. Isn't that the goal of leadership, to be able to tell people what to think? Why does your party leadership shy away from saying, Trump is wrong. It seems to me, that McConnell and the Speaker, Ryan, should be standing right now and saying, whatever Trump thinks personally, we know where we stand. We're the party of Lincoln still and we don't stand for this and nobody’s doing it. 

BRABENDER: Chris, Chris, Speaker Ryan put out a very strong comment just a few moments ago.

MATTHEWS: Not really. Oh, okay.

BRABENDER: Mike Pence put out a very strong statement two days ago. There are certainly people in this party. The problem is this Presidents falls into this terrible trap of talking about things like monuments and statues. When that is not the purpose today, the purpose today is purpose is clarity of message. And anybody allowing him to do that, it is disappointing they even put him in that position and the other thing too though, Chris, is that there’s a lot of people say, well, he's playing to the base. I would tell you that's a — that’s a very judgmental statement as well about the base. The base is a lot of Democrats right now too. This is an issue where there should be unity in this entire country and I think it is disappointing that we're not all united on this. 

MATTHEWS: Well, there’s two — you're not happy, but there are two people that are happy tonight. One is Donald Trump, the President of the United States and the other one is David Duke. 

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