Out of Control ‘Hardball’ Lumps GOP in with Neo-Nazis, Shocked Wilson Loved ‘Birth of a Nation’

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was back and firing on all cylinders Monday night, overseeing a show devoid of reason as it linked conservatives, Republicans, and anyone in the “right-wing” to the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists associated with Saturday’s Charlottesville terrorism. 

Matthews also showed ineptitude in not knowing until very recently that progressive heartthrob and President Woodrow Wilson loved the KKK film Birth of a Nation so much that he had it shown at the White House. 

He began his show with a personal summation of racism in America:

There’s been an historic evil in this country. It’s an evil that began with slavery, of course, an institution that subjugated millions of human beings with whips and shackles until it ended in the blood of a civil war. It’s an evil that reemerged as the Ku Klux Klan, founded in the spirit of slavery, which terrorized the country in the decades after that war, nor was it limited to the South. A full half century after the Civil War’s end, the 1915 film Birth of a Nation found a national audience, stirring and refueling a resurgence of the Klan for decades thereafter. Well, the events of this weekend in beautiful, historic Charlottesville, Virginia, show that the KKK may have been suppressed but not extinguished. We saw that the evil whose seeds were in slavery remains still in the American soil, still waiting for its moment to rise again. 

After highlighting the violence in Charlottesville, Matthews suggested the violence “may have matched the horror” of what President Trump was unable to do on Saturday, which was condemn the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists by name.

“It’s the same man who built his national following on his original sin of charging the country’s first African-American President of being foreign born, therefore, in his telling, not constitutional. Well, rather than hold them responsible, Trump instead blamed ‘many sides,’ drawing a moral equivalency between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters demonstrating against them,” Matthews added.

NAACP president Derrick Johnson continued to prove that nothing the President said could have satisfied him and even extended conservative principles like voter ID to be examples of pro-Nazi policies:  

Well, words don’t matter in this case. Actions speak. This President should have made these comments during his campaign season. He set a tone that allowed for individuals to feel as if it’s OK to spout racial hatred, individuals who feel it’s OK to hold up Nazism in a way in which they murdered a woman this week....If he wanted to take real action, he really should take a look at the policies he is establishing dealing with affirmative action, the policies he’s establishing deal with voting, the fact that he has a white supremacist as his adviser. So his words mean little. His actions will speak loud.

The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson continued to link those who have denounced that Charlottesville hate to those people anyway because, as expected, leftists like Robinson aren’t interested in uniting people across various ideologies. 

It’s difficult to do that when you’re lumping millions of people in with neo-Nazis:

[T]he silence on Saturday was disgraceful, I thought. I mean, it’s not what, you know, you want to hear from the President of the United States. You want to hear the President come out forcefully in defense of American values, in defense of the better angels of our nature, in defense of what we aspire to be and this nonsense about "many sides" was, you know, a sop to the right wing, alt-right, white supremacists who formed, you know, part of his support base. I mean, let’s be honest. They supported him.

In the latest installment of Matthews showing cluelessness, Matthews revealed that he didn’t know Wilson held a White House screening of a pro-KKK filming. Seconds earlier, Johnson spread fake news that Republicans haven’t denounced Trump’s tepid Charlottesville response:

JOHNSON: Well, this is the equivalent to Woodrow Wilson showing Birth of a Nation in the White House. He’s pandering to a -- the lower denomination of this nation is not the values that we should hold. If this is what it means to make America great again, it’s the 1950 versions of it, and (INAUDIBLE) not great during that time. We have to decide, are we going to be an America that’s looking forward, that’s inclusive? And I call on his colleagues, his Republican Party colleagues, to denounce his actions. This is something that has been taking place for a while. We started with dog whistle politics. Now we are open and notorious (ph) with supporting individuals who espouse white supremacist notions. It should not be accepted in this America.

MATTHEWS: Yes, you’re so right about Birth of a Nation. I just saw a documentary on it the other night, and it’s about -- you know, this guy, Griffith, D.W. Griffith, puts out a movie that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, makes them the heroes of our time. And it goes out across the country and people — white people all go see it and cheer it. This is 1915. I didn’t realize that Wilson had had the thing played in the White House. But it was outrageous. And we’re seeing — we don’t know the total reaction -- everyone on this show knows. We don’t know the total reaction of what happened in Charlottesville. We’re hearing the outcry against it. But what’s happening out in the country? We don’t know yet if they’re not picking up recruits.

Later, guest and former FBI agent Mike German also conflated Trump’s failures and rhetoric with policies being put forth by not only the White House but Republicans as “discriminatory, that are having disparate impacts on Muslim communities, on Latino communities and communities of color across the country.”

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 14:

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 14, 2017
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Silence is consent. Let’s play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING SEQUENCE] Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews back in Washington. There’s been an historic evil in this country. It’s an evil that began with slavery, of course, an institution that subjugated millions of human beings with whips and shackles until it ended in the blood of a civil war. It’s an evil that reemerged as the Ku Klux Klan, founded in the spirit of slavery, which terrorized the country in the decades after that war, nor was it limited to the South. A full half century after the Civil War’s end, the 1915 film Birth of a Nation found a national audience, stirring and refueling a resurgence of the Klan for decades thereafter. Well, the events of this weekend in beautiful, historic Charlottesville, Virginia, show that the KKK may have been suppressed but not extinguished. We saw that the evil whose seeds were in slavery remains still in the American soil, still waiting for its moment to rise again. Starting on Friday night, white supremacists, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right descended on Charlottesville to join in a weekend of provocation and violence that culminated with the death of 32- year-old Heather Heyer. What came next may have matched the horror itself. For two days, the President of our country not only refused to condemn this rising up of America’s ancient evil by name but dared by his strategic silence to side with it. It’s the same man who built his national following on his original sin of charging the country’s first African-American President of being foreign born, therefore, in his telling, not constitutional. Well, rather than hold them responsible, Trump instead blamed “many sides,” drawing a moral equivalency between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters demonstrating against them.

(....)

DERRICK JOHNSON: Well, words don’t matter in this case. Actions speak. This President should have made these comments during his campaign season. He set a tone that allowed for individuals to feel as if it’s OK to spout racial hatred, individuals who feel it’s OK to hold up Nazism in a way in which they murdered a woman this week. It wasn’t an African-American woman, it was a white woman, who was simply saying that all citizens of this country should be treated with respect, and racial hatred should not be tolerated. So his words today only came after pressure. If he wanted to take real action, he really should take a look at the policies he is establishing dealing with affirmative action, the policies he’s establishing deal with voting, the fact that he has a white supremacist as his adviser. So his words mean little. His actions will speak loud.

MATTHEWS: Gene, let me talk to about how do we interpret what happened this weekend of silence?

EUGENE ROBINSON: Well —

MATTHEWS: In common law, I believe, silence is approval, but I don’t know how to read —

ROBINSON: — the silence on Saturday was disgraceful, I thought. I mean, it’s not what, you know, you want to hear from the President of the United States. You want to hear the President come out forcefully in defense of American values, in defense of the better angels of our nature, in defense of what we aspire to be and this nonsense about "many sides" was, you know, a sop to the right wing, alt-right, white supremacists who formed, you know, part of his support base. I mean, let’s be honest. They supported him. They’ve been cheering him on in their march. They, after his remarks, applauded the remarks and say, Gee, he wasn’t — he wasn’t bad on us, you know?

(....)

CATHERINE RAMPELL: But as to the point that we were discussing earlier about the long-term consequences of the President normalizing racial animus in some respect, whether it’s Woodrow Wilson and Birth of a Nation or Trump — I mean, one thing that really terrified me about the events this weekend is how many of the people there were young white men, not like old racist grandpas who you can sort of write off their bigotry as, Oh, well, no, no, that was -- they’re a product of their time. These are young people who are going to be with us for a very long time who have seen someone who has embraced racial prejudice use that to pave his way to the White House and see him as a hero. The lasting legacy of Trump is not only going to be the kinds of policies that are abhorrent that his administration is pursuing on many of these issues. It’s not just going to be the fact that he has disgraced himself on many levels. But it’s the fact that he has encouraged and emboldened a new generation of people to pursue racial bigotry, or at least to think that they can get away with it if they profess it openly.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Do they vote? Do they tend to vote? In other words, do they get the most right-wing candidate they can get and vote for what’s there, even if they don’t go the full route to their right-wing position? do they vote? Did David Duke vote for Trump? I mean, that kind of thing, does go on?

MIKE GERMAN: Sure. Of course it does and I think Trump was a candidate that was very different. This was no longer a dog whistle. This was a bullhorn that he was talking to these communities through when he made the types of comments that you showed at the beginning of this segment. I think they realized this was going to be a very different Presidential candidate, and were happy to publicly support him, when typically that would not be the way they reacted. And, in fact, if you look early, they were very skeptical of him being somebody who would support the causes and the policies they’re interested in and that’s what I find most troubling, not just the rhetoric, but that actual policies are being put in place that are discriminatory, that are having disparate impacts on Muslim communities, on Latino communities and communities of color across the country.

(....)

GERMAN: And I think that’s — it was very relieving to hear so many Republicans come out and strongly denounce the violence and strongly denounce Trump’s refusal to denounce the violence. But, you know, when we talk about immigration, I would hope that they look at their own language and how they talk about other people and when they talk about terrorism and the way they talk about Muslim communities, that they would realize how much that rhetoric divides our society in ways that become dangerous and provide fuel for these hate groups that they live on.


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