‘Hardball’ Hodgepodge: Trump Is Mentally Unstable While Hillary’s Book Excerpt Is ‘Remarkable’

Not exactly the top authority when it comes to sober analysis, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews teamed up with panelists on Wednesday night to deem President Trump as mentally unstable while a guest hailed Hillary Clinton’s book excerpt about debating Trump as “remarkable.”

“Trump goes nuclear in his Phoenix speech....James Clapper....said he questioned the President’s fitness to hold the nuclear codes....Senator Bob Corker said just last week that he questions the President’s stability. Democratic leaders are talking about the President’s, quote, “erratic” behavior, and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has written the country needs to question how unstable and divorced from reality this President has become,” Matthews exclaimed at the top of the show.

Speaking three minutes later to faux Republican and Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, Matthews complained that Trump doesn’t “sounds sane” when you listen to his Tuesday Arizona rally and the “crazy talk” about a government shutdown over the Mexican border wall. 

Rubin’s Post colleague Jonathan Capehart also entertained the absurd notion that Trump would wildly engage in nuclear war, expressing hope that his military advisers would do the “patriotic” thing and stop him:

MATTHEWS: Are you saying that, Jonathan, they should not salute this President if he tries to go nuclear?

CAPEHART: Personally? Yes. Also, what they would — if they were to do that, it would be illegal. When the President makes an order, especially when it comes to the nuclear codes, that is a command. And if anyone in that chain of command does not follow that, they’re breaking the law. But to my mind — yes, they’re breaking the law —

MATTHEWS: Well, I would call that small potatoes —

CAPEHART: — but it’s the most patriotic. But it’s the most patriotic — yes, but it’s the most patriotic that they could ever do.

More bluntly than those quotes, Matthews ended the A-block by asking Rubin and Capehart if they thought Trump was “stable,” to which both of them adamantly said “no” while giving Politico’s Annie Karni a pass because “[y]ou’re a straight reporter.”

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On a different topic, his Hardball roundtable swooned over the book excerpt released by Hillary Clinton regarding why she lost the 2016 election. The Hill’s Niall Strange and Washington Post global opinion editor Karen Attiah loved it and totally ignored how Clinton has shared her emotions over the years in the form of her cold, calculated behavior:

NIALL STANAGE: It is a really weird moment, Chris. The other thing I thought is it’s kind of remarkable to hear Hillary Clinton talk about this in her own voice. We’re not used to that voice from Hillary Clinton. She’s normally excessively cautious if anything. There was a lot of blood and guts there and a lot less of the impassive iron lady we sometimes hear and see.

MATTHEWS: Attiah?

KAREN ATTIAH: Yes, I mean, for her to talk about this right now, it does bring back the memories of what it was like as a woman to watch Donald Trump do this to Hillary Clinton. So many of us have had stories of men stalking us on the street, invading our personal space. And I think really and truly, to put this in context, remember, this is two days after the Access Hollywood take place came out when he was bragging about grabbing women.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 23:

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 23, 2017
7:01 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Trump goes nuclear in his Phoenix speech. The former intel chief worries he’ll go nuclear for real. James Clapper, the last director of national intelligence, said he questioned the President’s fitness to hold the nuclear codes. Really. Senator Bob Corker said just last week that he questions the President’s stability. Democratic leaders are talking about the President’s, quote, “erratic” behavior, and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has written the country needs to question how unstable and divorced from reality this President has become. Well, the latest cause for concern, the President’s performance in Phoenix last night in front of an amped-up crowd of supporters. Gone was all talk of national healing. Instead, he bashed the Democrats for not backing his wall between us and Mexico and threatened to shut down the government if the wall isn’t funded.

(....)

7:04 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: You know, I — I think — separating all this from the man who spoke these words, if you were to just take these words in isolation and say these don’t sound sane.

JENNIFER RUBIN: No.

MATTHEWS: I’m going to kill the United States economy. I’m shut down the government, shut down our currency, basically make us a deadbeat in the world for the first time so that I can get something I’m never going to get. And besides, I said the Mexicans are going to pay for it. So what’s that got to do with the debt ceiling bill? It’s all crazy talk.

RUBIN: It is crazy.

(....)

7:14 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Jennifer Rubin, you’re a bit to my right on foreign policy, but let me ask you a question, okay? Far to my right. Let me put this question to you. Do you think the President is stable?

RUBIN: No.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan.

CAPEHART: No.

MATTHEWS: You’re a straight reporter. All you can is, Some people think he isn’t, okay?

(....)

7:44 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: It is creepy, not to overuse that term. Look at him. He’s like the phantom in the old comic books. What’s the phantom doing there?

NIALL STANAGE: It is a really weird moment, Chris. The other thing I thought is it’s kind of remarkable to hear Hillary Clinton talk about this in her own voice. We’re not used to that voice from Hillary Clinton. She’s normally excessively cautious if anything. There was a lot of blood and guts there and a lot less of the impassive iron lady we sometimes hear and see.

MATTHEWS: Attiah?

KAREN ATTIAH: Yes, I mean, for her to talk about this right now, it does bring back the memories of what it was like as a woman to watch Donald Trump do this to Hillary Clinton. So many of us have had stories of men stalking us on the street, invading our personal space. And I think really and truly, to put this in context, remember, this is two days after the "Access Hollywood" take place came out when he was bragging about grabbing women.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ATTIAH: And then in November, all of this happening. We hear about the take place. We see how he treated Hillary Clinton and yet again, so many white women, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump anyway.

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