‘Hardball’: Trump Is Black Knight in Monty Python with Supporter as Deranged as North Koreans

Fresh off the distinction of being honored by Salon as a conservative (read: liberal Republican) must-follow on Twitter, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens declared on Monday’s Hardball that President Trump “reminded me of the Black Knight from the Monty Python skitin that he’ll continue fighting even though he’ll eventually be left powerless and limbless.

Also in that segment, Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn marveled at how the two are now allies against the Trump administration and what they see as an evil, mentally unstable President.

 

 

The topic of discussion was North Korea and American foreign policy at large when host Chris Matthews observed that North Koreans react differently to Trump’s rhetoric than people within the authoritarian state.

Stephens conceded that he, as a hawk, agrees with Trump’s positions on decertifying the Iran deal and that diplomacy has failed to stop the Kim regimes, but he’s still opposed to Trump’s actions since “90 percent of policy lies in the execution and in this case, execution lies in the hands of a temperamental President who seems to think that all of his opponents...can be subjected to schoolyard bullying with equal effect and that’s really dangerous.”

“I was thinking that the President reminded me of the Black Knight from the Monty Python skit. No matter how many embarrassments he suffers, he keeps saying it’s just a scratch and he is going to fight on. At some point, he is going to be immobilized by his own rhetoric,” added Stephens.

Corn responded by touting Stephens and similar figures as sudden allies:

[W]hat strikes me right now is, you and I Bret are used to having ideological debates over foreign policy. It’s what we have done for the last couple of decades. Now we’re really talking about a dividing line between someone who is competent and responsible and completely bonkers.

Later, the crazy train chugged along as Matthews seemed only half-sure in a tease that the reports about the President ribbing Vice President Pence for his homosexual views were a joke: 

Up next: new reporting on the relationship between Trump and his Vice President. This is a little bit hilarious, actually. Trump has mocked Pence’s far-right views, belittling his determination to overturn Roe v. Wade and even joking the Vice President wants to hang — joking — hang gay people. Let’s hope it’s all for fun and nonsense, that he would never do such a horrible thing.

Matthews continued this nuttiness after the break, expressing hope that the conversations alleged in a Pence hit piece courtesy of The New Yorker were a case of Trump joking around:

It says that during a meeting with a legal scholar, the President, quote, belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The piece goes on to add when the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned towards Pence and joked, don’t ask that guy. He wants to hang them all. I assume and hope, of course, that was a joke.

Seconds later, he quipped to newly-minted NBC News writer Jonathan Allen that Trump views Pence as one of those Catholic figures fromThe Da Vinci Code, some weirdo guy who flagellates himself” which Allen quickly noted was “very graphic.” So, remember that’s how some in the left view religious conservatives!

Less than a week after first comparing Trump supporters to North Koreans, Matthews doubled down during his Hardball Roundtable block:

A Washington Post report out today notes that one defining feature of managing Trump is frequent praise, which can leave this team in what seems to be a state of perpetual compliments. The White House pushes out news releases overflowing with top officials heaping flattery on Trump. You ever look at the faces of the guys in North Korea? They’re all the same. Everybody has the same expression. It’s concern or it’s laughing. And they’re always sort of making sure they’re in synchronized swimming with the dear leader, right? Does that sound like Trump’s people? Yes. It sounds like them.

Monday’s Hardball lunacy was sponsored by MSNBC advertisers IBM, MyHeritageDNA.com The State of New York, and Visionworks.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on October 16:

MSNBC’s Hardball
October 16, 2017
7:25 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Bret, let’s start where we might find common ground here. What is the logic between about — about humiliating Kim Jong-un? And we all know from reading, especially lately, when you have a third-generation head of a country, basically a king, almost a deity, and the people in the country, certainly the officer corps, the top field rank generals, look up to him as almost a deity, to call him bad names, make fun of him and call him Rocket Man, the whole routine, what is the purpose of that strategically?

BRET STEPHENS: I don’t think there is a purpose. Look, I find myself in a strange position, because, as a foreign policy hawk, I supported the decertification of the Iran deal. And I agree that the last 25 years of diplomacy with North Korea haven’t worked. The problem is that 90 percent of policy lies in the execution. And in this case, execution lies in the hands of a temperamental President who seems to think that all of his opponents, whether it’s Kim Jong-un or Marco Rubio, can be subjected to schoolyard bullying with equal effect and that’s really dangerous. You want two things in foreign policy. You want clarity, and you want credibility. And with this President, you have neither. Just listening to your last segment on politics, I was thinking that the President reminded me of the Black Knight from the Monty Python skit. No matter how many embarrassments he suffers, he keeps saying it’s just a scratch and he is going to fight on. At some point, he is going to be immobilized by his own rhetoric.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it’s like the guy going through a Veg-O-Matic. He looked like he had been split so many times, and he kept saying, don’t feel a thing. There was a striking number, by the way, gentlemen, in the new Quinnipiac poll. And this one grabbed me; 46 percent, a plurality of Republicans said they would support a preemptive strike against North Korea; 41 percent would oppose it. Back to you, Bret. I want you to start with this in the ping-pong match we’re having here. How do you have a preemptive strike against a country with, what, huge numbers are artillery facing south against our ally South Korea? How do you pincer them — I mean, how do you puncture them in a way that, oh, you got me, I got nothing I can do about it? How does that happen?

(....)

DAVID CORN: And it’s even more dangerous than that, because he — Trump keeps making threats. Now, we look at Trump. We — some people see him as a buffoon. Some see him as a bully and —

MATTHEWS: Some people call him Hitler [INAUDIBLE]

CORN: Yes, right, and can dismiss it, but if you’re sitting in North Korea’s place, you got to look at these threats as real. And if he is going to take out you or your nukes before you can use them, that gives you an incentive to strike and what strikes me right now is, you and I Bret are used to having ideological debates over foreign policy. It’s what we have done for the last couple of decades. Now we’re really talking about a dividing line between someone who is competent and responsible and completely bonkers.

MATTHEWS: That’s not where we should be in a democracy. Thank you so much, Bret Stephens. Good to have you as our colleague. Did I say that right? Colleague.

STEPHENS: I think you got that right. It wasn’t too hard to say.

MATTHEWS: It is hard. Well, I don’t even like the word. It seems a little pompous. Anyway, David Corn, thank you. How about friendly ally?

(....)

MATTHEWS: Up next: new reporting on the relationship between Trump and his Vice President. This is a little bit hilarious, actually. Trump has mocked Pence’s far-right views, belittling his determination to overturn Roe v. Wade and even joking the Vice President wants to hang — joking — hang gay people. Let’s hope it’s all for fun and nonsense, that he would never do such a horrible thing.

(....)

MATTHEWS: While the Trump administration formally supports the measure, formally, a New Yorker profile of Vice President Pence titled “The Danger of President Pence” says Trump has mocked the Vice President privately over his views on abortion and gay rights. It says that during a meeting with a legal scholar, the President, quote, belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The piece goes on to add when the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned towards Pence and joked, don’t ask that guy. He wants to hang them all. I assume and hope, of course, that was a joke.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, you’re chuckling because you don’t think this is — this is humorous that he talks about the VP the way he does, right?

JONATHAN ALLEN: No, I’m —

MATTHEWS: He’s super [INAUDIBLE] out of The Da Vinci Code, some weirdo guy who flagellates himself. That’s basically the way he describes him.

ALLEN: Well, that’s very graphic.

(....)

LIBBY CASEY: Absolutely and I do have to say one thing. Gay rights activists are not laughing at this. I mean, was it a joke? Was it sort of this one thing —

MATTHEWS: Of course, hanging is not a joke.

CASEY: — right, absolutely and so, there’s a lot of outrage —

MATTHEWS: Killing somebody — cruelly killing somebody.

CASEY: — and concern over this kind of language, coming from the President of the United States, even, you know, ribbing his VP.


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