Unglued Matthews Uncorks Show-Long Hissy Fit on Bolton, Compares Him to Japan’s Tojo

Thursday marked an awful, no-good, very bad day for MSNBC host Chris Matthews as President Trump picked John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser. Less than an hour later, Matthews uncorked a hissy fit for the ages on Hardball lasting the whole show on the man he dubbed a modern Hideki Tojo and “biggest hawk there's ever been.”

Matthews shouted “war footing” at the top of the show and he was off and running like a kid running loose in a mall. He summarized the move announced less than an hour earlier and after introducing his panel, he declared that “I think you all four will be as stunned by the news.”

 

 

“I don't know if this is wag the dog, is this to get away from Stormy Daniels and the whole rest of this hell or what, but they’re bringing the biggest neo-con in the world. The one that exact — who so many millions of voters voted against in 2016, who voted against stupid wars and bring in the biggest hawk there's ever been and put him as head of national security is awful and I don't know anybody who disagrees with that, who thinks,” he rambled to NBCNews.com’s Vivian Salama.

She wasn’t experiencing the same weapons-grade hissy fit that he was, so he repeatedly cut her off in anger and frustration (click “expand” to see the back and forth):

VIVIAN SALAMA: Well, you just said the word hawk, that is exactly what John Bolton is. He's no stranger —

MATTHEWS: He likes war. 

SALAMA: He —

MATTHEWS: He wants war with Iraq. He pushed and pushed and pushed and wanted to go to war with Syria. Name a country in the Middle East he didn't want to go to war with.

SALAMA: Well, one of the issues —

MATTHEWS: And he wants war now with Iran. 

SALAMA: One of the issues he's particularly devout about is getting this nuclear deal with Iran to just go away. 

MATTHEWS: So he can do what he wants to do, which is bomb. 

SALAMA: He wants to scrap it. 

MATTHEWS: He has said, I want to bomb. 

SALAMA: He is very, very skeptical about the Iranian regime —

MATTHEWS: Okay, that’s the way you’re putting it.

SALAMA: Yeah, that's exactly the way. 

MATTHEWS:  Let’s go to the alternative.

Former Obama State Department flack Nayyera Haq was more on par with Mathews, smugly declaring that “[i]f you liked the war in Iraq, you’re going to love the one what John Bolton’s going to declare and push for in Iraq and let's not forget North Korea, too, where we have another volatile leader Donald Trump recently committed to meeting face to face.”

Matthews took a shots at George W. Bush over Iraq as “limited ability” versus “Cheney and the people like Bolton got them into the war” in Iraq plus Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson:

What is it going to be like when we have a new coalition of Jared Kushner, a hawk, with Sheldon Adelson, financing a lot of this mentality, you can tell he is. This is — Bolton is one of his guys, and then you got — who else is in this mess? Who’s going to say no? Who’s going to say, let's cool it here. 

His worst line came just after the 7:11 p.m. Eastern mark, screaming that “this is bringing in Tojo” and simply “unbelievable” for Trump to hire “a guy who’s on the opposite side of moderation.” For those unaware, Tojo refers to Hideki Tojo, who was the general of the Japanese army and Prime Minister during World War II.

Still in the A-block, Matthews screeched that Trump was “like a kid throwing his toys in the air” when, in reality, he was describing himself too. Matthews even apologized for being “a little emotional” in ranting uncontrollably about Bolton (click “expand” to read more): 

MATTHEWS: Just throwing all the toys in, I'm mad. I'm getting rid of everything. It is extraordinary. I’m sorry. This is — I'm a little emotional about this because I've never seen a President behave like this in one day. Vivian? 

SALAMA: I mean, we knew that H.R. McMaster's days were numbered, we had reported that here at NBC. This is not necessarily that shocking. But we are here —

MATTHEWS: But you’re ignoring the personal aspect of the President. On the same day that the market crashes 700 points ---

SALAMA: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: — he goes on a trade move, he fires his lawyer and then he fires the National Security Adviser all within a matter of minutes. 

SALAMA: 100 percent.

MATTHEWS: What is going on? 

SALAMA: This is a President that knows how to control the media narrative and that is something we have seen time and time again as Julia just said and so he does, he plans a lot of these announcements very strategically.

MATTHEWS: Well, he’s got a headline now. It’s called war footing. The whole world is going to see it. You bring in John Bolton — just take a look at that guy. Just put his picture on world newspapers. You don't have to say much more.

Later in the show, Matthews reiterated his child comparison and wondered if this will mean that Trump will “complete the Axis of Evil of Dubba and all the zaniness” by deciding to “go to war with the ones we haven’t gone to war yet” in Iran and North Korea.

To see more Matthews lunacy, check out the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on March 22 by clicking “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
March 22, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: War footing. Let's play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington with breaking news from the White House that could have major national security implications. President Trump announced General H.R. McMaster is leaving his role as National Security Adviser. He's out. He will be replaced by John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. What that means for the direction of the country's national security policy is clear. McMaster's was a moderating force in the White House who urged the President not to rip up the nuclear deal with Iran. Bolton is hard-liner, has called the deal with Iran the biggest single act of appeasement by the West since Munich. In the past he’s even called for bombing of Iran. I'm joined right now by NBC News’s Vivian Salama and, of course, move that back, please, Julia Ainsley, former State Department official Nayyera Haq, and retired General Barry McCaffrey. I think you all four will be as stunned by the news. I don't know if this is wag the dog, is this to get away from Stormy Daniels and the whole rest of this hell or what, but they’re bringing the biggest neo-con in the world. The one that exact — who so many millions of voters voted against in 2016, who voted against stupid wars and bring in the biggest hawk there's ever been and put him as head of national security is awful and I don't know anybody who disagrees with that, who thinks, your thoughts?

VIVIAN SALAMA: Well, you just said the word hawk, that is exactly what John Bolton is. He's no stranger —

MATTHEWS: He likes war. 

SALAMA: He —

MATTHEWS: He wants war with Iraq. He pushed and pushed and pushed and wanted to go to war with Syria. Name a country in the Middle East he didn't want to go to war with.

SALAMA: Well, one of the issues —

MATTHEWS: And he wants war now with Iran. 

SALAMA: One of the issues he's particularly devout about is getting this nuclear deal with Iran to just go away. 

MATTHEWS: So he can do what he wants to do, which is bomb. 

SALAMA: He wants to scrap it. 

MATTHEWS: He has said, I want to bomb. 

SALAMA: He is very, very skeptical about the Iranian regime —

MATTHEWS: Okay, that’s the way you’re putting it.

SALAMA: Yeah, that's exactly the way. 

MATTHEWS:  Let’s go to the alternative, Carol. His alternative plan has been, he's written about it extensively, bomb. 

JULIA AINSLEY: You’re talking about his Iran, but what we're seeing is a President —

MATTHEW: Julia.

AINSLEY: — who is going away from people who are giving him that moderating voice of reason, because he doesn't want to hear it anymore. He doesn't want to hear it on the Iran nuclear deal, he doesn't want to hear it with his own defense against Robert Mueller and we saw that today with the resignation of John Dowd. This is a pattern that we’re seeing play out, Chris as the President wants to surround himself with people pugnacious, whoa re going to be dogged, and who will tell him more of what he wants to hear. Vivian knows a lot about his relationship with H.R. McMaster and how he wanted to get away from someone who was that voice of reason. 

MATTHEWS: Let me bring her Nayyera because, you know, the record’s pretty straight now that we’ve spent trillions of dollars on the war with Iraq and, of course, Afghanistan. And this fella, having supported both the wars, now supports this one. He made it clear in an article I just read this a few moments ago, there's still time to bomb Iran. He wrote that in 2015. He's an all-out neo-con hawk and that's the kind of advice that this President now wants?

NAYYERA HAQ: If you liked the war in Iraq, you’re going to love the one what John Bolton’s going to declare and push for in Iraq and let's not forget North Korea, too, where we have another volatile leader Donald Trump recently committed to meeting face to face. Listen, when John Bolton was at the United Nations, he was the architect for reducing the U.S. involvement in the national community. He's has actually said there's no United Nations. There is barely an international community that the United States can lead. Unfortunately, in this era of Donald Trump's America First, we're talking about America alone, an America that is not interested this working on international agreements and diplomatic resolutions to any of the challenges facing the world. And with John Bolton and his tenure at the U.N. in which eh essentially pulled back the United States involvement, we're going to be looking at the United States going at it alone once again. 

MATTHEWS: General McCaffrey, I think I dare to say a lot of people in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, the working guys and working women who voted for Trump because they thought he would stop stupid wars because their kids, their kids are the ones who fight these wars and now he brings in Bolton, Bolton, who to whom war is like a philosophy and you know, you know who this guy is. And to put him in charge, is this the distracted attention from the mishegas and hell that’s affecting the guy personally and the legal threats the President faces and the possibility of impeachment? Is this to be wagging the dog, is this what he's doing now, Trump? 

(....)

HAQ: Chris, this is exactly the problem we have with John Bolton in charge of national security, it's the classic civilians and their ideas as war hawks of what works overruling and overriding the generals. It's the problems we saw in the Iraq War and it’s a problem we'll be seeing coming out of the White House foreign policy going forward. 

MATTHEWS: You know, we had these characters over in the State Department, the Defense Department under W. and they pushed and pushed for war. They got a President of limited, W., not a bad man, but of limited ability like Cheney and the people like Bolton got them into the war. 15 years we regretted that war. 15 years of lots of lost lives, not just American lives and people disfigured and losing limbs, but hundreds of thousands of people on the other side. We have to consider who are dead now because of this and what do we get? We lost the one buffer we had with Iran, Iraq. We had, you know, we had a government willing to fight them, that went to war with them. We had somebody between them and Israel. Somebody between them and us and now we're facing Iran, and this guy now, when he has this opportunity, wants to go. You know he does. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: What is it going to be like when we have a new coalition of Jared Kushner, a hawk, with Sheldon Adelson, financing a lot of this mentality, you can tell he is. This is —Bolton is one of his guys, and then you got — who else is in this mess? Who’s going to say no? Who’s going to say, let's cool it here. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about the war. Nayyera, I want you to come in here and just lead this discussion a bit. It seems to me that the world headlines are moving for tomorrow morning's papers in Germany and the rest of the world, they are all going to be headlined. I think as somebody said a moment ago, hard-liner is a pretty good way to describe it. So Obama, I'm sorry, President Trump, I said President Trump names hard-liner as national security chief. How is that going to sound around the world?

HAQ: Well, look at the other hardliners who Donald Trump just met with this week and specifically the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who was apparently talking back at home how happy he was that Tillerson was gone as a moderating force. The Saudis and the folks, the Emirates in the UAE are very excited about the idea of the United States taking a harder line towards Iran. So you're seeing their influence in the removal of General McMaster as well. Again, this is taking a very particular side in the Middle East region, a region right with conflict where the U.S. has previously been a moderating and balancing force. This is not going to be in the long-term interest of our U.S. troops or the American public to be taking the Saudi foreign policy line. 

MATTHEWS: So now, Vivian, we get rid of the Secretary of State known for being a moderating force, who once want to — who believes in climate change, he thinks we should honor it, and he also believes we should honor the truce we have, this treaty with Iran and try to forestall their nuclear ambitions and we bring in — getting rid of Tillerson, we get rid of him. We get rid of McMaster and we bring in John Bolton. I — I — this is — this is bringing in Tojo. This is unbelievable, I'm sorry. Sorry, General, your memory's there. I'm telling you, it’s really bringing in a guy who’s on the opposite side of moderation. 

(....)

MATTHEWS:  Joy, let's talk possible crazy, okay? The same day that his trade proposal cost the stock market over 700 points. It is getting scary, this is big time, corrected — it's not corrected, it's a problem he's creating himself — a self-created problem. The same day he fires his top lawyer, John Dowd, the same day he fires the National Security Adviser, basically pushes him out. What is he doing for, total, total mishegas, total crazy in one day? Why does he was so much noise in one day? 

(....)

MATTHEWS: It’s like a kid throwing his toys in the air. Just throwing all the toys in, I'm mad. I'm getting rid of everything. It is extraordinary. I’m sorry. This is — I'm a little emotional about this because I've never seen a President behave like this in one day. Vivian? 

SALAMA: I mean, we knew that H.R. McMaster's days were numbered, we had reported that here at NBC. This is not necessarily that shocking. But we are here —

MATTHEWS: But you’re ignoring the personal aspect of the President. On the same day that the market crashes 700 points,

SALAMA: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: — he goes on a trade move, he fires his lawyer and then he fires the National Security Adviser all within a matter of minutes. 

SALAMA: 100 percent.

MATTHEWS: What is going on? 

SALAMA: This is a President that knows how to control the media narrative and that is something we have seen time and time again as Julia just said and so he does, he plans a lot of these announcements very strategically.

MATTHEWS: Well, he’s got a headline now. It’s called war footing. The whole world is going to see it. You bring in John Bolton — just take a look at that guy. Just put his picture on world newspapers. You don't have to say much more.

(....)

MATTHEWS [TO NICHOLAS KRISTOF]: You know, nothing is scarier, Nick, than somebody who’s never read a book, really, never read anything serious in their life, listening to people who spent their lives pushing heavy theories like freedom agendas and the neo-conservative movement. And they’re surrounded by people they never hung out with in college who were, whatever, you thought they were nerds. Now, they think they’re geniuses. What about the combination of this President, who doesn't read, now in the company of John Bolton? What will they be like together? 

(....)

MATTHEWS: He is like a little kid angry at the day, upset, throwing his toys in the air as: “I don't like the way things are going. I'm getting rid of people, I want a whole new thing, I want to do my own legal defense.” And the word even got out he wanted to get rid of general Kelly, he didn't want a chief of staff, he wanted to be his own chief of staff a couple weeks ago, and now he's firing the National Security Adviser, just bringing in a hawk that’ll talk his language. It does seem like he's on the verge of doing anything he feels like, which means finding a way to get rid of Mueller. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Is this the complete Axis of Evil of W. and all the zaniness. Let’s go — let’s go to war with the ones we haven’t gone to war yet. We went to war with Iran — Iraq under W. Okay, two left, that and North Korea and Iran. Let's go to war with all of them. This sounds like the Bolton plan to me. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Why did he say no more stupid wars? The people in Wisconsin and those places that got him to be president in the electoral college, they believed that their kids wouldn't have to fight stupid wars and here he is, saber-rattling, bringing in John Bolton who wants to go to war with North Korea, nobody wants a Korean war. 

MICHAEL STEELE: Nobody wants a Korean war. 

MATTHEWS: Except Bolton, maybe. 

STEELE: But I — I — I wouldn't prejudge this too quickly. Let's just see how this —

MATTHEWS: You don't go by the words?

STEELE: Yeah. Clear — that's clear in this instance, Chris, because we're all over the map on what the words are saying.

(....)

MATTHEWS: I've read 25 years of hawkish op-ed pieces in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. They are one thing good at, they raise money for people like Adelson. They hire them to work at places like the American Enterprise Institute and all they do is sit there and write op-ed pieces. I’m telling you. It's a powerful voice and we knew where they stood, war, war, war. They have been absolutely consistent and this guy still is. This is trouble.


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