Matthews Admits Media Show Trump Tape Because It’s ‘Fun,’ Trump’s ‘Wagging the Dog’ on Syria

On Wednesday’s zany edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews admitted during the A-block that the news media “love to play” the infamous Access Hollywood tape with President Trump over and over again because it’s “fun” and “everyone” will think the President would be “wagging the dog” to attack Syria to distract from the Mueller probe.

This is the latest attempt by someone in the liberal media to chide the President for wanting to respond to a deadly chemical weapons attack. Prior to the Michael Cohen raid, everything seemed kosher but actions is now a distraction or “wagging the dog.” So it’s fair to wonder whether those individuals actually support standing up to horrific acts if it forces them to spend less time on their beloved Russia probe.

 

 

Matthews started this charade in speaking to The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker, wondering whether he “know[s] he's under suspicion that he might be wagging the dog” if he makes a move militarily with “those missiles he talks about being nice and smart and all that.” 

Parker thankfully rebutted Matthews, telling him: “[P]eople in the White House sort of outright dismiss the wag the dog theory, and their argument is that on something as serious as what to do with Syria and launching possible air strikes that there has been a very deliberative process.”

Matthews turned next to Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, remarking that “[t]his is a strange time and you cannot satirize it” as “I’ve never seen anything like this.” The pundit then pivoted to that Access Hollywood admission:

You get the Access Hollywood thing, which networks and us included love to play it over and over again. It’s a — it’s fun. There it is. It so amazes me where he's saying these horrible embarrassing things that cost Billy Bush his job but not him doing the whole thing here for the show and at the same time, you've got him talking in almost like caressing language about my nice, smart missiles. 

Following some boilerplate rhetoric from Blumenthal, Matthews tried (and failed) the same schtick with New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker:

The consequences within six hours, every European newspaper will have to the pictures of the hospital scenes. It's always there. Absolutely predictable. The people being brought into the hospitals on gurneys, bloodied faces, missing whatever and that is the first reaction. Imagine that across the front page, atop of the fold from the latest Access Hollywood still. It seems like this is going to be connected whatever good thinking people believe is the best for this President, everyone's going to be thinking wag the dog.

Baker pushed back, in part telling him “it's unfortunate timing obviously, but I think the one thing that the White House has going for it is because we have been in this scenario before.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on April 11, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
April 11, 2018
7:08 p.m. Eastern        

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Ashley, your paper and you especially with a few other people have been amazing at getting close to the President, figuring out what he’s up to. Does he know that every move he makes right now especially with the use of military weaponry, those missiles he talks about being nice and smart and all that, if he uses them, it will be suspect that he does. Does he know he's under suspicion that he might be wagging the dog? 

ASHLEY PARKER: I will say that people in the White House sort of outright dismiss the wag the dog theory, and their argument is that on something as serious as what to do with Syria and launching possible air strikes that there has been a very deliberative process in place, you know, from the National Security Council principals meeting this week to smaller briefings for the President and I will say my reporting shows that the White House has largely been focused on an orderly, methodical process at least and perhaps only when comes to Syria. That said, the President tweet this morning sort of threatening Russia and talking about the U.S. smart missiles that may rain down caught everyone, the Pentagon, his own aides, his own advisors totally by surprise and they sort of had to scramble to figure out how to respond. So, even within something as serious as this and a process they are working to be disciplined on because they do understand the stakes, especially those around the President, something like an impulsive early morning tweet will still occur as we saw and can sort of throw everything into chaos at least for several hours. 

MATTHEWS: This is a strange time and you cannot satirize it. You're my age pretty much. I have to tell you. I’ve never seen anything like this. A couple of things. You get the Access Hollywood thing, which networks and us included love to play it over and over again. It’s a — it’s fun. There it is. It so amazes me where he's saying these horrible embarrassing things that cost Billy Bush his job but not him doing the whole thing here for the show and at the same time, you've got him talking in almost like caressing language about my nice, smart missiles. I mean, it's strange. Senator, to hear — well, you see the whole thing. It's all on television except the words the president used. He's talking back to the Russians who if nothing else are Marshall in their use of weapons. That’s all they’ve got is a gas station and an arsenal and he's saying we've got nicer smarter missiles than you.

CONNECTICUT DEMOCRATIC SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: And he is in effect telegraphing in a way that he said he never would criticize other presidents for doing what the military moves may be. He is sitting with his generals and using that time which should be devoted to talk about the Syrian threat to denounce the Department of Justice and call a raid in New York on his lawyer a disgrace to the nation. It is beyond strange and embarrassing. It actually undermines the credibility of the United States of America abroad and the office of presidency is so diminished as a result. 

MATTHEWS: Peter Baker, we all know from past times we thought a quick military strike would be our solution. The consequences within six hours, every European newspaper will have to the pictures of the hospital scenes. It's always there. Absolutely predictable. The people being brought into the hospitals on gurneys, bloodied faces, missing whatever and that is the first reaction. Imagine that across the front page, atop of the fold from the latest Access Hollywood still. It seems like this is going to be connected whatever good thinking people believe is the best for this President, everyone's going to be thinking wag the dog. 

PETER BAKER: Well, it's unfortunate timing obviously, but I think the one thing that the White House has going for it is because we have been in this scenario before and we have considered the United States has considered action like this before, there's less suspicion of it this time than in the past. At this point, a chemical attack last year, Trump ordered a missile strike. The idea that there's another chemical attack and he might consider it does not seem out of place given his own history, given the history that President Obama considered something like this in 2013 and you've got Theresa May in Britain and Emmanuel Macron in France both likely it seems like to participate in an operation so it would not be a unilateral move by President Trump, but you're right. The timing is unfortunate and it’s something that will be cited and used against President Trump and against the United States. 

NBDaily Syria Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Peter Baker Ashley Parker Donald Trump Bashar al-Assad
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links