Wait, What? Matthews Condemns ‘Eight-Year-Old’ Trump’s ‘Brain Soup,’ ‘Psychobabble’

Yes, Chris Matthews said that on Tuesday’s Hardball. And, no, it didn’t appear that Matthews realized how what he said about President Trump came across as quite the case of irony.

In the A-block of his MSNBC program, Matthews wondered if the world is “about to see collusion in plain sight” by “eight-year-old” President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin even though, in Matthews’s world, Trump’s “brain soup” is “psychobabble.”

 

 

To set the tone, here’s a portion of Matthews’s opening comments (click “expand” for more):

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have been exchanging glances for months and next week, the two of them finally get together. On the way to that meeting, President Trump will be climbing over America’s historic, longtime allies. What is he up to? Does Trump believe the best way to win Putin’s embrace is to shove away our allies? Why is the leader of the free world changing partners and throwing himself at the little strong man from Moscow? Why jeopardize one of history’s great marriages, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for a one offer, the man who tried undermining our democracy? Are we about to see collusion in plain sight?

Matthews later brought on his first panel and fretted like a true elitst to former Obama official Ben Rhodes that going to Europe to see our allies was “fun,” glamourous, and “a smash” like “[w]hen Jack Kennedy went to France with Jacqueline Kennedy,” but not anymore with Trump.

“Well, look. You couldn’t script this week better if you were Vladimir Putin because what he wants above anything else is the collapse of the western alliance, divisions with the NATO,” Rhodes responded. Sure, Ben, that’s similar whatever the Iranians said when you sent them pallets of cash.

Going to The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff, Matthews wondered “why does [Trump] hate” NATO and the western alliance and when she replied that she wasn’t sure of a “full answer to that,” Matthews uncorked this (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Why does he hate them?

WOODRUFF: It’s good question. I’m not sure I have full answer to that.

MATTHEWS: Do you know Ben? What is his psychobabble here? I mean — not psycho — what’s his brain soup? 

RHODES: Well, number one —

MATTHEWS: Is it that he doesn’t play well with the others? Is that he doesn’t like contemporaries, equals?

RHODES: He has resented like the institutions that he feels that he is not a part of and frankly, he has always had more affinity for these strong men types. You know, Putin. We saw with Kim Jong-un. He had better things to say about Kim Jong-un than he does with the Prime Minister of our northern allies.

Appearing on cable news not to promote conservatism but instead flaunt his anti-Trumpism, former Republican Congressman David Jolly declared that Trump possesses a “historic level of profound ignorance on the world stage and...he is suspicious of multilateral engagements but he sees strength in dealing with strong men and world leaders like Putin and Kim.”

Matthews interjected to bemoan how, while Jolly was speaking, b-roll footage of the President arriving in Belgium rolled and the MSNBC pundit had to mock his appearance:

[Y]ou couldn’t see it but there was Trump getting off the plane with his classic sort of presentation look. Coat open, wide open, white shirt showing, a tie cut tied so it shows ridiculously below the belt, is that part of the swagger? Is this — I’m serious. Is this the presentation? It’s a big swagger.

Later on, Matthews went to Rhodes on “this question” of the President’s “brain soup,” wondering “why does Trump behave the way he does” and if it’s something “mental or is it something psycho” going on where he has to “strut” around like Kim Jong-un and Putin.

Prior to Jolly ending the segment by deeming Trump to be “cagey but ignorant and we will end this weak as a weaker nation, not a stronger nation” (even though he pathetically claimed he dislikes having to talk like this), Matthews asserted another insult towards the President:

MATTHEWS: You don’t think — you think he is like an eight-year-old?

RHODES: I think he likes to be the center of attention.

MATTHEWS: Like an eight-year-old? Throw the blocks around, don’t — play with the other kids you’re supposed to be playing with.

RHODES: Eyes on me here.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 10, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 10, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Strangers in the night. Let’s play hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have been exchanging glances for months and next week, the two of them finally get together. On the way to that meeting, President Trump will be climbing over America’s historic, longtime allies. What is he up to? Does Trump believe the best way to win Putin’s embrace is to shove away our allies? Why is the leader of the free world changing partners and throwing himself at the little strong man from Moscow? Why jeopardize one of history’s great marriages, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for a one offer, the man who tried undermining our democracy? Are we about to see collusion in plain sight?

(....)

MATTHEWS: First to Ben, you know this whole issue of our relations with the European allies. That was with the home team.

BEN RHODES: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: They were the allies. They are fun, going to Europe. When Jack Kennedy went to France with Jacqueline Kennedy, it was a smash. It was all about glamour and we love the gall and he loves us. Why is this guy dumping on the European allies we have had for a decade, for century in the case of British, the French? Why is he dumping on them to make them look more likable, more embraceable Putin?

RHODES: Well, look. You couldn’t script this week better if you were Vladimir Putin because what he wants above anything else is the collapse of the western alliance, divisions with the NATO.

(....)

MATTHEWS: What is in his head, Betsy? Seriously, you are laughing. But I ask somebody what is in Trump’s head and people laugh. But what it is?

BETSY WOODRUFF: What is in his head is an extreme antipathy towards any sort of multilateral or international alliances, essentially towards of the new world order, post-World War II.

MATTHEWS: Any equality.

WOODRUFF: NATO, the world trade organization, NAFTA, the institutions that have held together the west.

MATTHEWS: Why does he hate them?

WOODRUFF: It’s good question. I’m not sure I have full answer to that.

MATTHEWS: Do you know Ben? What is his psychobabble here? I mean — not psycho — what’s his brain soup? 

RHODES: Well, number one —

MATTHEWS: Is it that he doesn’t play well with the others? Is that he doesn’t like contemporaries, equals?

RHODES: He has resented like the institutions that he feels that he is not a part of and frankly, he has always had more affinity for these strong men types. You know, Putin. We saw with Kim Jong-un. He had better things to say about Kim Jong-un than he does with the Prime Minister of our northern allies.

(....)

MATTHEWS: David, this is obviously a partisan Democrat saying he’s concerned.

DAVID JOLLY: Sure.

MATTHEWS: But I don’t think that is just so with him. What’s the fear when you think about it, of Trump? You know, they used to say, when Trump went to Reykjavik with Gorbechev: “My God, he wants to get rid of the nuclear weapons.” Well, that was the worst thing in the world to do. But he was talking big time. Does Trump going to cut a grand scheme with him — some grand alliance with the north of both hemispheres go to wars — goes to war with the south and put Syria together and somehow reconciles people with Syria and keeps Israel safe. What is it, a grand deal he is up to?

JOLLY: I think that’s giving Donald Trump a lot more credit than he is capable of. I think what Schumer is speaking to is a suspicion of many that this is a President with a historical — historic level of profound ignorance on the world stage and to Betsy’s and Ben’s point, he is suspicious of multilateral engagements but he sees strength in dealing with strong men and world leaders like Putin and Kim and frankly, he’s intimidated by a NATO alliance and so, he’s willing to sacrifice and flirt with 70 years of freedom alliance and not understand fully the consequences of whether or not Article Five is even on the table or not, recall that he flirted with that during the campaign and walked it back. This is the concern. Listen, he is projecting profound weakness on the world stage. We are conflating bluster with strength. The fact is our greatest allies are begging for his leadership and he is not showing it. Yet at the same time, he is caving to our adversaries. That is the concern that Chuck Schumer was speaking to.

MATTHEWS: While you were talking, David, you couldn’t see it but there was Trump getting off the plane with his classic sort of presentation look. Coat open, wide open, white shirt showing, a tie cut tied so it shows ridiculously below the belt, is that part of the swagger? Is this — I’m serious, 

JOLLY: It’s all he has, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Is this the presentation?

JOLLY: Yes. 

MATTHEWS: It’s a big swagger.

JOLLY: Chris, this is the President of the United States that could not compete with his own peers at the G-7 so he walked away in the fit. This is a President who thinks that he has a contract with Kim. But we all know, in diplomacy, that is not actually exist. He sells only one thing to his base with his strength and that strength — to sell that strength requires an adversary. It requires him to — to appear with strong men like Putin and so, there is something a president, a former President’s never did. There is a reason former presidents never did what this President is doing. It’s because it is wrong for the national security interests of the United States.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Well, I think, I am going to ask you Ben, you don’t like doing this kind of thing, but this question of brain soup. Why does Trump behave the way he does? Is it all mental or is it something psycho about it? Why he has to strut like that? We are just watching these stuff. Putin struts, he struts, little Kim Jong-un struts in his, you know, shorter way, but they do it.

RHODES: You know, I think —

MATTHEWS: You don’t want to do this, do you?

RHODES: No. I’ll go there for a second which is I think that the only part of the presidency that he seems to be attracted to is not doing the homework. You are not getting into the room and negotiating, you know, walking away from the G-7 communique, blowing up NATO consensus. The only part he likes is the spectacle. He likes being the center of attention. He like that everybody in the world is going to be talking about this meeting with Putin. Just like everybody in the world was talking about meeting with Kim. I don’t think he has any idea what he’s trying to get out of this meeting with Putin and I’m sure that Putin knows exactly what he wants out of it.

MATTHEWS: You don’t think — you think he is like an eight-year-old?

RHODES: I think he likes to be the center of attention.

MATTHEWS: Like an eight-year-old? Throw the blocks around, don’t — play with the other kids you’re supposed to be playing with.

RHODES: Eyes on me here.

(....)

RHODES: You got the President of the United States, you know, who is vacated the role of leader in the free world.

(....)

MATTHEWS: I think they’re going to get together in the band and there is two men here. The one with the plan will win. Now who, you think, do you agree — do you agree with Ben that it was the Russians that have a plan, we don’t.

JOLLY: Putin — Putin will win. Chris, Donald Trump is cagey but ignorant and we will end this weak as a weaker nation, not a stronger nation.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe how we talk now? You’re talking about the President of the United States. You casually say ignorant. You really mean that in a robust sense? 

JOLLY: Yes, but —

MATTHEWS: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

JOLLY: And I’m careful with the word. I don’t like the word. I really don’t like the word. He is cagey and maybe he is a brilliant negotiator. He operates in chaos and he’s good at that. But when it comes to profound matters of policy, particularly on national security, he is historically ignorant and we are wrestling with that as a country to follow a President down this path that is abandoning an over 70 years of a freedom alliance and embracing dictators that are adverse to our national security interests. That is the President today.

MATTHEWS: Do you mean to say — I want to take just half a minute here, that he profoundly does understand — doesn’t understand what the Marshall Plan did?

JOLLY: No

MATTHEWS: — where we restored contradrial [sic] relations in Europe so they can rebuild themselves, where we were able to forge the alliance that was so scary to the Soviet Union, they had to back off.

JOLLY: Chris, look at his language.

MATTHEWS: And he doesn’t understand the power of that history. He doesn’t get that.

JOLLY: No, he doesn’t. Nor does he understand how it actually operates. Look at his language around suggesting that our NATO allies have to contribute more. It is not a fund that they are contributing to. It is a GDP goal, where yes, he is correct that only five of 29 countries actually have reached that goal, but it is not about in contributing more to a fund that would actually reduce our requirement to protect freedom as well. He either fundamentally does not understand it. He is fundamentally ignorant or he is misleading the American people. They can make a decision which it is.


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