Matthews Potpurri: Cheers Dems for ‘Fighting’ Trump, Compares Trump to a French Mime

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was in a gleeful mood on Tuesday as a result of the intense political theater that broke out hours earlier in the Oval Office between President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, hailing Democrats for “fighting now” against Trump “after two years of holding back.”

Also within Tuesday’s show, he blasted Trump as having the body language of a French mime with a sexism problem and compared him to Igor from Young Frankenstein.

 

 

As was the case earlier this year, when stories like the Kavanaugh nomination piqued his interest, Matthews jumped right in from the start, gleefully proclaiming that “Democrats are fighting now” following “two years of holding back, the Democrats led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, today, got in the President's face.”

With a sense of astonishment, Matthews added: “That’s right. Democrats are fighting and may well be winning now after Trump — his back up, he declared he would be proud to shut down the U.S. government if he doesn't get his way.”

Matthews kept up his good spirits after introducing his first panel, wondering to Rhode Island Democratic Congressman David Cicilline:

Why are the Democrats fighting now? I mean, I watched the convention — the election of 19 — well, 2016, I remember that one and Trump behaved boorishly. He hovered over candidate — secretary Hillary Clinton, hovered over her, behaved awfully toward her. But now the Democrats seem to be in the mood that they want to be seen with this guy. What’s going on there?

To his credit (and unlike most CNN hosts when speaking to Democrats), Matthews pushed Cicilline on immigration. To piggyback on a point our Mark Finkelstein made on November 26, admitting that there are hundreds of thousands that annually come into America illegally, so Americans need to be convinced that “Democrats are credible” on this issue.

After PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor gushed over Pelosi’s performance, Matthews observed that Trump was manspreading during the meeting while the Vice President was a “strange sort of character” in the room who played an awkward Ed McMahon.

“Well, what is he doing there, the Vice President? He’s just sitting there like lapsed being, a lapsed being like he’s just sort of in a passive mode. Schumer’s in New York mode,” argued Matthews.

As for the mime comparison, Matthews twice mocked the President’s hand gestures whenever he talks about the border wall (click “expand”):

You know, I'm watching the President doing this kind of thing, and I am reminded of Marcel Marceau and the wall, remember? The mime — he would go on television. He would like, “pretend there's a wall there,” this mime and the President was like — it’s like he thinks there is a wall, but there's no wall, congressman. He keeps talking about the wall, there is no wall, congressman. 

(....)

As I mentioned for fun, a bit, well, for fun, Trump's imagination of a wall reminds me — it did today — of the French mime Marcel Marceau acting like he was actually touching a wall and the President, Congressman Cicilline, he actually acts like it exists. He’s actually — do it. Look at it with his hands today.

A few segments later, Matthews began his Hardball Roundtable segment with a clip from the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein to compare the President to the henchman Igor (click “expand”):

DR. FREDERICK FRANKSTEIN: You know, I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.

IGOR: What hump?

MATTHEWS: Well, that’s Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. What hump? That reminds of Trump, which is “what?” Anyway, welcome back to Hardball. That was Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, as I said and just as Igor — or Igor — couldn’t face the reality of his hump, President Trump is having a hard time facing the realities in front of him. 

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

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 11, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: In your face. Let’s play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening, I am Chris Matthews in Washington. Democrats are fighting now. After two years of holding back, the Democrats led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, today, got in the president's face. The battle was over funding for his proposed border wall and whether it’s worth shutting down the government over. Trump says it is. Schumer and Pelosi says it is a fight they're ready for. That’s right. Democrats are fighting and may well be winning now after Trump — his back up, he declared he would be proud to shut down the U.S. government if he doesn't get his way. 

(....)

7:01 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: New York, New York. They loved the town so much they named it twice. Two guys there fighting it out on the corner. The extraordinary televised sparring there — a match really — it comes as President Trump and Congress remain at odds over passing a spending bill for the whole U.S. government to fund parts of the government past December 21st. That’s next Friday. At issue? President Trump's demand for $5 billion for his wall along the Rio grande. Minority Leader Pelosi reminded the President who would own a shutdown.

(....)

7:03 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Why are the Democrats fighting now? I mean, I watched the convention — the election of 19 — well, 2016, I remember that one and Trump behaved boorishly. He hovered over candidate — secretary Hillary Clinton, hovered over her, behaved awfully toward her. But now the Democrats seem to be in the mood that they want to be seen with this guy. What’s going on there?

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN DAVID CICILLINE (RH): Well, I don't know they want to be seen. This was a televised conversation. 

MATTHEWS: Oh come on. That was performance. 

CICILLINE: But look, Democrats —

MATTHEWS: I mean, they knew the cameras were on. I think it is good, but why don’t you take credit for wanting to fight?

(....)

7:04 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: We have about 300,000 people come in the country every year illegally. We’ve got 20 — we’ve got tons of people here illegally. There is a challenge of illegal immigration. How do you effectively change the failed policies of today? 

CICILLINE: We should use technology. We should be smart about it. We’ve invested in border security. We should be using drones and satellites. Let’s be smart about the way you're doing this. The wall is not effective.

MATTHEWS: So you think the Democrats are credible in stopping illegal immigration? You know where they are?

CICILLINE: Look, we are the ones fighting for a comprehensive plan. 

MATTHEWS: I’m with you on that, but do you think they’re credible? They are? Okay.

CICILLINE: Absolutely. We supported $20 billion in additional funding for border security. 

MATTHEWS: Let’s bring in Yamiche. Go ahead. 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I want to say what we saw was a made for TV moment. President Trump wanted this moment, he wanted to be seen as someone who is strong — who is —

MATTHEWS: And what did the Democrats want? 

ALCINDOR: — and the Democrats feeling good after the midterm elections, they also wanted a fight. The idea that Nancy Pelosi kept saying the cameras need to be gone, they needed to be gone, but the moment that President Trump — I think is a key moment — said, hey, she can't talk, she's in the middle of being speaker. She hit back quickly and she hit back really, really quickly and really, really hard. 

MATTHEWS: That was very impressive. I — it reminded me of Nikki Haley. She said I don’t get confused, Haley said. She don't try to mischaracterize my situation. 

CICILLINE: Strength in that —

MATTHEWS: I think your ally, Nancy Pelosi, was benefitting from today. 

CICILLINE: Absolutely. I thought she was terrific.

MATTHEWS: I think that fighting match with the President helped her. What do you think?

ALCINDOR: I think it was a strong moment for her. She didn't want to be seen as someone talked over. She let the president finish his point. She didn't talk over him. She didn’t interrupt him and then she came up with this idea that was like, “I’m already the Speaker. Let me tell you what that means.”

MATTHEWS: She said she’s into an alpha-male number. I want to ask you about it, Congressman. I don't want to put you in a corner, you're probably a reasonable old time Republican, but he comes in with that — that manspread legs out. Like the weird the way he sits. This is the way he sits. It is all attitude with trump and then he’s got this guy next to him with this strange sort of character — I don’t know — Ed McMahon. Well, what is he doing there, the Vice President? He’s just sitting there —

CICILLINE: Frozen.

MATTHEWS: — like lapsed being, a lapsed being like he’s just sort of in a passive mode. Schumer’s in New York mode.

(....)

7:08 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: You know, I'm watching the President doing this kind of thing, and I am reminded of Marcel Marceau and the wall, remember? The mime — he would go on television. He would like, “pretend there's a wall there,” this mime and the President was like — it’s like he thinks there is a wall, but there's no wall, congressman. He keeps talking about the wall, there is no wall, congressman. 

(....)

7:11 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: This new thing about no more B.S., no more mansplaining. Nikki Haley, I thought, did it really well a few months and now she did it again. She stopped the music and she said, “you’re not going to get away with that swipe about I’m in a tough fight for reelection here.”

ALCINDOR: I think what we saw Nancy Pelosi give the president space to do what he wanted to do, then say stop and say: “Look. We can argue about policy, but listen to the — listen to me and to the strength that I'm bringing.” She — that was Nancy Pelosi being very polite but being very clear about her stance, so I think that she was saying no mansplaining here. Let me remind you who I am.

(....)

7:12 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: As I mentioned for fun, a bit, well, for fun, Trump's imagination of a wall reminds me — it did today — of the French mime Marcel Marceau acting like he was actually touching a wall and the President, Congressman Cicilline, he actually acts like it exists. He’s actually — do it. Look at it with his hands today.

(....)

7:41 p.m. Eastern

DR. FREDERICK FRANKSTEIN: You know, I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.

IGOR: What hump?

MATTHEWS: Well, that’s Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. What hump? That reminds of Trump, which is “what?” Anyway, welcome back to Hardball. That was Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, as I said and just as Igor — or Igor — couldn’t face the reality of his hump, President Trump is having a hard time facing the realities in front of him. 

NB Daily Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Government & Press Chris Matthews Yamiche Alcindor Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump Chuck Schumer
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