Well, that’s a new one. During Tuesday’s Hardball, host Chris Matthews wondered to newly-minted MSNBC political analyst and former Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill if President Trump truly “cares about” stopping the flow of illegal drugs from the U.S.-Mexico border, surmising that he doesn’t care about putting a halt to drugs that are killing thousands of Americans.
McCaskill had just suggested that more people be hired as “port of entry officers” because “[t]hat’s the way the drugs are coming in” when Matthews uttered his ghoulish assertion about whether the President cares about stopping the deaths of innocent Americans.
“You really think Trump cares about drugs? I think he cares about the Hispanic, the Latino people coming from below the border that his constituents are mad about. That seems to be what his — he’s playing the ethnic card here. It's not about drugs. It's ethnicity and race, I think,” Matthews exclaimed.
McCaskill immediately agreed, asserting that Trump doesn’t care “about anything but himself and keeping his base and so yes, there's an undercurrent of race there, but he keeps talking about drugs.”
“If he really cares about the drugs, he would sit down and we — they would hammer out some sort of compromise around stopping the flow of drugs through the mail and through the ports of entry,” she added before assailing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for making plans to put on the floor the compromise that the President proposed on Saturday.
It's worth noting that Trump's brother Fred died of alcoholism, so the President does know a thing or two about addiction and he's talked about the dangers of drug addiction both during the campaign and his presidency.
To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 22, click “expand.”
January 22, 2019
7:34 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And that message will be “I warned you about the Deep State and how the Democrat, the liberals, the media — they control the White — government and now I'm the outsider.” Does he want to be the outsider? Does he want to be the guy shut out of the party?
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I think he wants to be seen as against the establishment and status quo. The problem is he's — he’s gone so far, so many people are out there that are suffering right now that aren't getting paychecks. So many people are seeing this as, you know: “Really, you guys can't figure out how to pay the people who are supposed to be protecting the border? Who are supposed to be making sure that people who go through airports aren't terrorists?” You mean, you can give all the lip service you want to national security, but he is really stretching national security with his unwillingness to reopen the government and then sit down and work a deal in the middle on some immigration reform and, you know, I’ll tell you what we need at the border. We need more port of entry officers. That’s the way the drugs are coming in and we're way understaffed at the ports of entry. I'm not talking about the agents that patrol the border. I’m talking the people in the ports of entry. That's what we should be talking about. How should we stop this fentanyl from coming the country with adding more people at the ports of entry?
MATTHEWS: You really think Trump cares about drugs? I think he cares about the Hispanic, the Latino people coming from below the border that his constituents are mad about.
MCCASKILL: Well, I —
MATTHEWS: That seems to be what his — he’s playing the ethnic card here. It's not about drugs. It's ethnicity and race, I think.
MCCASKILL: — I don't think he cares about anything but himself and keeping his base and so yes, there's an undercurrent of race there, but he keeps talking about drugs. If he really cares about the drugs, he would sit down and we — they would hammer out some sort of compromise around stopping the flow of drugs through the mail and through the ports of entry and here’s the thing. The thing they're going to vote on Thursday that Mitch is going to put on the floor for the Republicans and what's called a side by side for the Democrats. The Democrats are going to put something up. Everybody's going to be able to vote to open the government, then they’re going to go home. If they were serious about getting this passed, Chris, they never would have put a poison pill there, basically blowing the asylum process out of the water. They threw that stuff in there because they're not serious about getting votes for it.