ICYMI: Matthews Asks African-American Guest If Tough Campaign Work Was Like ‘Slavery’

If you haven’t seen it yet (or just want to watch it again), MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews ended his week with another gaffe, asking an African-American female guest on Friday’s show if any of the politicians she’s worked for were tough to the point that they “insist[ed] on slavery.”

“My one question to you is, was it like that working for other politicians? You have worked for politicians. Have they — do they all insist — insist on slavery,” Matthews wondered to Center for American Progress campaign director Juanita Tolliver.

 

 

Tolliver was beginning to say that she has worked for some tough politicians, but she stopped cold at Matthews’s insane assertion: “[C]ome on. You’re talking to a woman of color here, right?”

Matthews doubled down, insisting that he was “serious” because “some bosses are notoriously bad to people, and they do humiliate their people.”

Tolliver wasn’t going to let Matthews have it, also doubling down: “Like, nothing compares to what happened to my ancestors. I mean, bad to people, humiliate people, still very short of slavery.”

“But, yes, there have been some bad bosses out there, but nothing to the degree of what we see happening in the Trump administration, where he is actually creating this web where people get entrenched in it and can’t find a way out,” she added in pivoting the discussion back to observing the way in which President Trump treats his cabinet officials and staff

Before that, Tolliver told Matthews that everyone should “remember” that Trump was “a reality TV star who did use to point out people and say, ‘you’re fired,’” so “[t]his is all fun and games for Trump and, honestly, we’re going to see more and more people get played.”

Matthews wondered if Trump is “a sadist” and, like she would later, Tolliver wouldn’t go along:

I mean, if anything, I’m looking at people who join the administration knowing how he treats his staff, knowing how he humiliates people and if they make the decision to sign on with this administration, then whatever negative externalities come from that is fully on their shoulders.

Earlier in the week, Matthews also stuck his foot in his mouth when, during an interview with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), he compared the President invoking executive privilege to someone losing their virginity. In that case, however, Matthews apologized whereas he didn’t to Tolliver or his audience.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 3, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 3, 2019
7:50 p.m. Eastern

JUANITA TOLLIVER: Remember, this is a reality TV star who did use to point out people and say, “you’re fired.” This is all fun and games for Trump and, honestly, we’re going to see more and more people get played.

MATTHEWS: You think he’s a sadist?

TOLLIVER: I mean, if anything, I’m looking at people who join the administration knowing how he treats his staff, knowing how he humiliates people and if they make the decision to sign on with this administration, then whatever negative externalities come from that is fully on their shoulders.

MATTHEWS: You know, I remember when I first came to Washington, George, I asked a friend of mine who actually got me in the door, a former congressman, Wayne Owens of Utah. I said, do you have any advice about life? And usually you wonder what people are going to say when you ask an open-ended question.

TOLLIVER: I’m waiting. Come on. Let’s hear it.

MATTHEWS: You know what he said? It’s who you associate with.

GEORGE WILL: You forgot about Chris Christie. Christie campaigns against him as a menace to conservatism, a menace to the party. Then he endorses him. He flies with him down to Texas. I think it was down to Texas to the border and Trump finally gets done with his speech, turns to him and says, get on the plane and go home.

TOLLIVER: In and out, easy peasy, right? This is fun and games for Trump and the people who sign onto this administration know exactly what they’re signing on for. You started the segment with this, what happened to Barr, right? Barr signed on knowing full well the treatment that he would receive and he made a decision to play to a party of one this week in the hearings and he played well to Trump.

MATTHEWS: Well, not to get sectarian, but I always get back to A Man for All Seasons and the people that went with King Henry on the divorce issue, the marriage issue and those who didn’t had their heads chopped off and those who did didn’t look too good in history.

TOLLIVER: Didn’t look too good in history and —

MATTHEWS: But they cared about their horses. They didn’t care about their souls and Richard Rich, But for Wales, one of the best lines in movies.

WILL: A great line.

MATTHEWS: You’re giving your soul away to be head of — to be given the title of duke of Wales or whatever?

WILL: It avails a man nothing if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul, and you’re doing it for Wales.

TOLLIVER: Well said.

MATTHEWS: Well, we’re getting biblical here and I don’t mind that at all. My one question to you is, was it like that working for other politicians? You have worked for politicians.

TOLLIVER: I’ve definitely worked for politicians who had principled —

MATTHEWS: Have they — do they all insist — insist on slavery?

TOLLIVER: — come on. You’re talking to a woman of color here, right?

MATTHEWS: I mean, I’m serious.

TOLLIVER: Like, nothing compares to what happened to my ancestors.

MATTHEWS: Some — some bosses are notoriously bad to people, and they do humiliate their people.

TOLLIVER: I mean, bad to people, humiliate people, still very short of slavery, but, yes, there have been some bad bosses out there, but nothing to the degree of what we see happening in the Trump administration, where he is actually creating this web where people get entrenched in it and can’t find a way out.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

TOLLIVER: But, honestly, there is a reality that there are some people who are in his administration who completely feel fine doing his bidding, because they believe in what he’s doing.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Lyndon Johnson was an awful man to his staff people. He did treat them like slaves and the fact is, it didn’t get — we didn’t hear about it until later.

WILL: That’s true, but they stuck with him because they knew big things were happening and they were important to them, because he also treated them well, in the sense that he involved them in big events.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, I remember how he treated McNamara. He made him cry. He said I like that to show that I can make this guy cry. That was the secretary of defense.

TOLLIVER: Geez.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections Race Issues Racism MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Donald Trump
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