Matthews Suggests Trump Is Pressuring Maduro Regime to Win FL, GOP Votes in 2020

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews continued on Monday to allow his legitimate concerns about foreign interventionism to cloud his judgment, whining without evidence that President Trump has taken such a firm stand against the failed Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro to curry favor with Floridians (presumably Hispanic voters) and Republicans to secure reelection.

“And President Trump ran against so-called stupid wars. Remember that? Now, he and his National Security Adviser, the neocon, John Bolton, appear to be ginning up wars with Iran and maybe even Venezuela. What’s all this tough talk from Trump? What’s he thinking? Is this for a Republican interest groups? [sic] Why do they want to hear this tough hawkish talk,” he screeched in one of two teases for a segment with former Obama official Wendy Sherman.

 

 

Before bringing in Sherman, he fretted that “while our President’s cozying up to the leaders of Russia and North Korea, he’s taking a much tougher stance against countries like Venezuela and Iran.”

Matthews teed up Sherman by complaining “real neocon” John Bolton pulling strings thanks to Sheldon Adelson, who “made his one ask” of the President to hire Bolton.

Ah, so go ahead and criticize Adelson, but if one criticizes Michael Bloomberg or George Soros, you’ll be condemned as an anti-Semite as CNN did here.

Matthews then made the wild claim about trying to stop Maduro’s murderous reign all being a 2020 ploy: “Bolton is a hawk on Iran. He’s fanatical about it, but, also, just to mix it up a bit, he goes after Maduro because the President wants Florida. It’s pretty clear to me it’s constituency politics, right-wingers, wherever he can find him, who will vote for him.”

Sherman responded:

There’s no doubt about it. It’s constituency politics all of the way. You’re quite right. What really should happen here is that Venezuelans who are in the United States get temporary protected status, as Ambassador Rice notes in her op-ed, but, of course, the President won’t do that because his base won’t like him letting other people who aren’t part of sort of, shall we say, the European background come in to our country.

Matthews and Sherman later complained that Bolton’s trying to conjure up “action” in both Iran and Venezuela, but Sherman only conceded here near the end of the segment that she’s “glad that we stood up to Maduro” and “that Guaido really ought to be running that country,” but is otherwise unhappy with the U.S.’s policy since that’s naturally what Obama officials have said on cable news for almost two and a half years.

The pair then concluded (click “expand”):

SHERMAN: Latin America wants us to do this in a pressured, but patient way. They believe Maduro will fall. They wish that the President of the United States would understand our history with Latin America when it comes to military action. You know, Chris —

MATTHEWS: I know.

SHERMAN: — from your time on the Hill how catastrophic this can be.

MATTHEWS: I’m afraid they were trying to do a Guatemala with Arbenz, trying to shake things up and have the guy make a run for it. It’s the old game plan from the early ‘50s. It’s a bit out of date.

Venezuela came up in an earlier segment when Matthews pushed back on far-left Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) insisting the House sergeant of arms should arrest Trump officials if they refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Well, where would the sergeant of arms go? This is beginning to sound like Venezuela. Where does the sergeant of arms go? He goes to the gates of the Treasury Department and he asks if he can come in to arrest the secretary of treasury or ask if he can name — go to the Justice Department to ask for permission to get past the guards to arrest the attorney general? I don’t see it happening. I know you’re a constitutional expert, but how does it actually work?

RASKIN: Well, the way it worked in the 19th century is that people who were acting in defiance of lawful orders by Congress were held until they essentially extinguished the contempt by complying with the order. Now, obviously, this hasn’t been done in, I think , more than seven or eight decades, so it’s taken a long time to get to this point of official executive contempt, but what we’ve got is an executive branch which is categorically defying the lawful orders of Congress. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 6, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 6, 2019
7:16 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And President Trump ran against so-called stupid wars. Remember that? Now, he and his National Security Adviser, the neocon, John Bolton, appear to be ginning up wars with Iran and maybe even Venezuela. What’s all this tough talk from Trump? What’s he thinking? Is this for a Republican interest groups? [sic] Why do they want to hear this tough hawkish talk?

(....)

7:23 p.m. Eastern

CONGRESSMAN JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We’d send the sergeant of arms to go back to go get people back in the 19th century.

MATTHEWS: Well, where would the sergeant of arms go? This is beginning to sound like Venezuela. Where does the sergeant of arms go? He goes to the gates of the Treasury Department and he asks if he can come in to arrest the secretary of treasury or ask if he can name — go to the Justice Department to ask for permission to get past the guards to arrest the attorney general? I don’t see it happening. I know you’re a constitutional expert, but how does it actually work?

RASKIN: Well, the way it worked in the 19th century is that people who were acting in defiance of lawful orders by Congress were held until they essentially extinguished the contempt by complying with the order. Now, obviously, this hasn’t been done in, I think , more than seven or eight decades, so it’s taken a long time to get to this point of official executive contempt, but what we’ve got is an executive branch which is categorically defying the lawful orders of Congress. 

MATTHEWS: What happens?

RASKIN: They’re doing it with the president’s taxes.

MATTHEWS: But, in the end, Congressman, what happens?

(....)

7:34 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: And while our President’s cozying up to the leaders of Russia and North Korea, he’s taking a much tougher stance against countries like Venezuela and Iran.

(....)

7:36 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about the national security adviser, John Bolton, a real neocon, a big war hawk on all fronts, over in the Middle East especially. John Bolton apparently got his job because Sheldon Adelson made his one ask. That was his ask, I want this guy as national security adviser. Bolton is a hawk on Iran. He’s fanatical about it, but, also, just to mix it up a bit, he goes after Maduro because the President wants Florida. It’s pretty clear to me it’s constituency politics, right-wingers, wherever he can find him, who will vote for him.

WENDY SHERMAN: There’s no doubt about it. It’s constituency politics all of the way. You’re quite right. What really should happen here is that Venezuelans who are in the United States get temporary protected status, as Ambassador Rice notes in her op-ed, but, of course, the President won’t do that because his base won’t like him letting other people who aren’t part of sort of, shall we say, the European background come in to our country.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

(....)

7:38 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: They take a shot at one of the ships. All of a sudden, we're in a war situation. I think that's what I’m afraid of what Bolton's up to. I think he wouldn’t mind ginning up some action. 

SHERMAN: Well, I think there is great concern, both in Venezuela and Iran, that John Bolton is trying to gin up action, that, in fact, he’s creating an escalatory cycle. I’m glad that we stood up to Maduro. I’m glad that we said that Guaido really ought to be running that country. But I am not glad we have escalated the effort here. And, in fact, I think we encouraged Guaido to call for people to come out on the streets, without giving him the appropriate intelligence that most of the military still stood with Maduro and so it looked like Guaido came off with less power than I think he really has, rather than having a patient —

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

SHERMAN: — keep the pressure on, work with our allies and partners. The President doesn’t believe in allies and partners, except when it serves his purposes, but not when it serves the purposes of the security of the United States of America. Latin America wants us to do this in a pressured, but patient way. They believe Maduro will fall. They wish that the President of the United States would understand our history with Latin America when it comes to military action. You know, Chris —

MATTHEWS: I know.

SHERMAN: — from your time on the Hill how catastrophic this can be.

MATTHEWS: I’m afraid they were trying to do a Guatemala with Arbenz, trying to shake things up and have the guy make a run for it. It’s the old game plan from the early ‘50s. It’s a bit out of date.

NB Daily Iran Venezuela Military Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Nicolas Maduro Wendy Sherman Donald Trump John Bolton
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