WHAT!? Matthews, Friends Bash Trump’s Fourth Plans as ‘Un-American’ Mirroring the USSR

Wish that President Trump would not have inserted himself into Washington, D.C.’s Fourth of July celebrations, allowing A Capitol Fourth to remain on its own? Fine. But to declare the President’s plans “un-American” and a sign he wants to make America like North Korea or the former Soviet Union? That’s nonsense, folks.

And as evidenced by those hot takes on Tuesday’s Hardball with MSNBC host Chris Matthews and his three panelists, we have yet another example of what Trump Derangement Syndrome can do to your well-being.

 

 

Matthews got things started by asserting without evidence that while Trump “was inspired by what he saw in France's Bastille Day two years ago,” it’s far more sinister. Instead, it’s a “vision bear[ing] a closer resemblance to a chest-thumping put on by his counterpart China.”

Matthews continued, including the claim about Trump wanting America to be like the USSR (click “expand”):

For his part, Vladimir Putin of Russia has kept up the Soviet tradition of holding parades in Moscow’s Red Square to show his country’s military. They’re the same kind of theatrics that his Soviet predecessors used as propaganda during the Cold War, all choreographed to project military might, even as they fought a losing battle with the world of ideas and as those dictators would observe the proceedings while flanked by their top military brass, President Trump now intends to do the same. According to The New York Times: “Mr. Trump....has requested that the [joint] chiefs of staff,” all of them, “from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him as aircraft from each of their services fly overhead.”

Going first to Never Trumper Charlie Sykes, Matthews fretted that “[t]his is not what we normally think of a democratic display of our values, rather the values of power, of might making right, of dictatorships in so many cases historically.”

Sykes agreed, but added that it would further display “tacky narcissism” while having ruined “one of my favorite holidays, where we celebrated being American.” Not sure if Charlie knows this or not, but he lives nowhere near Washington and, regardless, he should be able to block Trump out of his mind for at least a day. But who knows!

Eager to re-up the Soviet comparison, Matthews told PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor that “dictators like the head of the Soviet Union, the chairman of the Soviet Union political party the communists, would do it I assume to keep the republics in line, all the parts of the Soviet Union empire in line by showing how much power Moscow had.”

After Alcindor knocked the politics of the event (and annoyed us with more usage of her tiresome phrase “this idea that”), former Al Gore and Leon Panetta aide Jeremy Bash took things up a notch by decrying the event as “nauseating” and “not just obnoxious tackiness,” but “actually dangerous” and “fundamentally un-American.”

Moments later, Alcindor observed that he’s become “hawkish” even though “he did run on this idea that he didn't want to send working-class men and women into war.”

“Well, Kim Jong-un has been doing this stuff for years. His grandparents, his father all did it too. It didn’t affect — it didn’t prove — It didn't impress the rest of the world. We knew it was a lousy country that had done nothing right. Their people were starving and the leaders were living well,” Matthews responded.

 

 

After Sykes chimed in to agree that Thursday’s planned festivities show Trump “has strong man envy” and makes clear to other countries that raise questions about whether America is “good,” “stable,” and “reliable.”

On that note, Bash concurred (click “expand”):

The reason is because they have no shame. They have no shame in actually undermining something sacred in our country which is a celebration of our Independence. What also gals me and probably galls other people in the Pentagon is this is faux militarism because actually when it counts, when it comes to conducting joint exercise on the Korean Peninsula, Donald Trump, unilaterally without consulting the secretary of defense or the joint chairman of chiefs, actually yanked away those military exercises and with respect to the greatest military alliance we have in the world, the NATO alliance, Donald Trump has undermined it at every turn. So, this is complete false support for the military. 

At the end of the segment, Matthews offered a bizarre tangent about being uncomfortable with presidents saluting the military (click “expand”):

I just think this — the trouble is like saluting. Reagan started that. Civilian leaders shouldn't have to salute military leaders. They take orders from the civilians. That's how our government works. Reagan started doing that in Hollywood-style saluting. A very nice salute. He learned in Hollywood and now all the presidents ever since then have been saluting since then. Why are they saluting? They're civilian leaders. They're not in the ranks. They're not in the chain of command. They're the boss because they were elected, not because they worked their way up the military.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 2, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 2, 2019
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: We're going to have tanks. With those words, President Trump has previewed his plans for this year's Fourth of July. The President was inspired by what he saw in France's Bastille Day two years ago, but the President's vision bears a closer resemblance to a chest-thumping put on by his counterpart China. For his part, Vladimir Putin of Russia has kept up the Soviet tradition of holding parades in Moscow’s Red Square to show his country’s military. They’re the same kind of theatrics that his Soviet predecessors used as propaganda during the Cold War, all choreographed to project military might, even as they fought a losing battle with the world of ideas and as those dictators would observe the proceedings while flanked by their top military brass, President Trump now intends to do the same. According to The New York Times: “Mr. Trump....has requested that the [joint] chiefs of staff,” all of them, “from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him as aircraft from each of their services fly overhead.”

(....)

7:03 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Charlie, I see you grimacing appropriately. This is not what we normally think of a democratic display of our values, rather the values of power, of might-making right, of dictatorships in so many cases historically. 

CHARLIE SYKES: Well, that's true, but I'm also struck by the tacky narcissism of it and how thoroughly annoying it is that the President of the needs to take over what was one of my favorite holidays, where we celebrated being American. It was not a partisan event. It was not a political event. It was not about one man and, yet, Donald Trump cannot resist making everything about himself. Yes, the symbolism is — is disturbing, but I think it's the obnoxiousness of politicizing and militarizing this — really, one of our nicer, more unified national holidays. 

MATTHEWS: You think they'll play Hail to the Chief when he arrives? 

SYKES: Probably, sure.

MATTHEWS: Well, that makes the point you’re making.

SYKES: They will stage manage this. Sure. I mean, look, this is like — this is like a Trump reelection kickoff. Here is a man who wants to make his campaign, his image all about patriotism. He’s the guy that hugs the flag. He’s the guy that wants all of the trappings of — of American might. Remember Make America Great Again. But the way in which he was clearly influenced by his foreign dictator buddies is I think more of a sign of his neediness and his insecurity and there is a certain silliness about this as well as obnoxiousness. 

MATTHEWS: Let's try to figure that out. Yamiche, dictators like the head of the Soviet Union, the chairman of the Soviet Union political party the communists, would do it I assume to keep the republics in line, all the parts of the Soviet Union empire in line by showing how much power Moscow had, any time they needed to send them to the East Bloc, to keep Hungary under control, to keep Poland under control. They wanted to show them the amount of the tanks they had. They had use for those tanks. Who’s Trump talking to with this display of military power? Who’s he talking to? 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Even though the White House says it isn't a political event, it sounds like he’s talking to —

MATTHEWS: But who’s he talking?

ALCINDOR: — are his base and the people who he wants to support him. There’s this idea that and this is of course inherently political. The President constantly is making political conversations, making political statements. He obviously kicked off his campaign during the inaugural address, so it's the person that I think is really trying to show look at all the mighty things I have. I think when you're talking about yesterday, when he was talking about his — his comments and the tanks, he said well, remember, before I got elected, people wanted to close down the tank factories in Ohio. I'm the one who kept them open. That was an inherently political decision, saying if I wasn't President, we might not have all these tanks. 

MATTHEWS: You know, the Fourth of July is about — Gary Wills deserves the credit for it. He wrote how Lincoln brought us back through his words at Gettysburg to the Declaration and the Fourth of July. Not to the Constitution, but to the conversation we had as a country about democracy, and all men are created equal, the very values of our country. That’s what the Fourth was. It’s not about defeating the Brits. It was about declaring our values on the fourth of July. That's what we did in Philadelphia. What’s this got to do with it? What do big tanks have to do with it? 

JEREMY BASH: Nothing and this is nauseating, Chris because this is not just obnoxious tackiness, this is actually dangerous. It's fundamentally un-American. It politicizes a nonpartisan celebration of we the people of our Declaration of Independence, and it also misunderstands the fundamental nature of our military might. Our military is not strong because of the weight of our armor or because of the speed of our fighter jets. It's because of the professionalism and skill of our service members who sacrifice everything for our freedom. That's what we should be honoring on July 4th. Not displace of military might. 

MATTHEWS: Okay, wait a minute, just talk about the message. You see all this on — you're in Greece. You’re in Poland. You’re in Angola. You're in anywhere in the world. You're in Thailand. When you see this, because it will probably make the rounds, this big show of force, what do they say to each other when they watch it? 

BASH: I think they say America has never done this before. Something must be significantly wrong. Why are they trying to overcompensate for what, some inherent weakness? Their inability to affect world events by showing this military might? Clearly Donald Trump wants to transmit a message of his strength because he perceives himself as being seen as weak around the world, which he is. 

ALCINDOR: And he also — he did run on this idea that he didn't want to send working class men and women into war, this idea that he wasn't going to be hawkish. He painted Hillary Clinton as the person who was going to send your children off to some country that you wouldn't even know about it. So what you have is the President both wanting to show military might while also still capturing this idea that he is not going to send anyone to war, and that's why I think in some ways it's a political decision, because he is saying “I'm the law and order President. I'm the person that is going to celebrate our military, but remember, listen carefully, I'm going to be very careful about how I use this military might.”

MATTHEWS: Well, Kim Jong-un has been doing this stuff for years. His grandparents, his father all did it too. It didn’t affect — it didn’t prove — It didn't impress the rest of the world. We knew it was lousy country that had done nothing right. Their people were starving and the leaders were living well.

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

SYKES: But there is no question about it, this is a President who has strong man envy, and has this mixed — mixed feeling about the military and Yamiche is right. You know, he keeps promising not to use them but he loves the flexing of the muscle and you asked, you know, how does the rest of the world view this? They already knew that America was strong. We didn't have to show them our planes or our tanks. They know who we are. What I think that they want to know is America is already great, but it is good? Is it stable? Is it reliable? And Donald Trump with his out-of-control me, me, me narcissism is not reassuring in that respect. 

(....)

7:11 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Well, they're fluffing their big contributors here, obviously. You’ve got an extra perk, give me another $100,000. 

BASH: The reason is because they have no shame. They have no shame in actually undermining something sacred in our country which is a celebration of our Independence. What also gals me and probably galls other people in the Pentagon is this is faux militarism because actually when it counts, when it comes to conducting joint exercise on the Korean Peninsula, Donald Trump, unilaterally without consulting the secretary of defense or the joint chairman of chiefs, actually yanked away those military exercises and with respect to the greatest military alliance we have in the world, the NATO alliance, Donald Trump has undermined it at every turn. So, this is complete false support for the military. 

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: It seems to me that the Declaration of Independence is really about those amazing words, “All men are created equal,” which of course translates today to means all people are created equal and that was the great gold standard that set us off in the right direction in terms of a country with all of our flaws was, at least we started off with a goal. We started off with an ideal and this day of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July is about that ideal and trying to live up to it and I — does anybody have a final thought? I just think this — the trouble is like saluting. Reagan started that. Civilian leaders shouldn't have to salute military leaders. They take orders from the civilians. That's how our government works. Reagan started doing that in Hollywood-style saluting. A very nice salute. He learned in Hollywood and now all the presidents ever since then have been saluting since then. Why are they saluting? They're civilian leaders. They're not in the ranks. They're not in the chain of command. They're the boss because they were elected, not because they worked their way up the military.

NB Daily North Korea Russia Military Communists MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Yamiche Alcindor Jeremy Bash Donald Trump Vladimir Putin Kim Jong Un Charlie Sykes
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