‘Hardball’: Israel Ban Is ‘Autocratic,’ ‘Racial,’ ‘Un-American,’ ‘Weak’ Move by Bibi, Trump

Thursday’s Hardball joined the latest liberal media attempt to defend the anti-Semitism of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) amidst the decision to bar the two from Israel. In the show’s A-block, MSNBC host Chris Matthews and his crew of minions asserted that the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump was not only “autocratic,” but “racial,” “un-American,” and a sign of weakness.

Matthews let former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) go first, who argued that this was an example of when “weak leaders squash dissent” and this personified both Netanyahu and Trump as behaving contrary to the civil societies they’re charged with shepherding. 

 

 

But for Trump, Boxer supposedly sniffed out a far grander strategy (click “expand”):

[B]ut I just think this is one giant diversion. Trump doesn’t want to talk about the coming recession, which might be upon us. He doesn’t want to talk about a volatile stock market, Jeffrey Epstein’s death that happened on the Trump administration’s watch over the Bureau of Prisons, and the trade war that’s a disaster and terrible poll numbers. So what does he do? He goes back to bashing people of color. It’s outrageous, completely outrageous and I am so happy that AIPAC stepped in. I think it’s going to make a big difference in the way people look at this.

Ah, yes. Trump took a stand against anti-Semitism and a trip organized by people who think “Jews use the blood of Christians in Jewish [P]assover.” 

Going next to former Congressman and newfound liberal media darling Joe Walsh (R-IL), Matthews described Trump’s insistence on the ban as being an “autocratic,” “biblical” and “tyrannical” “escalation where we used to say politics ends at the water edge that he’s escalating to a global fight against his Democratic enemies.”

Wanting to be accepted by the hate Trump crowd after personal and political career of controversy, Walsh hailed Boxer and Matthews (click “expand”):

Chris, I agree and I agree with Senator Boxer. It’s un-American. It’s Trump acting like a king again. It’s not surprising. It’s Trump. It’s a weak, small, petty, childish move, but we expect that every day from this President. I am disappointed in Israel. Israel should have told this President to go jump and stay out of it and I’ve got to be honest, Chris. I’m disappointed. Every one of my former Republican colleagues should have stood up for their members of Congress, even if we disagree on their politics and I do disagree with Omar and Tlaib’s politics with regard to Israel, but that’s not the point at all.

Matthews heaped praise on Walsh for having made the turn and lobbed this softball: “Why are they afraid to lift their voices and say this is un-American to have a President just by dictate with his relationship with a fellow right wing leader just saying don’t let them in. I know they’re our elected officials. Don’t let them in.”

Citing his anonymous sources, Walsh claimed that Republicans are collectively “afraid,” “scared” and think the same things he does, but won’t admit it.

“You know, Jason, let’s talk hard politics. It’s not — it’s partially racial. These are women of color. These are women who come from different backgrounds than most Americans....I mean, this is the stupidest thing in the world,” Matthews then asserted to The Root’s Jason Johnson.

As usual, Johnson made it not about policy (in this case, believing whether or not Israel has a right to exist) but instead about racism. Johnson told Matthews that this entire story was about “promoting white nationalism abroad, right, in getting another country to buy into it.,” which Netanyahu apparently decided to endorse. 

He speculated that Trump’s next step could be not allowing people he disagrees with back in the country after they’ve been overseas. 

There was also the insistence that Omar and Tlaib represent the Heartland of America because they represent districts in Minnesota and Michigan, respectively. That’s despite the fact that they represent large, urban cities, so maybe not the best pick.

While Boxer, Matthews, and Walsh suggested that Trump had a strategy behind the Netanyahu government’s decision to ban two members of “The Squad,” Johnson didn’t think so. Instead, it was solely because he wants to make two women of color suffer (click “expand”):

JOHNSON: I don’t think that Donald Trump has some huge calculus. There is no chessboard here. He doesn’t like brown people.

MATTHEWS: But he does pick his enemies very strategically.

JOHNSON: He picks his enemies because they’re just women and they’re brown and he doesn’t like them. I don’t think that this is because —

MATTHEWS: You don’t think that’s strategy?

JOHNSON: I don’t think that’s strategy.

MATTHEWS: Oh I think it is.

JOHNSON: He’s not that strategic. 

WALSH: Yeah it is.

JOHNSON: He’s just — I disagree. I disagree. It could be spun as a strategy.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 15, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 15, 2019
7:03 p.m. Eastern

BARBARA BOXER: Well, weak leaders squash dissent. Trump looks so weak. What is he afraid of? And so does Benjamin Netanyahu look weak. Now, I have been to Israel many times, been to the Middle East many times, and the wonderful thing about those visits is how open, how open everyone was to dissent, even the taxi cabdrivers, let alone the members of parliament and all of the leaders, whether it was Likud or Labor, this is what a democracy is, but I just think this is one giant diversion. Trump doesn’t want to talk about the coming recession, which might be upon us. He doesn’t want to talk about a volatile stock market, Jeffrey Epstein’s death that happened on the Trump administration’s watch over the Bureau of Prisons, and the trade war that’s a disaster and terrible poll numbers. So what does he do? He goes back to bashing people of color. It’s outrageous, completely outrageous and I am so happy that AIPAC stepped in. I think it’s going to make a big difference in the way people look at this.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, there is something — Joe Walsh, there’s something tyrannical about this. This is almost biblical. Here’s a leader of a country, our leader who thinks, “oh, I can decide who comes into the country. Now, I’m going to decide who can leave the country.” I mean, it’s autocratic and it’s an escalation where we used to say politics ends at the water edge that he’s escalating to a global fight against his Democratic enemies.

JOE WALSH: Chris, I agree and I agree with Senator Boxer. It’s un-American. It’s Trump acting like a king again. It’s not surprising. It’s Trump. It’s a weak, small, petty, childish move, but we expect that every day from this President. I am disappointed in Israel. Israel should have told this President to go jump and stay out of it and I’ve got to be honest, Chris. I’m disappointed. Every one of my former Republican colleagues should have stood up for their members of Congress, even if we disagree on their politics and I do disagree with Omar and Tlaib’s politics with regard to Israel, but that’s not the point at all.

MATTHEWS: Why don’t — I’ve got you here. I’m so glad to get you, former Congressman. Why are they afraid to lift their voices and say this is un-American to have a President just by dictate with his relationship with a fellow right wing leader just saying don’t let them in. I know they’re our elected officials. Don’t let them in.

WALSH: They’re scared, Chris. They’re scared of him. They’re scared of pissing him off. They’re scared of a tweet. They’re afraid of a primary challenge. All they want to do is get re-elected. Everything you and I are saying right now, Chris, they believe, my former Republican colleagues believe privately, but they don’t want the wrath of Trump.

MATTHEWS: You know, Jason, let’s talk hard politics. It’s not — it’s partially racial. These are women of color. These are women who come from different backgrounds than most Americans. They come from, to paraphrase, the Middle East, South Asia — no, Horn of Africa in one case. This makes — I mean, this is the stupidest thing in the world. He has made these people one of the biggest people in the world. They’ll be able to do lectures all around the country, not for money, but just everybody wants to hear from the people the President is scorning.

JASON JOHNSON: Chris, what worries me about this is this is blocking — this is sort of promoting white nationalism abroad, right, in getting another country to buy into it. What happens when he decides not to let people back, right? Like that’s the next step of this. You literally will have members of Congress who can’t come back. That is the damaging part. What also concerns me is the groundwork of this was set by the overreaction of many Democrats to the behavior of these two members of Congress and I always point this out. These are people from the heartland. We’re talking Michigan. We’re talking Minnesota. The United States gives billions of dollars in aid to Israel every year. Everyone from our Congress should be allowed to go there and conduct a fact-finding mission. So it’s disappointing that Israel allowed this to happen, because they have every right to be here. It’s disappointing that this President has engaged in a typical sort of white nationalist garbage he engages in, and our country as a whole needs to see this as a warning sign that if the President starts blocking people from actually doing their federal jobs, he will not stop at our border.

MATTHEWS: Well, it’s only the President’s set of latest attacks against the four congresswomen. They are part of the group, of course, four freshmen progressive members that the President has repeatedly attacked in the past four weeks in an attempt to elevate their stature as de facto leaders of the party. In fact, President Trump tweeted this afternoon: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democratic Party and they HATE Israel.” Barbara Boxer, senator, how much of this is strategic by Trump? Is this impulsive stupidity or does he think I can make the face of the Democratic party its most progressive left, people of color, and I can get the middle back politically next time by doing that?

BOXER: Well, as I said, I think it’s a grand diversion number 792 —

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

BOXER: — because things are not going well. Just look at the gun violence in this country. He promised he was going to do something about it. He’s not doing anything about it. Oh, the trade war would be great. You know, we’re going to win, win. You’re going to get so tired of winning. This is a grand diversion.

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

BOXER: I agree with Mr. Walsh, Congressman Walsh, so much when he says they are cowards. They are puppets and it’s going to destroy the party nationally. I don’t take great glee at that at all, because the Democrats, we’re the big umbrella, yes, we can criticize one another. What’s wrong with that? We should be able to do that, but the bottom line is we’re for freedom and democracy and opportunity, and we don’t want to see a tyrannical government either here or anywhere else. We want people to freely travel all over the world so they can find out for themselves what the facts are and if we don’t agree, we can have a good spirited debate. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

(....)

7:12 p.m. Eastern

JOHNSON: I don’t think that Donald Trump has some huge calculus. There is no chessboard here. He doesn’t like brown people.

MATTHEWS: But he does pick his enemies very strategically.

JOHNSON: He picks his enemies because they’re just women and they’re brown and he doesn’t like them. I don’t think that this is because —

MATTHEWS: You don’t think that’s strategy?

JOHNSON: I don’t think that’s strategy.

MATTHEWS: Oh I think it is.

JOHNSON: He’s not that strategic. 

WALSH: Yeah it is.

JOHNSON: He’s just — I disagree. I disagree. It could be spun as a strategy.

MATTHEWS: Joe, you’re going back and forth here. Joe, what do you think? You were in that party.

WALSH: Yeah and I love Jason. Chris, you’re right. This is all strategic. He is trying to rile up his base. He wants to make these two the picture of the opposition. 

MATTHEWS: Exactly.

WALSH: It’s terrible, but it’s political.

NB Daily MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Jason Johnson Joe Walsh Donald Trump Benjamin Netanyahu Barbara Boxer Rashida Tlaib Ilhan Omar
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