Matthews, Pals Question Trump’s Mental State, Suggest Supporters Sleep with MAGA Hats

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Thursday’s Hardball began with a now-tiresome and CNN-like consistency for painting an apocalyptic picture of America under President Donald Trump, trying to leave its audience cowering in fear. Throw in a dictator comparison, a helping of willing panelists, and questions about President’s mental health and you have yourself a par-for-the-course example of cable news gaslighting. 

 

 

Host Chris Matthews set the scene in the show’s first minute (click “expand”): 

A worried king....Rattled by the U.S. economy and his prospects for re-election, an unsettled President Trump is stumbling through a week of self-induced chaos. Since Sunday, the President has picked stupid fights with an array of perceived adversaries. He ignited outrage by saying Jewish Americans are disloyal if they vote Democratic. He accused his enemies of conspiring against him to crash the U.S. economy. He's ginned up a fight with Denmark, of all countries, canceling a state visit there because it rebuked his offer to buy Greenland. Is this the behavior of a level-headed leader? 

After he brought on his panel for the first of two cringeworthy segments, supposedly Republican strategist Susan del Percio (who worked for “Fredo” Cuomo’s brother) insisted that she’s “not a doctor so I'm not going to go into his mental health and where he may be, but this is a President who is acting as he always has.”

“He's scared. He gets defensive. He is not a leader. No one ever follows him....[H]e's nothing more than a frightened child who just has a lot of dangerous things he can do,” she added, effectively renouncing her claim that she’s not diagnosing Trump.

Speaking to Ron Reagan, Matthews summarized Reagan’s views on Trump as the President being a “Captain Queeg” character who’s “playing with ball bearings or whatever, wonder who took the frozen strawberries.”

Matthews then suggested that parties have spaces that are Trump-free, which is rather ironic considering the fact that the liberal media and, in particular, CNN and MSNBC are seemingly incapable of spending large stretches of any given day without mentioning him.

Just like del Percio did earlier, Matthews and Reagan played psychologist with the former contemplating whether Trump supporters sleep while wearing MAGA hats (click “expand”):

REAGAN: Sam makes a very good point. Yeah, people are going to get exhausted by him, and this is, you know, a sociopath like Trump, this is one of their secret weapons. They're crazy 24/7. They're working it all the time because it's who they are, But for everybody else who just wants to, you know, have a life and kind of you know, live a — go to dinner and enjoy themselves, it becomes just incredibly exhausting to keep up —

MATTHEWS: They're wearing the hats, the MAGA hat. 

REAGAN: — with this 24/7 crazy. Yeah.

MATTHEWS: They put the hat on when they get up in the morning. They take it off when they go to sleep or they still — maybe they sleep with the hat on, I don't know. 

REAGAN: Yeah, no. It's all the time. It’s all the time, but it is exhausting.

MATTHEWS: You think he's certifiable. You think he's certifiable? 

REAGAN: Yeah, well, I'm not here to diagnose him. I’m just — when I say crazy —

MATTHEWS: Yes, you are. 

REAGAN: — I’m using it — well, I mean, I'm using it in a colloquial sense.

Continuing to play psychologist, The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein quipped that the only types who would refer to themselves as a deity like Trump did by saying he’s “the chosen one” to take on China would be people “on the corner with sandwich boards over there, somebodies screaming about something.”

No word on whether any panelist remembered how Barack Obama didn’t need to crown himself as a God because the liberal media did it for him.

And, to top all this off, Matthews reacted to a clip of Trump having a crowd repeat after him was akin “to what happened in the '30s and '40s in Europe” in a nod to both Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini.

This was followed by del Percio and Matthews explicitly comparing Trump as Mussolini, so there’s that too. Gosh these people are tiresome.

Going back to the point raised at the top concerning the exhausting frequency of this doom-and-gloom thesis, NewsBusters went back through our archives to produce this sampling of similar Hardball segments within the last calendar year (click “expand”):

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 22, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 22, 2019
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: A worried king. Let's play hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. Rattled by the U.S. economy and his prospects for re-election, an unsettled president trump is stumbling through a week of self-induced chaos. Since Sunday, the President has picked stupid fights with an array of perceived adversaries. He ignited outrage by saying Jewish Americans are disloyal if they vote Democratic. He accused his enemies of conspiring against him to crash the U.S. economy. He's ginned up a fight with Denmark, of all countries, canceling a state visit there because it rebuked his offer to buy Greenland. Is this the behavior of a level-headed leader? As The New York Times reports: “Some former Trump administration officials in recent days said they were increasingly worried about the president's behavior, suggesting it stems from rising pressure on Mr. Trump as the economy seems more worrisome and next year's election approaches.” That may explain why the President went off into La La Land during a 35-minute Q&A with reporters yesterday. Among other things, the President called the prime minister of Denmark nasty. He contradicted himself on gun safety measures and he defended his accusation that Jewish Democrats are disloyal. Well, the President's changing stance on whether to soup up the economy only adds to the confusion this week. 

(....)

7:05 p.m. Eastern

SUSAN DEL PERCIO: The President, now I'm not a doctor so I'm not going to go into his mental health and where he may be, but this is a President who is acting as he always has. He's scared. He gets defensive. He is not a leader. No one ever follows him. He may give orders, and people may follow them, but they're not inspired by him. He's living in a land where only sycophants survive. That's all he has around him and that plus the economy plus the poll numbers coming out against him, he's nothing more than a frightened child who just has a lot of dangerous things he can do. 

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Ron, you have this Captain Queeg notion of this guy, right? That, he's playing with ball bearings or whatever, wonder who took the frozen strawberries. I mean, that’s you’re — you're laughing because that is your image of the guy. Your dad, I do know this, once said people get tired of politicians. You got to restrain — you got to be like a Hollywood actor and keep a little bit of this, a little bit — Trump is in our face starting at 6:30 in the morning every day. I go to a parties, we should have like, you know, I'm sorry, this is the zone you can't talk about Trump. 

SAM STEIN: It’s like the quiet car on the train.

MATTHEWS: The quiet car. Please don’t say the word — him — Let's talk about that. When are we going to get tired of him? 

RON REAGAN: Sam makes a very good point. Yeah, people are going to get exhausted by him, and this is, you know, a sociopath like Trump, this is one of their secret weapons. They're crazy 24/7. They're working it all the time because it's who they are, But for everybody else who just wants to, you know, have a life and kind of you know, live a — go to dinner and enjoy themselves, it becomes just incredibly exhausting to keep up —

MATTHEWS: They're wearing the hats, the MAGA hat. 

REAGAN: — with this 24/7 crazy. Yeah.

MATTHEWS: They put the hat on when they get up in the morning. They take it off when they go to sleep or they still — maybe they sleep with the hat on, I don't know. 

REAGAN: Yeah, no. It's all the time. It’s all the time, but it is exhausting.

MATTHEWS: You think he's certifiable. You think he's certifiable? 

REAGAN: Yeah, well, I'm not here to diagnose him. I’m just — when I say crazy —

MATTHEWS: Yes, you are. 

REAGAN: — I’m using it — well, I mean, I'm using it in a colloquial sense. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I think all of us can recognize crazy when we see it. I mean, I —

MATTHEWS: When you're in Italy because I know you go over there lot, when you're in a country, really interesting country, they read the paper, they know what's going on. What do they — what do you say in defending our country led by him? 

REAGAN: Oh, well, I don't defend our country led by him. I try and defend our country and reassure them we have a chance in, you know, less than two years to right a serious wrong. But really, you know, I think Donna was saying that he's always been this way. He has always been this way. We knew this was coming, or we should have before he was even nominated. He's always been this person, so what did we expect was going to happen when we put that person in the White House?

(....)

7:16 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: By likening himself to a god, Trump earned the ridicule of the New York Daily News. Look at that cover which mocked the President a biblical depiction on its cover today. “The Last Whopper.” Not talking about the burger either there. And here, look at this. Disciples, his apostles. Oh, there's Mike Pence looking very beatific, and there’s, of course, his daughter and his son-in-law and over to the right, you’ve got Ben Carson and, my God, Melania, and apparently Betsy Devos, the education secretary. They're all worshiping him. We're back with people who are not doing that, I hope, tonight. Donna Edwards, Sam Stein, Ron Reagan, and Susan del Percio. This is scary. 

STEIN: Yes. 

MATTEHWS: When he — when you make the deist the d — make yourself into a deity. 

STEIN: Yeah. The question is does he believe it? 

MATTHEWS: Well, the chosen one is either the reby — I mean, who is this guy? What is he making of it? It's frightening. I'm dead serious. Nobody calls himself the chosen one. Maybe some do in religion.

STEIN: No, no, I mean, some people, but they're usually on the corner with sandwich boards over there, somebodies screaming about something. What’s — what is an interesting thing here is we have a very problematic confluence of forces. One is an incredible narcissist in Donald Trump who was a narcissist prior to becoming President, and then the presidency, which is the most powerful position in the world. When you combine those two things, it might affect your self-perception. 

(....)

7:19 p.m. Eastern

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP [having the crowd repeat after him]: I do solemnly swear — that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there's hurricanes or whatever — that's good enough — will vote on or before — the 12th — for Donald J. Trump for president. 

MATTHEWS: Ron, I don't know what to say about that except the obvious comparison to what happened in the '30s and '40s in Europe, but let me just tell you this. When I went to catholic school, they used to have pictures of Jesus and I'm a Catholic, I wasn't just was a catholic. I am one, but they used to have pictures of Jesus holding like one finger in the air and it was like the way the Messiah, our messiah, spoke to us when he gave us the beliefs, our beliefs. Your Father and the rest of it. Trump does that, I have never known a politician in my life to put his finger up like that, like this. Like I am the one. I'm the chosen one. Listen to my words. 

REAGAN: The tiny little hand there. Yeah. 

MATTHEWS: You couldn't resist that, could you? 

REAGAN: Oh, you know!

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