Moments after playing a fresh soundbite from a political rally in which Donald Trump blasted President Obama over Iran, Chris Matthews characterized the Islamic Republic's capture of 10 U.S. Navy sailors – one of whom is female – as a "party favor" or "door prize" for the Republican presidential candidate.
Here's a video clip and the relevant transcript:
January 12, 2016; 7:37 p.m. Eastern
DONALD TRUMP: You heard what happened. Iran took over two of our boats. They said they're going to release them. Oh, isn't that nice? They're going to release them.
This isn't the same country. When I heard that just happened, just happened! It literally just happened, and I think it's not so good. It's just – it's just an indication of where the hell we're going.
I mean, hopefully they get released and fast. But it seems to be an indication of where we're going. That Iran deal is dumbest deal I think I’ve ever seen.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. Well, earlier today, Iranian military forces did seize a pair of U.S. Navy military vessels in the Persian Gulf, and senior U.S. officials tell NBC News that Iran is detaining the American sailors, ten of them, including one woman, on Iran’s Farsi Island. And there it is [onscreen] pictured there in the Persian Gulf.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told MSNBC that U.S. authorities have been assured the Americans are safe. Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken by phone with his counterpart, Iran's foreign minister, to try to resolve the incident.
Well, this latest development came as President Obama was putting the final touches on his State of the Union. And joining me right now is Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson. Gene, here we go with a little bit of a party favor or a door prize for Donald Trump tonight.
EUGENE ROBINSON: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this just plays into Trump’s wheelhouse. He's been inveighing against the Iran deal in every speech for months now. And, once again, another provocative act by the Iranians –
MATTHEWS: Serves his.
ROBINSON: – certainly serves him.
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