Chris Matthews does not understand why Donald Trump said such nasty things about North Korea. The MSNBC host on Tuesday was clearly rattled by the President’s State of the Union criticism of the outlaw country. Matthews chided: “Why did he stoke the fires tonight? Why did he bring out the really tough case of their family losing their kid who was hiking through the mountains there? What was the whole point of that?”
What was the point of mentioning a dead American? Maybe to discourage rogue nations in the future? Matthews fumed, “Are we getting ready for war? What are we getting ready for?” Maddow raged: “He wants a war with North Korea if you take him by what he says.”
Unsurprisingly, the MSNBC grade was low for Trump. Analyst Eugene Robinson derided the speech as “demagogic” on immigration: “I thought he was demagogic on immigration. I mean, that's when the speech got sort of dark.”
Matthews didn’t like the mention of illegal gangs: “It almost got ugly. Very tough about saying immigrants are basically killers. MS-13.... Ithought that got very ugly about that point.”
Rachel Maddow labeled it “a lumbering pace.”
Click expand to read a partial transcript of MSNBC’s response:
MSNBC State of the Union
RACHEL MADDOW: It was interesting that this in terms of word count was not one of the longest speeches in memory, but in terms of the length of it, it did compete because he delivered it very much at a lumbering pace, at a very, very slow pace.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I thought it was a speech not aimed at the Sean Hannity crowd, the Fox News crowd at all. I thought this was aimed at his sweet spot, somewhere between 39 percent and 50 percent. I think it was aimed at the Dancing With the Stars audience out there, the people that don't pay much attention to politics generally. I thought it was very police chief confected. It had a good about the flag about the bonus money people are getting from the tax cut to getting rid of the territorial mass of ISIS. It had a lot of particular things that weren't rough. And then it took a turn halfway through it. It almost got ugly. Very tough about saying immigrants are basically killers. MS-13. Beginning a discussion about immigration in a country of immigrants with crime. And that was his way of opening up the discussion like I'm protecting us from criminal elements. I thought that got very ugly about that point.
EUGENE ROBINSON: I thought he was demagogic on immigration. I mean, that's when the speech got sort of dark. But I was struck by the fact that he stuck with the immigration policy, the four pillars that he announced a week ago.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rachel, one thing I wondered about because Americans don't like North Korea. We are always seeing pictures of those people goose-stepping past their capital with all their artillery. We don't like them. We have never liked them. Why did he stoke the fires tonight? Why did he bring out the really tough case of their family losing their kid who was hiking through the mountains there? What was the whole point of that? Are we getting ready for war? What are we getting ready for?
RACHEL MADDOW: It's no departure from how he has been for the last eighth months towards North Korea. He has been threatening, almost promising —
MATTHEWS: Why heat it up?
MADDOW: Because he wants a war with North Korea if you take him by what he says.
MATTHEWS: He says he doesn't want to use nuclear weapons. So I’m not sure what the plan is.