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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 21, 2017 8:30pm-9:01pm PST

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10:00 eastern on trump's first month in office. but that is our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you as always for being here with us. hardball begins right now. friends without benefits. let's play "hardball". good evening. i'm chris matthews. in the beginning donald trump was known for attacking president obama americanism. he accused him of sneaking into the country. it got trump noticed by the far right. then he went after mexicans calling them rapist. trump appeal has triggered new level on the right. according the law center it's
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giving strength and confidence including -- has brought the issue of hate and extremism to the head front. vandals who gained access to the cemetery local police says 200 headstones were damaged over the weekend. on monday centers across the country received bomb threats that have. reacting last night ivanka trump, speak out on twitterer. america is a nation built on principles of tolerance. it comes in hate-related incidents categorying the jewish community. on monday, 11 received bomb threats, they followed a number of similar threats taken place since january. reacting last night, ivanka trump who converted to orthodox judaism spoke out on twitter. we must protect other centers of worship. in an interview with craig
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melvin, president trump condemned the vandalism as well as the larger problem of anti-semitism in this country. >> i think it's terrible. i think it's horrible. whether it's anti-semitism or racism or anything you want to think about having to do with the divide, anti-semitism is like wise, terrible. and you don't know where it's coming from but i hope they camp the people. i think you may have had it for longer than people think and maybe it gets brought up more, but ill will tell you anti-semitism is horrible. >> you're denouncing it once and for all. >> of course. >>andasm is -- theaw center produce a report this month noting the correlation between election and uptick of hate. the correlation between trump's election and the uptick in acts of hate. in the immediate aftermath of the election day, a wave of hate
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crimes in lesser hate incidents swept the country. 1,094 biassed incidents in the first 34 days. it is tied to trump's victory. highest count came on the first day after the election with the numbers diminishing steadily after that. more than a third of the incidents directly referenced either trump, my make america great again slogan or remarks about grabbing women. i'm joined more by the southern poverty. what is it correlation? is it cause yalty. what can you find here in the data? >> i think you've been over a couple of the key points. one, it was related to the election because it was a huge outburst of these incidents starting immediately after the election, and two in analyzing all of the incidents, we found 37% of the perpetrators as you said, either named president trump by saying something like, you know, yelling to a woman wearing a hijab.
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you go back to your country, now donald trump is president. that kind of thing. or the make america great slogan or the grabbing women comment. it wasn't particularly only anti-semitic acts and attacks that we saw, basically every minority in america was attacked during that period. it was something to see. >> shortly after the election, donald trump was asked on 60 minutes to respond to acts of hate that were committed by his supporters. here's his exchange with les si staul. >> i don't hear it. >> you're not seeing it? >> one or two instances. i think it's a very small amount. again -- >> do you want to say anything to those people? >> i would say, don't do it, that's terrible. i'm going to bring this country together. they're harassed latinos, muslims. >> i am so saddened to hear that. and i say stop it. if it helps. i will say this, and i'll say 12 it right to the camera, stop it.
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>> you're an expert of the hate groups actions as well as attitudes. trump to me, east not anti-semitic for a lot of reasons, he lovings his daughter and son-in-law and politically he's got a lot of pull with the guy. he's been to the right about the jewish people. certainly to the right in terms of supporting the settlements and this one state thing he's pulling right now. how do you figure him out? >> first of all the comments to leslie as well as the comments today you know, the reality is that donald trump from the very first day was his campaign when he denounced mexican immigrants has been playing a game of foot si with the extreme right.
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he claimed he didn't know who he was and that was simply false. in any number of other ways, he avoided, until the very last moment, until he was backed into a corner with reporters or other people, making these kinds of statements. now do i believe donald trump is anti-semitic? it hardly matters where weather he is personally anti-semitic oar racist. the fact is when he makes these comments, when he describes muslims as people not deserving to be in this country when he taxes immigrants in general, latinos in particular and on and on and on, he gives per notion people out there to act in in this way. soyou kn, no certainly done anti-semitic things during the course of his campaign. his refusal to mention jews and his comments about holocaust remembrance day. it's hard to forget him tweeting
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a star of david with the picture of hillary clinton and piles of money. and later claiming this was a sheriff' star, not a jewish start. >> i forgot that baby. that was a problem, definitely. >> they're all series of these things. and i think he's not trying to attack jews. he's trying to avoid offending the anti-semites who support them. >> that's a good way of putting it. thank you so much. the critics said he missed several opportunities to speak out as mark said about those. here's the rise and threats to jewish centers. in his press conference last week. >> there's been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. there are people committing acts or threatening to -- >> he said he was going to ask a
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simple, easy question, and it's not. not a fair question. okay sit down. i understand the rest of your question. >> number one, i am the least antisemitic person you've seen in your entire life. >> a series to mention here. i'm joined by richard bloomen that will. what do you make of this pattern? it's correlation, the cause yalty. it's hard to prove that unless people put some kind of graffiti or something that says trump's name on it. apparently some people do that very thing. they identify themselves with the slogan of this president or some of the other caseworkistics of his campaign. >> his silence has spoken volumes until today yesterday's statement was weak. his response you played to that report at the press conference.
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failure to mention jews. all have sent signals and given license to many of the white supremacists who have supported some of the people around him like steve bannon. what's needed now is a clear unequivocal condemnation. not just once, but repeated. and also action which speaks louder than words. directing his attorney general to of a-end, prosecute, and convict the people behind these december rations and threats. that. kind of action will deter it in the future. >> yochbt usually get inspired by that and i was inspired in the last campaign going back when john mccain who was fighting a tough campaign against barack obama when barack obama was an arab in a very nasty way, she said nothing wrong with being an arab, but she made it sound bad. he's a good american. do you think trump should do something like that once in a
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while? stand up for the right? the good. and john mccain took courage. very gutsy. that's the kind of leadership that would quell and put to rest a lot of the doubts about president trump's motives or views on this issue. and moreover, increasing the strength and the present line proposing legislation that will provide tougher penalties, but also a more resources for a private ability to sue the perpetrators. this kind of action again speaks louder than words. >> and i have to say i think it takes a really sick mind, hater mind to go after a cemetery. it's just there's nothing there other than the hell you want to raise and to their memories. to their family's memories. >> and it's more than just against jews, it is also against
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muslims, it's against the weak and disabled. and the actions of new president trump during his campaign. i think gave license to that kind of malicious instinct. really despicable kind of instinct on the part of people other than president trump. >> it's hard to argue with that. please come back again. joining me right now, heidi, usa today who's reporting for the front page tomorrow as well as republican strategist. this is a tough one, there's always a little bit of prejudice floating around in this country. we're a country of different religions and we try to get along. when somebody knocks over gravestones, you go wait a minute, something's going bad here. >> right, and that's putting a glass for the whole country on this phenomenon of what was once kind of a right wing fringe all right movement moving more into the mainstream. possibly gaining traction. and i don't think that people
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are calling donald trump anti-semitic, but asking him as a leader as a president of the united states, but they're asking him, what is your response to this? what is the imperative of your response to this as president of the united states? the numbers don't lie. there has been a spike. and i didn't believe the fbi. they have numbers too. >> even back in the '60s, i have political vikt ris, barry goldwater had people riding around in the country with rebel license plates to make the point. the wrong way. >> yeah listen -- >> so you get company, sometimes in politics. >> not only condemn, but go after them and prosecute them, but he's not an anti-semite. you have to be careful -- >> i spent the day arguing with my producers, let's not saying that because you never know a
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person's heart. he played the racial card, the antimexican central card with the rapist thing. and the muslim ban was a religion. he's been playing the cards on the right. a lotf peopl point out the history of that. but here's the critical thing, okay. it's not just this fringe group, this fringe movement going mainstream, it's a pattern of delayed responses. it's not just not responding in the thursday news conference until today, but there's been several incidents of that. richard spencer did the kind of hail trump thing at the ballroom, and they had people doing the nazi salute, it wasn't until the "new york times" pushed him to denounce that. it's the pattern of lay itted response. >> nobody accused him of being anti-mexican. he's played that card. >> some cards that helped get him to the white house. what he's got to do is act like it, and i think he's got to get some stuff done for the american people.
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he has no percentage in attacking the jewish community. not announce -- >> inadvertently. >> what's the downside of doing a major address? as a reporter i remember saying this was so ugly and there was so much hate spewed on both sides, he's got to give some kind of an address to really. >> reporter: he's got to list the word down, by the way. he has a number of ethnic groups to convince that he wasn't against them, right? >> well, i'll say it. sean spicer said that no matter bhat president does, his critics will say, it's not enough, let's watch. >> he has been very force wfl his denounceuation of people who seek attack people because of their hate and the religion, their gender, because of the color of their skin. but i think it's ironic, no matter how many times he talks about this, test never good
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enough. >> what do you think about him being the victim? he's suppress secretary to the president of the united states whose been set upon. >> i think trump made mistakes. a lot are wrong and aren't political though. i think unfortunately for sean, what else are you going to say? many ways, it's in the enough they're still going to make accusations against him because sometimes that's what democrats do. >> coming up, the russians are coming. and guess what, they're contradicting president trump. the "new york times" quotes russian officials saying trump's team did have contact with them during the campaign. who are we going to believe? the president or moscow? and this is hardball where the action is. just like the people who own them, every business is different. but every one of those businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be help starting your business, vendor contracts
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during the 2016 campaign. and now matthew rosenburg of the "new york times" writes the denial stands at odds with statements by russian officials who have at least twice acknowledged contacts with aids to mr. trump before the election. before november. rosenburg's referring to the russian deputy foreign minister who told them two days after november's election, quote, there were contacts between the russian government and members of trump's immediate entourage during the campaign. he also said that the russians continue to have contact with trump's people after the election as well. well trump's spokeswoman denied any contact between campaign staff and the russian officials prior to the election. and the russian ambassador to the u.s. told the washington post, quote, he had communicated with michael flynn by text message, by phone, and in person but declined to say whether they discussed sanctions all before the november 8th election. so who are we to believe? the president of the united states, or the russians? jeremy peters, msnbc contributor. >> what i like about this story,
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"new york times" have been out big on this story. long series of conversations, trump people, business associates, whether it's manafort, whoever it is. and the russians. trump offers this blanket denial, if you just listen to generally, but it's covered with as far as i can remember, according to my recollection, according to this. as far as i know. so what's up? what can we deduce from the reporting of your newspaper and trump's denials. >> clearly there were conversations at some level between his campaign and between the russian government. and what's odd about his, you know, his denials is that if indeed they didn't really communicate, i feel like we would know that by now. it's something, you know, it's one of these things with trump where you're in this very strange position of having to question, okay, do we believe the russian more than we believe our own president? and it's emblematic of how odd this white house really is and how difficult it can be. >> let's talk about the big, the worst case, there was hand
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holding on both sides with trump and the russians, that would be nice to trump by leaking everything for the democratic national convention, humiliating hillary, helping to lose to the extent they could and all the time, they're in cahoots with the trump people. that'd be the worst case. i don't know if it's impeachable, but it's close if it is. and the other possibilities at the other end, these conversations had nothing to do with the campaign, offhanded, whatever, i don't know what, old friends, i don't know what it could be, the russians are saying there were contacts. >> that would be fine. and that would be perfectly legitimate explanation if trump himself had not gotten up and said, hey, russians, please hack hillary's e-mails. so i think he loses a little bit of credibility there. >> thank you, jeremy peters. when we return, let me finish with trump watch. this is hardball where the action is.
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trump watch. tuesday, february 21st, 2017, the danger of heading too far right even in this good country
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is you meet some strange people. these are oddities on the bad side. they are not the country's worry right now. the beehive that's buzzing today is on the hard right. it includes the sort of people donald trump aroused from under their rocks during the last campaign. i refer to those captivated early by his condemnation of barack obama's a guy whoo snuck into this country from east africa, build up a phony resume in and where trump said no one knew him and traveled underground to such places as harvard law school and the white house all the while pretending to be this guy born to a kansas mother, grandson of a world war ii combat vet. he began beating the drum about rapists sneaking in from mexico and pushing for a ban on muslims sneaking in here to terrorize. trump has no one to blame beyond himself for the image he's
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projected of something comfortable with people who championed a view toward minorities. he said a while back that he didn't know who david duke was. trump's problem is they know precisely who donald trump is and like what they see and hear from him. some see him as the tribune from the un-american world view. and that is something he should fix. a sustained attack on anti-semitism would be a wonderful start. and that's hardball for now. thanks for being with us. join me again tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern, see you then.
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on january 28th the inauguration, there was a fire at a mosque in victoria, texas, we covered it on the show at the time. victoria, texas, not a huge place, a population of about 60,000 people and there are enough muslims who live in victoria, texas, to support one islamic center in that community. one mosque. on january 28, this year, somebody burned it down destroyed it completely. one of the things that was very moving in the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, that crime, was when the other religious congregations in victorias

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