In a two-minute video posted at PJ Media on Sunday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews stated that he wants Donald Trump to succeed, and that he “used to think” that presidential preference polls were honest, but “they were wrong.” This is pretty odd coming a guy who, as seen in several recent NewsBusters posts, has frequently compared the Trump family to the Romanovs, and who has seemed to encourage people at the IRS to leak Trump’s prior-year tax returns, saying that doing so would be “a good leak.”
The related interview took place at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 29, and was conducted by longtime video journalist Nicholas Ballasy.
Those who are tempted to declare Matthews’ statements some kind of sea change should be cautioned that he also said, of Trump, that he’s “hoping he’ll turn.” That could merely relate to a wish for an increase, or turnaround, in Trump’s alleged unpopularity, or it could just as likely be an expression of hope that Trump will “turn” on issues liberals consider near and dear.
Transcript (skipping small talk with and interruptions by others; bolds are mine):
NICHOLAS BALLASY: Now, President Trump is in our home state (both men apparently grew up in Pennsylvania. — Ed.). He’s not here at the —
CHRIS MATTHEWS: He’s in Harrisburg tonight.
BALLASY: Yeah, he’s in Harrisburg.
MATTHEWS: He’s smart. Well yeah. He looks at that map, and he knows how he got to the White House. He didn’t get it through New York, or DC, or LA. He got here through Erie and Scranton and places like that. He’s just going to stay true to those people.
Now he may break out and become a popular president. He’s not there. But he has to hold what he came with, like Obama did. It’s common sense.
He can’t look in the eyes of people like me and the big New York and Washington media and say, “Do you love me?” It’s not gonna work.
But some of us are hoping he’ll turn. I hope he does.
The other night I compared (Trump) to Sandy Koufax (Hall of Fame pitcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955-1966 — Ed.). The guy had six terrible years of wild pitching, and then six years of the greatest pitching in history.
So maybe he’ll get it straightened out. I’m rooting for him to straighten it out. Who doesn’t? Well, some people don’t want him to get it together.
BALLASY: What do you think about those who don’t want — we have a lot on the —
MATTHEWS: Well, that’s their point of view, not mine. We only have one president. I’m getting old. I want presidents to succeed. I’m not waiting forward to [Senator] Chris Murphy being president or who’s going to be.
BALLASY: I have one more for you. The approval rating. Trump’s approval rating. The media’s saying, you know, it’s the lowest —
MATTHEWS: Don’t go, don’t go for that. Don’t go, these are the numbers I have to keep telling (people) about.
If you took the last poll that was taken right before the election, he was in the mid-30s. People vote for him who don’t say so.
You go back in history. When Kennedy won, afterwards everybody said they voted for him. They didn’t. It was a real close election with Nixon. He barely beat Nixon, hardly beat Nixon. But afterwards everybody said they voted for him. Now everybody says they voted against Trump. You can’t go by polls.
Trump people don’t trust pollsters. Would you if you’re a Trump person?
BALLASY: I mean, the media went along with all those polls saying Hillary got it.
MATTHEWS: I went along because I used to think they were honest. I thought they were true. They were wrong.
They didn’t understand that people don’t trust pollsters and they weren’t going to give a straight answer.
Here’s one, the Susquehanna poll in Pennsylvania, ready? When they polled people with a live person on the phone, Hillary won by 8. When they polled with a tape recording, Trump won by 2. That’s my point. People were willing to say they’re for Trump if there was nobody really listening. It’s just a fact. It’s a fact.
Contradicting those who might believe that Matthews merely let his guard down for this social occasion, Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters noted that the MSNBC host made similar points on the next morning’s Meet the Press in pushing back against show host Chuck Todd’s obsession with Trump’s allegedly historic low job approval.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.