Since President Obama first took office back in January 2008, the entire line-up over at MSNBC has been in awe of how outstanding of a President Barack Obama has been, attacking literally anyone who disagreed with him or his administration. One of the networks most renowned hosts, Chris Matthews, has often attacked Conservatives, Tea Party activists, Republicans, politicians, news hosts, and even common, everyday people who don’t agree with the direction in which the current President is taking out country.
With the President’s recent controversial decision to trade 5 senior Taliban detainees from Gitmo for suspected deserter Bowe Bergdahl, his administration has received flack from Conservatives and Democrats alike. The President is supposed to go to Congress 30 days before he executes a prisoner exchange, but chose to skip that step– shocker.
One of the most shocking people to not defend the Obama admins’ decision was none other than Chris Matthews. Real Clear Politics has the entire exchange here:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. “Let Me Start” tonight with the new, startling video of Sergeant Bergdahl being handed over by the Taliban. Since Saturday, we’ve watched a deteriorating picture of the deal that led to his release. In rolling out the news, the White House painted a happy picture of American victory, something of a celebration. Our soldier, basking in the glory of honorable and distinctive service, was coming home to what looked to be a justified price. “A national hero” one Republican member of Congress called him. In exchange, we were told five Taliban prisoners were being sent to what was described as a house arrest in Qatar. They would have no communication with their fellow warriors in the Afghan war front. They would be out of action, completely out of the fighting for at least a year.
Today, Wednesday, the deal is less joyous, of course. There are huge questions about the soldier we are getting home. Was he loyal to the country? Did he desert? Did we cut too loose a deal with the enemy to get him back? Did we let the Taliban regain some of its top military commanders to prepare for a final assault on Kabul? Did we create a firing squad, if you will, against our own troops who will be left behind to guard our embassy over there and provide other support a year from now, when these five Johnnys come marching home. And are they even now engaged in war planning as they assemble in the Taliban headquarters in Doha?
Chuck Todd is political director for NBC News and Chief White House correspondent. He’s the host of The Daily Rundown here on MSNBC. And Clarence Page is a columnist for “The Chicago Tribune.” First, let’s start with those dramatic videos released today of Bergdahl’s handoff by the Taliban to American special forces. Bergdahl is shown here sitting in the back of a pickup truck, talking to the Taliban escorts while waiting for Americans arrive. Eventually, American special forces do arrive by helicopter. Bergdahl and his Taliban escort move toward them. You can see the Americans briefly shaking hands with the Taliban people, and then taking Bergdahl back to the helicopter. The Americans frisk him, load him onto the helicopter, then they take off. It all takes about a minute on the ground there.
Anyway, Chuck, you’ve got a lot of things to do tonight, so I’m going to get your thoughts here now. Did the White House anticipate today, last Saturday? Did they know how the picture would deteriorate, the picture we have of Bergdahl as a loyal American, or not, the picture we have of these Taliban detainees as dangerous or not? How’s the picture changed, or has it?
CHUCK TODD: Well, look, they thought five days later, if there was going to be a robust debate, if this was going to be a political firestorm, they figured it would almost be solely focused on the decision to release these five members of the Taliban back into, you know, the house arrest in Qatar, or whatever you want to call it, that that would be the firestorm, that that would be the debate, that that would — there would be a back-and-forth. They did not anticipate the focus on Bergdahl himself.
They knew the back story, but there was an assumption that they had, given, you know, perhaps some of the bipartisan calls for trying to find Bergdahl that were coming from Capitol Hill, doing whatever it took, to a certain degree, to get Bergdahl back into U.S. hands — that there wouldn’t be this public outcry against him. They also, obviously, didn’t do their homework on this front. They thought there would be some members of the military, people that knew Bergdahl, that served with Bergdahl, that would stand up for him.
They have been surprised that, basically, nobody that’s served with him is standing up for him, and anybody that did serve with him that has chosen to speak out has been critical of either Bergdahl’s service or raised questions about how he disappeared from — how he might have ended up in Taliban hands. And in fact, the political infighting — I’ve had a few aides — and I said this earlier — refer to this, they didn’t expect the quote, unquote, “swift boating” of Bergdahl, trying to bring back memories of —
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute!
TODD: — the whole political fight —
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute!
TODD: — with John Kerry back in 2004 —
MATTHEWS: Swift-boating of John Kerry was a dishonest —
TODD: I think it’s rough language, but —
MATTHEWS: — PR campaign.
MATTHEWS: No, no! Swift-boating is totally misused here. Swift-boating is when you make up stories —
MATTHEWS: — and you misconstrue the evidence from — you don’t like the way that John Kerry opposed the Vietnam war after he got back and turned it into an attack on his service over there — totally dishonest. These are questions raised about a guy who left post, wrote letters, sent signals —
MATTHEWS: — that he was leaving post as a matter of principle, he didn’t believe in the war effort. And we don’t know what’s worse here, but the idea that there’s — where’s the dishonesty in the portrayal of Bergdahl so far? I haven’t seen it. What’s been misconstrued about him so far?
TODD: Well —
MATTHEWS: I know there’s questions raised. I have —
TODD: Hey, I — you’re —
MATTHEWS: — those questions. Most Americans do.
TODD: This is not — Chris, I understand. This is not my portrayal. I’m simply reporting to you how the White House is viewing this. Now, there is a part of the White House that thinks, Hey — and you’ve heard it from defense officials — give Bergdahl time to tell his side of the story.
TODD: And they believe, at a minimum, that it’s been unfair that Bergdahl hasn’t been able to give his side of the story, that we don’t know his version of events, of the circumstances that got him into the hands of the Taliban. And that’s why they are calling this a swift boat, that it’s a one-sided version of events.
To make the situation even more bizarre, Chris Matthews defended non other than the Tea Party (Yes, the Tea Party) while appearing as a guest on Ronan Farrow Daily Wednesday.
Maybe Matthews had a Freaky Friday experience with a more moderately minded news anchor like Don Lemon or Jake Tapper, but for now everyone’s just looking on in awe as someone on MSNBC actually makes sense. Until Matthews gets back to his usual self, we can look forward to the sure-to-come apology for his idiotic behavior in agreeing with Conservatives.