Matthews: South Africa's Last Apartheid Era Ruler More of a Patriot Than Mitch McConnell
With the recent high profile dismissal of hosts Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, you would think MSNBC executives would have warned their on air employees to tone down the inflammatory rhetoric.
Apparently not, for on Now with Alex Wagner Friday, Chris Matthews actually said that South Africa's last apartheid era leader F.W. de Klerk was more of a patriot than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I haven’t heard anything as smart as what I heard Reverend Sharpton say a couple minutes ago in five years. That is the most perceptive thing I’ve seen. It just rocks me. The difference between the way F.W. de Klerk handled the need for change and inevitable election, democratic election of Nelson Mandela, a legitimate election, truly legitimate for the first time - he was never legitimately elected - for him to recognize his role in history which was to be a patriot at that point is so different than the way Mitch McConnell handled the election of Obama. So different.
To set it up that way, the juxtaposition, they were willing, the McConnell people on to the far right were willing to destroy the country in order to destroy Obama, whereas to succeed in a country he loved, F.W. de Klerk was willing to see it transformed to black rule so that it could be done successfully so that he would have his country have a better future.
Reverend, I just, I owe it to you. I think that is the key statement about what happened yesterday, the loss of Mandela, and what his history was about, and the key statement of why this has been so poisonous the last five years. We have real people in this country with real power and status who have used that status of power to hurt the country so they could hurt the president. That’s the most damning assessment I’ve heard and I think the truest.
ALEX WAGNER, HOST: An important assessment.
To be sure, it's not at all surprising that the race baiting Al Sharpton would make a statement such as this. However, for Matthews to echo it is disgraceful.
First off, the Hardball host is suggesting that America prior to the inauguration of Barack Obama was an apartheid state and the junior senator from Illinois' election ended all that.
He's also suggesting that McConnell and Republicans were responsible for this apartheid, and rather than going along with putting an end to such state-sponsored racism and segregation, they tried to thwart such efforts to keep apartheid intact.
This isn't as bad as Martin Bashir saying someone should defecate and urinate in former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's mouth, but it's close.
America has two major political parties. Has for centuries. And for centuries, they have shared different views and opposed each other in virtually every way possible.
This isn't new, didn't start when Obama was elected, and has nothing to do with the color of his skin.
Sadly, Matthews and his colleagues at MSNBC refuse to accept this, and instead have for almost five years characterized all opposition to this president as racially motivated.
On Friday, Matthews took this a disgraceful step further with this de Klerk analogy.
Matthews was also woefully confused about South Africa's history, as although de Klerk was initially a supporter of apartheid, he changed his view on this later in life, and after becoming president in 1989 immediately called for a non-racist South Africa.
He's the one that lifted the ban on the African National Congress, released Mandela, and brought apartheid to an end. This is why he and Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Contrary to the way Matthews depicted it, this all happened BEFORE Mandela was elected president in 1994.
As such, Matthews assessment wasn't just offensive, it was historically inaccurate.
But why should that bother anyone at MSNBC?