In an exchange with former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) on Wednesday night's Hardball prior to the CNN debate, host Chris Matthews blasted the Republican Party writ large for not rebuking Donald Trump several years ago when he publicly questioned whether President Obama was constitutionally eligible for the office.
Watts has been critical of Donald Trump's rather juvenile demeanor on the campaign trail, and while Matthews agreed with Watts's criticism, he found it an opportunity to blast Republicans for not speaking up sooner, channeling one of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most infamous one-liners in the process (emphasis mine):
I think you're right across the board. The problem is your timing. If the Republican Party was going to stand up for decency in American politics, they could have done it about four or five years ago, when Donald Trump was out there for everybody to hear saying the president of the United States was an illegal immigrant who came from Borneo or some place like that. He said it over and over and over again, it was racist, disgusting, and everybody let it go by including Boehner, Speaker of the House, he never raised objection to it, so now you guys have got it coming home to roost.
Of course, if the hit on the GOP is they didn't want to alienate Trump because he was a potential cash cow for Republican fundraising, couldn't the same be said of Matthews's employer? After all, when Trump flirted with birtherism, he was the host of a popular reality show on the NBC network, and hence a cash cow for the guys who cut Chris's paycheck.