MSNBC’s Chris Matthews shocked his fellow pundits Friday night following the New Hampshire primary debate by suggesting Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders could erect a future dictatorship in which establishment political figures would be "executed".
In a rant that has to be seen to be believed Matthews said of a potential Sanders presidency:
“You know, I have my own views of the word socialist and I’ll be glad to tell them, share them with you in private,” Matthews said. “They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards Castro, and I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War, there would have been executions in Central Park and I might’ve been one of the ones executed and certain other people would be there cheering. So, I have a problem with people who took the other side.”
Did Chris Matthews just imply Bernie Sanders is going to start assassinating people?? WTF?? pic.twitter.com/yuSIr9zLyp— Bernie/Nina 2020 🌹 (@mikemoran2010) February 8, 2020
Matthews then immediately pivots from the historical reference to "executions in Central Park" if "the Reds had one" back to Sanders.
“I don’t know who Bernie supports over these years. I don’t know what he means by socialism. One week it’s Den-mahk, we’re going to be like Den-mahk,” the MSNBC host said, mimicking Sanders’ Brooklyn accent. “Ok, that’s harmless. That’s basically a capitalist country with a lot of good social programs. Den-mahk is harmless.”
The self-styled moderate Democrat who in the past has admitted he's "more conservative than people think I am" set off a firestorm of controversy among progressives who've pointed out both MSNBC and CNN's consistently negative coverage, which in this instance devolved into suggesting that Sen. Sanders could start political executions and assassinations if he gets in power.
Here's the video of the moment... It really is something pic.twitter.com/uKS3vxuyX1— Kombiz Lavasany (@kombiz) February 8, 2020
During the rant, Matthews leaves his fellow MSNBC panelists somewhat speechless and surprised at how far he took the Cold War analogy, though Chris Hayes meekly pushed back a bit:
“He’s clearly in the Denmark category,” Hayes gently pointed out.
“Is he?!” Matthews shot back.
“Yeah,” Hayes replied.
“How do you know? Did he tell you that?” Matthews pressed.
Matthews had clearly implied that Sanders himself "would be there cheering" on executions in Central Park if the Communists had won.
The live commentary Friday night immediately and predictably unleashed outrage among progressives and Bernie supporters online, confirming in their minds the mainstream's conspiring to prevent a Bernie Sanders primary nomination for president.
However, it will be interesting to see the degree to which Trump himself taps into these same arguments against Sanders' well-known socialist agenda should the Vermont senator actually become the Democratic Party nominee.