UPDATED, 4:14 PM: Hardball host Chris Matthews apologized for a remark he made during MSNBC’s Nevada caucus coverage Saturday in which he compared the inability of establishment Democrats to stop Bernie Sanders to France’s futile hopes against Germany’s invasion in 1940.
At the top of his show on Monday, Matthews said: “Senator Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era, in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electoral result in which you were the well-deserved winner. This is going to be a hard-fought, heated campaign of ideas. In the days and weeks and months ahead I will strive to do a better job myself of elevating the political discussion.”
Matthews congratulated Sanders on his lopsided victory in the state.
His comments on Saturday drew a backlash, as Sanders and his campaign team have complained about the tenor of the network’s coverage.
PREVIOUSLY: Hardball host Chris Matthews is facing tons of backlash after he made comments about Bernie Sanders’ big win at the Nevada caucuses on Saturday. At one point, he compared the victory to the Nazi invasion of France — and that did not sit too well everyone.
Matthews started to talk about what would happen if Sanders would become the Democratic nominee. He said that Republicans would release opposition research about Sanders that would “kill him” come November. He said that it’s too late to stop him.
He went on to say, “I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940 and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can that be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.'”
“So I had that suppressed feeling,” Matthews added.
There was a flood of backlash on Twitter as many thought his comparison of Sanders’ win to the Nazi invasion was in poor taste.
Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, said “Let’s try to detangle this. Bernie, a Jewish man whose family members were killed in the holocaust, wins the Nevada caucus, and Bernie and his unprecedented diverse coalition are the Nazis and Chris Matthews, the DNC and MSNBC are now occupied France?”
Parker Molloy of Media Matters said, “It is absolutely unacceptable that Matthews is making comparisons between Bernie Sanders, whose family was murdered by Nazis, to Nazis.@HardballChris needs to retire. Immediately.”
Mike Casca, the communications director for the Sanders’ campaign, also chimed in. He tweeted: “Never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the Third Reich. But here we are.”
This is not the first time Matthews got into hot water when talking about Sanders. Earlier this month, he connected Sanders’ embrace of democratic socialism to Cold War executions.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd also made some questionable comments about Sanders when he quoted an article from a conservative writer referred to Sanders’ supporters as the “digital brownshirt brigade.”