Chris Matthews has completely lost whatever little bit of sanity he had left. During a segment on Wednesday, the MSNBC host called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) a “terrorist” because of his opposition to ObamaCare and increasing the debt limit.
“Ted Cruz is going after fellow Republicans for not supporting a government shutdown over ObamaCare. Let’s just say he’s a political terrorist on this one,” said Matthews at the beginning of a Hardball segment on the divisions inside the GOP, later lumping Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in the same category.
He wasn’t done there. During a discussion with former Obama strategist David Alexrod and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, Matthews continued to single out Cruz, again calling him a “terrorist,” which clearly made his guests uncomfortable.
“[Cruz] just acts that way with that somber, indictive aspect, like this guy is the evil one. But I will say he’s a terrorist, because what the guy has done, basically, he says my goals are — is demolition,” said Matthews during a rant about the push to defund ObamaCare. “Blow up health care, blow up the continuing resolution. Bring the government to a standstill. And then make us forfeit on the national debt.”
Schmidt, a Republican who has frequently criticized principled conservatives in Congress, was clearly no fan of Cruz. But he took issue with Matthews’ very casual use of the label.
“When we use the word terrorist, we apply that to the Boston bombers. We apply that to the September 11 hijackers,” Schmidt told Matthews. “I’m just — I’m not comfortable with the word.”
Despite the push back over his unhinged remarks, Matthews doubled down on his use of the term.
“The purpose of a terrorist — and they use different means obviously than blowing bombs — is to cause chaos and to bring down a government because of the chaotic situation where nobody has any trust in institutions,” he said. “You tell me how that`s not what he’s trying to do here, bring the government to default, so it’s not paying its bill, stop the government from functioning, and bring down bills that have created institutions like ObamaCare that have already been decided upon, blow them up after they were brought into law, blow up the government`s ability to pay bills it has already run up.”
“If that’s not causing chaos, what is it, and lack of trust, which is what terrorists do?” he rhetorically asked his guests.
Axelrod also took issue with Matthews’ remarks. “I want to tell you that I also am uncomfortable with the word, only out of respect for the victims of violent terrorists,” said the former Obama campaign strategist.
There was no question that Matthews was a political hack before this segment. In 2008, Matthews said that Obama gave him a “thrill” up his leg, which he claimed was objective commentary. He also expressed happiness about Hurricane Sandy, the storm that ravaged the Northeast, believing that it got the President re-elected. He later apologized for the remarks.
But no matter how you feel about any political or ideological opponent, using the term “terrorist” to describe them is horribly inappropriate and far outside the bounds of reasonable political discourse.