Chris Matthews was a surprise guest commentator Thursday on “Morning Joe,” and despite analysis of Donald Trump that some viewers appreciated, many more took to social media to decry the move from MSNBC as a faulty rehabilitation effort.
“Get that serial harasser and his s— eating grin off my TV,” one viewer wrote.
The morning news program previewed early Thursday that the embattled former “Hardball With Chris Matthews” host would be a guest. Dialing into the program, Matthews is shown in the clip below discussing the growing legal case against former President Donald Trump.
“I think the president’s ice cream cone is melting,” he said, emphasizing that much of Trump’s appeal is the size of his bank account, his properties, his crowds. The attorney general’s fraud lawsuit counters all of that appeal. “These big, bragging numbers are a big part of Trump’s personality. The bragging and the bullying, they both work together. Regular people were impressed with all the money he’s got with his supermodel wife and everything going for him. But now he’s got his daughter indicted with him? This is changing the look of what it’s like in that household.”
MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment by TheWrap about Matthews’ appearance.
Many viewers weren’t having Matthews opinion, though, and were quick to note his own alleged bullying and harassment that led to his departure from MSNBC in 2020.
“I loathe Chris Matthews. An arrogant, rude, sexist, mansplaining, women denigrating, ignorant, loud-mouthed, interrupting, know nothing, P-O-S.,” responded one Twitter user. “I applauded watching him get up + leave his desk. Best resignation ever. Let sleeping DOGS lie.”
Others were more measured: “Why are you giving Chris Matthews a platform? There are plenty of qualified political analysts who don’t admittedly harass people. Maybe he deserves forgiveness after true atonement, but he doesn’t have to be on TV.”
On March 2, 2020, Matthews stepped down on air as host of “Hardball” following a series of harassment accusations from Huffington Post reporter Laura Bassett claiming that he “inappropriately flirted” with her while she guested on his program through 2016.
In an essay published in GQ on Feb. 28, 2020, Bassett said she was invited to appear on Matthews’ show in 2016 to discuss sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump. She said she was sitting in a makeup chair when Matthews approached her and said, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” She went on to write that he repeated similar comments on subsequent “Hardball” appearances that made her uncomfortable.
Speaking with Vanity Fair about his abrupt retirement later that spring, as previously reported by TheWrap, he said, “I accepted the credibility of the complaint in the article. I didn’t want to challenge the person that made the complaint and wrote the article. I thought it was very credible and certainly within the person’s rights to write that article, of course. That was highly justified. Basically, as I said, to repeat myself, it’s inappropriate in the workplace to compliment somebody on their appearance, this is in the makeup chair, and I did it.”
In the 2.5 years since, some have called on MSNBC to reboot “Hardball” and bring Matthews back into the fold, calling the accusations and reasoning for his leaving “flimsy and laughable.” Others have expressed missing him in his absence. But more, still, reacted negatively to his appearance on “Morning Joe” Thursday, some saying that while he’s a fine journalist, his bullish tactics as a reporter and interviewer are from a bygone era.
Catch up on some of the most impassioned social media reactions below.