On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews compared the death of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassim Suleimani to the deaths of singer Elvis Presley and Princess Diana.
“When some people die, we – you don’t know what the impact is going to be,” Matthews said on his show “Hardball” with guests Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Democratic congressional candidate Valerie Plame.
“When Princess Diana died, for example, there was a huge emotional outpouring,” Matthews continued. “These kinds of – Elvis Presley in our culture. It turns out that this general he killed was a beloved hero of the Iranian people, to the point where – look at the people we got pictures of now, these enormous crowds coming out. There’s no American emotion in this case, but there’s a hell of a lot of emotion on the other side. Should our leaders know what they’re doing when they kill somebody?”
Chris Matthews: Soleimani killing on par with deaths of Elvis, Princess Diana pic.twitter.com/Z089Sx3pjl
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 9, 2020
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): No. In general, the briefers were very vague. They were evasive of the questions posed by the members of Congress. And there were at least two failures there, number one, providing a sufficient legal justification for taking the action that the president did, and then, secondly, demonstrating that there was an imminent risk to U.S. personnel, a justifiable reason for taking the action that they did in assassinating Soleimani.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, I used the example of a bank robber. If somebody is shot in the act of an armed robbery – bank robbery, that`s one thing. It’s awful, but it happens, and it’s appropriate sometimes. But if you go looking for somebody in his house or his apartment, and you go searching for a guy you think robbed some banks, and you kill him in his apartment, that’s a murder. So it sounds like it’s more like an assassination in this case.
CASTRO: Yes. They certainly – they certainly didn’t provide ample justifications for why they did things the way they did.
MATTHEWS: Valerie, let me ask you about this whole thing in terms of your background in intelligence. And I don’t think they’re giving us any intelligence here. According to Mike Lee, the conservative Republican from Utah who stormed out of that briefing in the SCIF today, he said, even in the SCIF, which is secure and nobody else can hear what`s going on in there, they wouldn’t even tell them why they did this, not really.
VALERIE PLAME, FORMER CIA COVERT OPERATIVE: Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. It sounds like there is absolutely no justification. This imminent – we have been lied into war before. Unfortunately, I had a front-row seat to that. And I know how that was approached. And I see this all over again, where the intelligence is so thin. And I want to point something out that I don`t think anyone’s really noticed, which is, on one hand, you have Trump denigrating the intelligence community if they do something that he does not deem in his favor. On the other hand, now we’re supposed to take everything they say as, trust us, the intelligence community told us that we have imminent information about an imminent threat. You can’t have it both ways.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about what we should have known. I will go back to the congressman on this. When some people die, we – you don’t know what the impact is going to be. When Princess Diana died, for example, there was a huge emotional outpouring. These kinds of – Elvis Presley in our culture. It turns out that this general he killed was a beloved hero of the Iranian people, to the point where – look at the people we got pictures of now, these enormous crowds coming out. There’s no American emotion in this case, but there’s a hell of a lot of emotion on the other side. Should our leaders know what they’re doing when they kill somebody, Congressman?
CASTRO: Yes, they very much could have anticipated that Iranians would react in this way, both the Iranian public, but also that the government would strike back. And this speaks to a much larger issue, Chris, which is, the president has had a very chaotic and erratic foreign policy, and especially with respect to Iran. You think about what he did, he replaced the Iran deal, the Iran agreement, which was containing their nuclear program, replaced that with what is now being called a maximum pressure campaign. Well, that foreign policy, if you can call it that, has failed, although this administration considers air force bases – or bases being bombed by the Iranians, it considers losing the respect and moral authority for the United States around the world as some kind of success for its maximum pressure campaign. But it’s clear at this point that the president`s strategy has failed.