Facing outrage over comparing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Nevada Democratic caucus victory to France falling to the Nazis in World War II, Chris Matthews addressed the controversy at the top of his Monday night broadcast.
“As I watched one-sided results of the caucus in Nevada, I reached for a historical analogy and used a bad one,” the veteran MSNBC personality said. “I was wrong to refer to an event from the last days, or actually the first days, of World War II.”
“Senator Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an elected result in which you were a well-deserved winner,” Matthews continued. “This is going to be a hard-fought, heated campaign of ideas.”
The Hardball host concluded his apology by saying he would “strive to do a better job” of “elevating the political discussion” in the coming weeks and months before congratulating the Democratic presidential hopeful on his “tremendous win down in Nevada."
Matthews then welcomed on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who recently endorsed Sanders, to make the case for the Vermont senator’s candidacy.
MSNBC has come under fire for its increasingly negative and critical coverage of the Democratic socialist lawmaker as the primary has heated up. Even before Matthews made his unfortunate analogy, the longtime host had been blasted over his unhinged reactions to Sanders’ rise.
Prior to Monday’s mea culpa, Matthews received criticism from his own colleagues for his remarks, with MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas slamming Matthews on Sunday for likening Sanders’ win to a Nazi invasion, noting that Sanders had relatives “murdered in the Holocaust.”
Following Matthews’ on-air apology, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told the Washington Examiner that the campaign appreciates “some of the steps MSNBC has taken, and we hope to get fairer coverage going forward.”