“Hardball” host Chris Matthews bandaged his bleeding heart on the MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Friday, delivering a blistering critique of the Obama administration’s diplomatic overtures to Cuba.
“I just am not a Castro fan,” Matthews told host Joe Scarborough when asked about the administration’s “historic” opening to Cuba with the easing of travel restrictions.
“He bought the wrong ticket,” Matthews said of Castro. “He bet on Communism. He bet on the Soviet Union. If that side had won, he’d be marching down 5th Avenue overseeing the executions in Central Park. He made the wrong decision -- morally, historically, whatever. He’s on the wrong side of history. He ought to pay for it.”
One reason Matthews cited for his strong feelings: Cuba’s possible involvement in Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“They had something to do perhaps in knocking our guy off,” Matthews said, referring to Kennedy. “So I don’t really want to help Castro. I hope he dies a Communist, ends up that way. I don’t want to lift a finger to help that guy, or his brother.
“So I am not on the side of the people who say, ‘Let’s all be friends together.’ Eventually this guy will play out his hand, he’ll be dead, and Raul Castro hopefully will be dead, too. I don’t want to engage in any way that salutes the Cuban Revolution at all. They’re on the other side of history.”
Matthews called the Cold War “a good war,” adding “I think we were on the right side.”
“I think the captive nations were truly captive, and the people who captured them were the bad guys,” he told Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski. “When Castro took office down there how many people got the firing squad right after he got in? What, 600 people? Look, he’s the bad guy.”
“Look,” Brzezinski broke in, perhaps nervous that Matthews might be straying from Obama administration talking points. “I don’t deny that and I don’t think any of us do . . .”
“Some do!” Matthews interjected.
“Well, I guess my question would be: Do we wait for them to die in order to move on, or is it promising, some of the dialog that we’re seeing now?” Brzezinski said.
“I’d rather get the victory lap in,” Matthews said, suggesting engagement is a bad idea. “I think Castro was a bad guy, okay? He doesn’t like America. He may like baseball, he doesn’t like us.
“And just remember, think it through,” Matthews said. “I always like to take the opportunity to [consider] the trail we didn’t go. If we’d lost the Cold War, who would have been there, triumphantly over us? You think [Castro] would have given you a break, Joe? Just guessing Joe, but you might have been on the list.”
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