‘Hardball’ Host Matthews Handicaps 2020 Election

We got to chat with Chris Matthews, host of Hardball on MSNBC, for the cover story of the new Multichannel News. Hardball celebrated 20 years on MSNBC Nov. 8. I asked Matthews about his most memorable guest. He said Donald Trump, before he was president. He describes a version of Trump one might not expect, calling him “vulnerable.”

“He’s actually a person,” Matthews said. “When you're with him in the room with maybe one other person, he's not some big shot, yelling and pushing his way around the room. It’s different than you'd think.”

Matthews underwent prostate cancer surgery last month. We spoke before Michael Bloomberg hinted at entering the race for the Democratic nomination. Matthews saw Elizabeth Warren winning out, taking on President Trump, and winning the presidential election.

Trump is not the candidate he was in 2016, said Matthews. He came into the race “pretty clean” in 2016, despite the Access Hollywood matter alongside Billy Bush. “He looked better. He's getting old. He looks a little rough around the edges. He looks like he's gained weight, all the usual things that happen when you get older,” said Matthews.

Matthews said he’s had a hard time getting Joe Biden on the program, though Biden did turn up on Hardball back when he was VP. “You wouldn't believe how hard he is to get on the show,” said Matthews. “I guess they have a strategy. It's one thing for him not to do [the shows of] some of my friends, who are a little more skeptical of him than I am. I'm not skeptical, I just want to see him come alive.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the L.A. Times and New York magazine.