Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews continued his attacks on the Obama administration for the trade of five dangerous Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, slamming the White House’s claim that soldiers who served with Bergdahl are “swift-boating” him and asking “where is the dishonesty in the portrayal?” of Bergdahl as a deserter.
Matthews, who strongly questioned the trade even while facts continued to pour in on Monday, has been the only host on his network so far to even remotely challenge the Obama administration’s narrative on the prisoner trade and Bergdahl’s history of service.
And on Wednesday, he angrily rejected the characterization by Obama aides that the right-wing and Bergdahl’s former comrades were “swift-boating” the Army Sgt. — a reference to attacks made by then-presidential candidate John Kerry’s fellow servicemen on his record during his deployment in the Vietnam War.
“I’ve had a few [White House] aides . . . refer to this, they didn’t expect the ‘swift-boating’ of Bergdahl, trying to bring back memories of the whole political fight with John Kerry back in 2004,” NBC reporter Chuck Todd told Matthews.
“Wait a minute,” Matthews responded. “Wait a minute. Swift-boating is totally misused here. Swift-boating is when you make up stories and misconstrue the evidence — you don’t like the way John Kerry opposed the Vietnam War when he came back and turned it into an attack on his service over there. Totally dishonest.”
“These are questions raised about a guy who left post, wrote letters, sent signals that he was leaving post as a matter of principle, he didn’t believe in the war effort,” he continued angrily. “And we don’t know what’s worse here, but the idea — where’s the dishonesty in the portrayal of Bergdahl so far? I haven’t seen it.”
“What’s been misconstrued about him so far?” Matthews asked. “I know there have been questions raised. I have those questions. Most Americans do.”
“Chris, I understand,” a nervous Todd responded. “This is not my portrayal. I’m simply reporting to you how the White House is viewing this.”