'I was wrong': Chris Matthews apologizes to Bernie Sanders for Nazi comparison

On Hardball With Chris Matthews Monday night, Matthews addressed comments he’d made on Saturday while covering the Democratic caucus in Nevada. Discussing Sen. Bernie Sanders’s resounding victory, Matthews likened Sanders’s success to the Nazi takeover of France.

“I’m reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940,” Matthews said, “and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’”

Matthews received immediate backlash. The analogy was especially poor given Sanders’s family history with the Holocaust. During his 2016 campaign for president, Sanders said that his father’s family was “wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust.” Matthews acknowledged his mistake and apologized to Sanders.

“Before getting into tonight’s news, I want to say something quite important and personal,” Matthews said. “As I watched the one-sided results of Saturday’s Democratic caucus in Nevada, I reached for an historical analogy and used a bad one. I was wrong to refer to an event from the last days, or actually the first days, of World War II. Sen. Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electoral result in which you were a well-deserved winner.”

Matthews has had a lot of negative things to say about Sanders in the weeks since he’s emerged as a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, but that may now be coming to an end.

“This is going to be a hard-fought, heated campaign of ideas. In the days and weeks and months ahead, I will strive to do a better job myself of elevating the political discussion,” Matthews said. “Congratulations, by the way, to you, Sen. Sanders, and to your supporters on a tremendous win down in Nevada.”

Hardball With Chris Matthews airs weeknights at 7 p.m. on MSNBC.

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