In just a few minutes on Thursday's edition of 'Hardball' on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews compared President Trump and his family to Saddam Hussein and his sons, the Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini, and the deposed Russian royal family, the Romanovs.
Matthews wondered about the Trumps: "Is it a royal family instead of a Democratic or a Republican form of government? Or is it a family running the government? Is it Ivanka and Jared and the President sitting around in the White House upstairs ruling the world?"
“So the son-in-law — you know, one good thing Mussolini did was execute his son-in-law. I mean, I’m talking about Ciano,” he happily remembered.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Coming up, a meltdown in the Trump camp. Catch this. This is wilder. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explodes at a White House meaning for undermining him. They say the people around the President — the personnel people are screwing him. It’s a far cry from that love feast we watched a few weeks ago, which is right out of Mengistu’s government in Ethiopia with all the people bowing to the president. Apparently all is not well in paradise.
Well, according to The American Conservative magazine, Secretary Tillerson believes he's been contradicted and undermined by the White House. A close associate of Secretary Tillerson explained: “Rex is just exhausted. He can't get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 36-year-old amateur.” Now, Ashley, I’m allowed to have opinions and one of my opinions was that nepotism is a bad thing in government. It just is. You put Uday and Qusay in your government and you’re going to have a problem with everybody else in the government because nobody can fight with them. Nobody can challenge them and, in the end, the son-in-law is always right because he can always to go his father-in-law or his wife and say they were mean to me. Do something about it. It is a disastrous decision from day one and now we find Kushner in the Middle East, brokering the Middle East peace process, whatever it is, among the Arabs and Israelis and Likud and everybody else and meanwhile, Tillerson is sitting around doing what? He can’t even appoint his own deputies. The power seems to have gone to the son-in-law. This is the Romanovs. Just a thought. The Romanovs. Is it?
MATTHEWS: Is it a royal family instead of a Democratic or a Republican form of government? Or is it a family running the government? Is it Ivanka and Jared and the President sitting around in the White House upstairs ruling the world?
ASHLEY PARKER: I don't think it’s quite that but I think it is run like a family business. The president and his aides see it publicly and privately and the President’s family, his children, especially his daughter Ivanka and, you know, Jared Kushner, they operate with a degree of impunity that does not exist for these other aides. So, if you look at just Jared and Tillerson, Jared basically emerged as a shadow Secretary of State. You mentioned peace in the Middle East. His portfolio includes not only that, it includes China, it includes Mexico, it includes Canada and that's just on the foreign policy front. So, if you're the secretary of state, ambassadors and leaders of foreign nations know that they can directly go to the President’s son-in-law and have his ear that deeply undermines you and makes it really difficult for you to do your job.
MATTHEWS: And then you find out in all these investigations that Jared was opening up a tunnel to Moscow so he wouldn’t have to deal with the State Department. So the son-in-law — you know, one good thing Mussolini did was execute his son-in-law. I mean, I’m talking about Ciano
FRANK BRUNI: Let’s be careful here, yeah.
MATTHEWS: That was an extreme measure. But this was — this is a strange situation.