The Slatest

Chris Matthews Not Part of MSNBC’s Primary Coverage After Sexism Accusation, Cringeworthy Incidents

Chris Matthews seated in front of a screen displaying the NBC News logo.
Chris Matthews after the Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Those who tuned in to MSNBC for the coverage of the South Carolina Democratic primary were likely surprised that a familiar face was not part of the network’s coverage. Chris Matthews is a fixture of MSNBC’s political coverage, so his absence was more than evident and came a day after a woman accused him of sexual harassment. It also came after a string of embarrassing, cringeworthy incidents that made Matthews the target of lots of criticism over the past week.

On Friday, columnist Laura Bassett wrote in GQ about how Matthews “inappropriately flirted” with her when she was a guest on his show four years ago. She had written about the encounter in 2017 without naming Matthews. “I was afraid to name him at the time for fear of retaliation from the network; I’m not anymore,” she wrote. “It was Chris Matthews.” Bassett wrote about how Matthews looked over at her while she was getting her makeup done for the show and remarked, “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?” He then continued to comment on her appearance.

Later Friday, Matthews had another cringeworthy moment that put him in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons when he confused Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison with Republican Sen. Tim Scott. They are both black. “Big mistake. Mistaken identity, sir. I’m sorry,” Matthews said after he was corrected.

Earlier in the week, Matthews was heavily criticized for an interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the last debate in which he continually questioned her on why she believed the woman who had said Mike Bloomberg told her to “kill it” when she was pregnant. That led a women’s advocacy group to call on MSNBC to fire Matthews.

Last weekend Matthews also raised eyebrows after he compared Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada presidential caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940.