Coming off of his interview with President Barack Obama, MSNBC “Hardball” anchor Chris Matthews drew a comparison between the modern Republican Party and F.W. de Klerk, the last apartheid leader of South Africa. According to Matthews, de Klerk handled the ultimate election of the recently deceased Nelson Mandela better than the Republicans under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell handled the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.
Partial transcript as follows:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I haven’t heard anything as smart as what I heard Rev. [Al] Sharpton say a couple of minutes ago in five years. That is the most perceptive thing I’ve seen. It just rocks me. The difference F.W. de Klerk handled the need for change and the inevitable election, democratic election of Nelson Mandela, a legitimate – a truly legitimate for Nelson Mandela, he was never legitimately elected. For him to recognize his role in history, which was to be a patriot at that point is so different than the way Mitch McConnell handled the election of Obama – so different. To set it up that way, the juxtaposition, they were willing, McConnell people on the far right were willing to destroy the country to destroy Obama. Whereas to succeed in a country he loved, F.W. de Klerk was willing to see it transformed to black rule so that it could be done successfully so he could have his country have a better future. Reverend, I owe it to you. I think that is the key statement about what happened yesterday, the loss of Mandela and what his history is about and the key statement of why this has been so poisonous the last five years. We have real people in this country with real power and status who have used that status of power to hurt the country so they could hurt the president. That’s the most damming assessment I’ve heard and I think the truest.