Chris Matthews Compares Bernie Sanders’ Victory in Nevada to Fall of France to Nazis

“Incredibly offensive thing to say about someone from a family of holocaust survivors,” Justice Democrats says of MSNBC host’s comment

Chris Matthews MSNBC
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MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is facing criticism after he compared Bernie Sanders’ strong performance in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday to France falling to Nazi Germany in 1940.

Shortly before the Vermont senator was declared the winner of the Nevada caucuses, Matthews said that it’s clear Sanders has emerged the Democratic frontrunner and that the race for the White House is “pretty much over.”

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940, and the general, Renault, 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 said in history professor mode. “So I had that suppressed feeling, I can’t be as wild as [James] Carville, but he is damn smart, but I think he’s right on this one.”

Earlier in the day, Carville said on MSNBC that the media is not doing enough to sufficiently make voters aware of the “risks” of a Sanders victory and likewise declared Sanders a clear frontrunner.

Representatives for MSNBC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill tried to “detangle” the “Hardball” host’s comments given Sanders’ Jewish heritage, and others criticized Matthews’ words as “inexcusable” and “offensive.”

“Let’s try to detangle this. Bernie, a Jewish man whose family members were killed in the holocaust, wins the Nevada caucus, and Bernie and his unprecedented diverse coalition are the Nazis and Chris Matthews, the DNC and MSNBC are now occupied France,” Scahill said.

“A few days ago, @chucktodd read a passage likening Bernie voters to Nazi brown shirts. Now Chris Matthews is likening Bernie’s campaign to a Nazi invasion. Bernie is Jewish and his family was killed by the Nazis. None of this is OK,” political commentator and Sanders speechwriter David Sirota said in a tweet.

See some of the reactions and a clip of Matthews below:

For the record: A previous version of this story described Sanders as the Vermont governor. He’s a senator from Vermont.