MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews apologized on-air Wednesday after producers “admonished” him for comparing the use of executive privilege to losing one’s virginity during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris.
During Attorney General Bill Barr’s testimony on Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin asked Mr. Barr if he had any objections to former White House Counsel Don McGahn testifying before Congress, to which Mr. Barr replied, “We haven’t waived his privilege.”
Mr. Matthews questioned why Mr. McGahn shouldn’t be allowed to testify before Congress if he’s already testified during the Robert Mueller investigation, comparing the situation to losing one’s virginity, because, “Once you’ve given it up, you can’t grab it back.”
“I think it is sort of like virginity,” Mr. Matthews said. “Once you start talking about a matter in your jurisdiction and then you say, ‘Oh, I’m not doing it anymore.’ You can’t do it once you’ve started. I understand that’s how executive privilege works. Once you’ve given it up, you can’t grab it back. How do you see it?”
Ms. Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate from California, grew visibly uncomfortable during Mr. Matthews’ comparison, before responding: “I’m not going to go with you on that metaphor, Chris.”
“But I will say this,” she added. “Dick Durbin did an excellent job of pointing out that there is no, I think, valid reason why the attorney general should object to Don McGahn coming before the United States Congress and testifying.”
Mr. Matthews apologized for the comparison a short time later.
“I’m sorry about that metaphor I used before,” he said. “I’ve been admonished already about it. So I really shouldn’t have used it. I’ve heard that phrase used in this context, however.”
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