MSNBC Host Chris Matthews Ties Bernie Sanders to Fears of Socialist 'Executions in Central Park,' Fidel Castro

MSNBC host Chris Matthews warned that if Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wins the 2020 election there could be socialist-led executions in Central Park.

Matthews offered his latest on-air rant against the Sanders campaign and his supporters after the Democratic presidential debate Friday night. The longtime MSNBC political analyst warned viewers what might have happened if Fidel Castro and "the Reds" had won the Cold War, suggesting Sanders would have supported public executions of the late Cuban leader's perceived enemies. Matthews demanded to know if Sanders supports Castro's style of communism or if he's truly a backer of democratic socialist-style governments such as Denmark.

Here's the video of the moment... It really is something

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Visibly-shocked fellow MSNBC panel members Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell attempted to interject, as Matthews said he may have been executed in Central Park if capitalism hadn't defeated socialism during the Cold War.

"I have my own views of the word 'socialist' and I'd be glad to share them with you in private," Matthews said Friday night after the Democratic debate. "They go back to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War, I have an attitude towards Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering, okay?

"So I have a problem with people who took the other side. I don't know who Bernie has supported over these years, I don't know what he means by socialism -- one week it's Denmark, we're going to be like Denmark. Okay, that's harmless. That's basically a capitalist country with good social welfare programs. Denmark."

MSNBC panelist and host Joy Reid also expressed her fear about videos or comments Sanders may have made in the past "praising the version" of socialism which could be used against him in a general election.

"What does he think of Castro? That's a good question, what's he think of Fidelismo?" Matthews continued. "We all thought he was great when he first came out. I cheered like mad for him when he first went in and then he became a communist and started shooting every one of his enemies. You've got to make those judgments."

Hayes interjected that Sanders is "pretty clearly in the Denmark category" of mixed capitalist and socialist-style policies, which Matthews promptly questioned: "Is he? How do you know? Did he tell you that?"

During the recent Iowa caucuses, Matthews claimed the only reason Sanders could win the contest is because "socialists love meetings," similar to the caucus process. He referred to an Oscar Wilde quote about how socialism is hard to sell because "it takes too many meetings."

Newsweek reached out to Matthews' representatives for comment Saturday.

chris matthews bernie sanders socialist
MSNBC analyst Chris Matthews demanded to know Bernie Sanders' stance on Fidel Castro, tying the Vermont Senator to "executions in Central Park" led by Cold War communists. Screenshot: MSNBC

Matthews continued his rant against socialism as a term: "Some people like it, younger people like it, but those of us like me, who grew up in the Cold War and saw some aspects of it, if there visiting places like Vietnam, like I have, [and seeing countries] like Cuba, being there, I've seen what socialism's like, I don't like it. It's not only not free, it doesn't fricking work!"