MSNBC Host Suggests Donald Trump Is Threatening 'Fascist Violence' Against the Left in Breitbart Interview

Chris Hayes
Chris Hayes at the 2019 Writers Guild Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, California, on February 17. Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for WGAw

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes is questioning a statement made by President Donald Trump last week during an interview with Breitbart News.

The comment from Trump came during a lengthy Oval Office interview with the news outlet that covered topics including free speech on college campuses, the president's views on socialism and if the United States would become a socialist country, and an allegation that former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan blocked subpoena requests to allow members of the House of Representatives to investigate some Democrats during the first two years of Trump's term.

The quote in question referred to the difference between the left and the right.

"So here's the thing—it's so terrible what's happening," Trump said. "You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. OK? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump—I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough—until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that's all they want to do is—you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this."

On Thursday, Hayes, who hosts All In with Chris Hayes, retweeted a portion of the quote with his own comment. "This is...a threat of fascist violence by the President?"

Lawrence O'Donnell, Hayes's fellow network host, responded, saying he felt Trump's comment was "more of a hope than a threat."

"I think it's more of a hope than a threat. Trump's supporters aren't as bad & violent & criminal as he hopes they are. They peacefully watched President Obama inaugurated twice. They'll do that again for the next Democrat. Let's not help him fan his imaginary flame," O'Donnell wrote.

Trump has commented on potential violence from his supporters before. During a campaign rally in September 2018 for Josh Hawley, who was later elected to the Senate, the president said, "They're so lucky that we're peaceful. Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump—how about Bikers for Trump? They travel all over the country. They got Trump all over the place, and they're great. They've been great. But these are tough people. These are great people. But they're peaceful people, and Antifa and all—they'd better hope they stay that way. I hope they stay that way. I hope they stay that way."