MSNBC host Chris Matthews and Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn suggested Tuesday night that Republicans are castigating Susan Rice, former President Obama's national security adviser, because she is a woman, not because she reportedly requested the identities of concealed Trump associates whose conversations were incidentally captured in U.S. intelligence reports.
"Notice it's always a female," Matthews said on his show "Hardball" after showing Republican attacks against Rice.
Matthews first played a clip of Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) calling Rice "the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy," prompting the MSNBC host to suggest the senator is crazy.
"OK, Bates Motel," Matthews said in reference to the 1987 movie about a mentally ill man.
Cotton called Rice "Typhoid Mary" while commenting on her denial that she and other Obama administration officials used intelligence for political purposes against the Trump transition team. Rice had reportedly sought on several occasions to identify, or "unmask," the names of Trump associates in intelligence reports, according to Bloomberg.
"Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it," Cotton told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.
Matthews also discussed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who claimed in a tweet Monday that Rice "unmasked" names of Trump officials in intelligence reports, suggesting she might soon go to prison.
@realDonaldTrump will await apology from media now that revealed that Susan Rice unmasked names. Orange jumpsuit in her size?
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) April 3, 2017
There is currently no evidence that Rice engaged in illegal activity.
"I mean, Huckabee has no shame," Matthews said.
Corn later suggested Republicans might be "defaming" Rice because "she's a black woman."
"They are making her, you know, basically they're defaming her without any reason to do so because she's a woman. Maybe because she's a black woman. Maybe because they didn't like her during Benghazi," Corn said.
Corn was referring to Rice's role in the Obama administration's messaging on the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Rice had falsely claimed on several news networks that the attack was prompted by an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
It was later revealed that the assault on the consulate was a planned and coordinated attack by extremists unrelated to a video.
The State Department reaffirmed in June that an anti-Islamic video did not motivate the attack, and a report produced last year by the House Select Committee on Benghazi showed the Obama administration believed the attack was a planned terrorist assault before Rice made her comments on television.