MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said Thursday that Democrats are setting such a high standard for personal property that they can only be criticized for their purity.
Matthews described the pain that Democrats went through to "sacrifice" the "respected" Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) in the service of purifying the party. Franken announced his resignation Thursday in the face of mounting allegations of groping, although he focused his speech on accusing Republicans of wrongdoing and insisting that he is not guilty.
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Matthews ascribed Franken’s resignation to Democrats’ strong support of women’s rights, and he asked his guests if this would cause more Americans to support Democrats.
"Do you think the American public are now going to see the difference between the two parties?" he asked
Matthews explained by contrasting Democrats and Republicans, saying that the former group "expressed a belief in women’s rights" so strong that they were willing to force Franken's resignation. He pointed to Republicans such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who said Franken was treated wrongly, as evidence that Democrats have a higher standard.
Then he turned to MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson and said this episode could be an "education" for people that Democrats are "pure."
"I don't know how you can avoid the education in this. The worst you can say about Democrats is they're too pure," Matthews said. "That’s a stupid thing to say, but that's the worst thing you can say about them, these guys set too high a standard for public office."
Johnson laughed and agreed with Matthews’ assertion, saying that Democrats were setting the example for people to follow.
"I think this is wonderful because it is a standard that we should all be following," Johnson said.
He added that Democrats’ consistency on this issue will inspire voters.
"It increases enthusiasm, it makes people much more happy about the party—it may not bring any Republicans over, but it will certainly make Democrats much happier," Johnson said. "They can bring some attention and excitement to what might be Keith Ellison or the woman lieutenant governor in Minnesota running for that position."
Matthews has previously said he was "too tough" on former President Bill Clinton during his sex scandals, for which Clinton was impeached but not removed from office.