After a major win projected in the Nevada caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been dealt some expected pushback from fellow Democratic candidates and political commentators mulling the chances of a self-described “Democratic Socialist” in a general election for president.
However, one of the most talked-about responses to Sanders’ Nevada win came on from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who compared the overwhelming win for Sanders to Nazi Germany defeating the French in the summer of 1940.
Matthews’ comments were, naturally, met with swift criticism.
The commentator mentioned on Saturday, as the first results from the Nevada caucus sites came rolling in and showed Sanders with the clear lead, that he was reading the previous night about the fall of France in June 1940.
The shocking World War II event occurred when the Nazis took Paris and forced the surrender of French forces. Matthews referenced the event by describing the moment the French Premier Paul Reynaud informed the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
“General Reynaud calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over,’” Matthews explained.
The criticisms flooded social media with many political pundits and members of the media bringing up the fact that Sanders, a Jew, has repeatedly mentioned how much of his father’s family was killed in the Holocaust.
In the 2016 election cycle during a CNN Democratic debate, Sanders was asked if he intentionally hid his religion while campaigning.
“No, I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am,” Sanders replied. “I know about what crazy and radical and extremist politics mean.”
Jeremy Scahill, a journalist and co-founder of The Intercept, attempted on Twitter to “detangle” the clear irony of Matthews’ comparison, writing, “Bernie, a Jewish man whose family members were killed in the holocaust, wins the Nevada caucus, and Bernie and his unprecedented diverse coalition are the Nazis and Chris Matthews, the DNC and MSNBC are now occupied France?”
Sanders supporters have even called on Matthews to resign or for MSNBC to fire the longtime host following the comments.
The Vermont Senator has so far run away with the so-called First in the West caucus with more than 70 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, making him decidedly the frontrunner in the race to a Democratic nomination.
In second place, more than 20 points behind Sanders is former Vice President Joe Biden with Buttigieg trailing in third.
Next up for the candidates is the South Carolina primary where the polls show Sanders is second only to Biden, though the latter has lost ground recently in a state many expected him to win comfortably.