Pat Buchanan's Worst MSNBC Moments

MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan has a long history of bigoted commentary in his books, columns, speeches, memos, and media appearances. Here are a few of his worst moments on MSNBC.

Buchanan Has Repeatedly Made Offensive Comments On MSNBC's Airwaves

Buchanan: Obama's Higher Education Was “Probably Affirmative Action All The Way.” From the April 26, 2011, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:

MATTHEWS: Because this is an incredible assertion, Pat. It's an incredible assertion to make about the president of the United States that somehow -- let's go through everything Trump said. I'm going to go through it later tonight in my close.


MATTHEWS: He is saying nobody knew him in school, that nobody ever comes forward and says they ever knew the guy, like he was some guy that never really went to these schools.

BUCHANAN: Well, can I talk to that?

MATTHEWS: There's a funny paper trail. What's that about, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I'll tell you what --

MATTHEWS: What's that about?

BUCHANAN: He went to Occidental College. Then suddenly, he shows up at one of the best schools in the country, Columbia. He vaults from there to Harvard Law School. Suddenly, he's on Harvard Law Review. Suddenly, he's the editor of Harvard Law Review. We've never seen any grades of the guy. These are legitimate questions. What I want to know from you, Chris, is --

MATTHEWS: Well, they got -- they got the grades at Harvard --

BUCHANAN: What I want to know from you --

MATTHEWS: Harvard law let him in --


MATTHEWS: -- and he was elected to the Law Review. They have the records.

BUCHANAN: Look, I know a lot of kids that have got phenomenal LSAT scores that can't get into any Ivy League school, and I think a lot of people do. Chris, this is what I want to ask you. Why is it that the national press corps, when Donald Trump is out there supporting the people's right to know, you guys are all supporting the president's right to conceal?

MATTHEWS: OK. So, you have questions about whether the president was -- did attend these schools or not. First of all, let's --


BUCHANAN: Oh, he attended the schools.


MATTHEWS: How far do you go on the Trump bandwagon?

Was he in fact in these schools that Trump says nobody knew him in?

BUCHANAN: I think he went to those schools, and I think the way was very probably greased.

MATTHEWS: So, why was Trump saying --

BUCHANAN: And I think he's probably affirmative action all the way.

MATTHEWS: Greased by whom? Greased by whom?

BUCHANAN: I think he's affirmative action all the way.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it's an affirmative action case. But there's no mystery about it. It's just affirmative action, as you see it?

BUCHANAN: Oh, I think he's at those schools, sure.

MATTHEWS: But you don't think he had outside help getting into these schools?

BUCHANAN: Well, look, I think all he's got -- look, Chris, you know how the system works. You apply. He's an African-American kid at a time when everybody's saying let's bring those guys in, give them an advantage, move them ahead.


MATTHEWS: So it's about race, then? It's about --

BUCHANAN: It's about whether he benefited from affirmative action. Is that an illegitimate question? [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/26/11]

Buchanan: “In A Way, Both Sides Were Right” During The Civil War. From the April 8, 2010, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:

BUCHANAN: Now, I don't know if they want to go that far. But quite frankly, there's a real feeling out there of people that they do not like this government! It's too big, too oppressive...

MATTHEWS: Who was right in the Civil War?

KAREN FINNEY: Wait a sec...

BUCHANAN: Who was right in the Civil War? I think, in a way, both sides were right. I think Lincoln had a right to save the union. I think they had a right to go free. People -- it was unsettled...


MATTHEWS: So Robert E. Lee was right...

FINNEY: Let's not defend the right to slavery.

MATTHEWS: ... to join the South?

BUCHANAN: Of course he was!


FINNEY: Let's not defend the right to slavery.

MATTHEWS: It was right to fight that war?

BUCHANAN: Robert E. Lee was right to defend his fellow...


MATTHEWS: But if he had said, “I'm not going to fight,” maybe there wouldn't have been a Civil War. Maybe if the guys like him had stood up and said, “We're not going to fight this, we're sticking with the union”...

BUCHANAN: What were they going to -- you -- Chris...


MATTHEWS: ... if you'd listen to Sam Houston, you wouldn't have had that war.

BUCHANAN: Virginia had to lie down and let them march over Virginia!

MATTHEWS: OK. Your turn.

BUCHANAN: They weren't going to do it!

MATTHEWS: Karen, I'm sorry. It's Karen's (INAUDIBLE)

FINNEY: That's OK. Now, I want to go back to your other point because it -- you know, there's something very disturbing happening in this country when you do have leaders, Republican leaders, using certain phrases that are code phrases, not even just about the Civil War, but again, designed to have a very specific impact in inflaming the base and motivating the base, rather than...

MATTHEWS: But Pat doesn't need code! Pat's arguing...


MATTHEWS: ... because he thinks the federal union was maybe equally right to the South!

FINNEY: But wait a second...


FINNEY: The point I'm making...

BUCHANAN: I think they both had a moral position. [MSNBC, Hardball,4/8/10, via Nexis]

MSNBC Forced To Remove Buchanan's Column Defending Hitler: From MSNBC's website, accessed September 3, 2009:

MSNBC later removed the column (still available elsewhere) and told Politico that Buchanan's “syndicated column does not speak for the network or represent the views of MSNBC”:

David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council, condemned MSNBC's promotion of the “deplorable” column and urged that it be removed from

Well, now the network has pulled it. (Indeed, the old link is dead).

Harris, in second statement, said that “MSNBC took the responsible action and removed Pat Buchanan's column,” while adding that “no worthy news organization should employ and promote a commentator who engages in such vile fiction.”

An MSNBC spokesperson issued a statement to POLITICO: “An editorial decision was made to remove the column from Pat is a contributor to MSNBC, his syndicated column does not speak for the network or represent the views of MSNBC." [Politico, 9/3/09]

“Offended” Buchanan Stands Up For “White Males,” Falsely Claiming Only “White Males” Died At Gettysburg, Normandy. Contrary to Buchanan's claim, “nearly 2,000” African-Americans took part in the Normandy invasion, at least some of whom apparently died as a result, and at least one woman and one African-American were reportedly killed in the Gettysburg campaign. Hundreds of thousands of people of color fought for the United States in the Civil War and World War II. [Media Matters, 2/29/08] From the February 28, 2008, edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

BUCHANAN: Did you see Howard Dean, though?

CARLSON: Well, let's put it up on the screen, Howard Dean's remarks.


CARLSON: I have it right here. He was at Georgetown. This is from The Georgetown Voice. “Dean contrasted the two party's presidential candidates. He said that with a woman and an African-American as the two front-runners, the Democratic field, quote, 'looks like America, while the all-white male Republican field looks like the 1950s and talks like the 1850s.' ” I must say, I'm not going to sit by a single more time and listen to someone slag on, quote, “white men.”

BUCHANAN: You know, I am off --

CARLSON: Television hosts do that. It makes me want to puke.

BUCHANAN: I am offended by this. Look, what did white males do? OK, they were the only guys signing the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, all the dead at Gettysburg, all the dead at Normandy. Why is it, Bill --

PRESS: Pat, Pat --

BUCHANAN: -- OK to mock --

PRESS: Pat, Pat, Pat --

BUCHANAN: -- backhand white -- no wonder you're losing white males.

PRESS: What do you have, white guilt? Look, here's -- Howard Dean --

BUCHANAN: No, I think you guys are self-hating white folks.

PRESS: No, Howard Dean told the truth. If you look at the Democrats on stage when they were up there, you had a Latino, you had an African-American, you had a woman, you had young, you had old. And then you contrast that with the 10 Republican all-white men over 50.

BUCHANAN: He didn't say all 10. He said these two look like America.

PRESS: No, no. No, no, no. No.

BUCHANAN: In other words, it's not just -- every president has been a white male, Bill, every one.

PRESS: Pat, Pat, Pat, he said Democratic candidates. And it is true, if you look at the diversity -- if you look at this country, Pat, at the population of this country, they are not all white, older white men.


PRESS: That's the point he's making. He is absolutely right.

CARLSON: Let me just say this. I think -- and I'm not just -- you know, people say, “Oh, you're a white man. That's why you're defending white men.” Actually, I'm being sincere. I'm defending this purely on principle. I don't think that you ought to cavalierly attack people based on their race or gender. And consider if that was any other group. “Well, this group is so-and-so or such-and-such.” There would be an uproar. I think when you allow this kind of gar -- I mean, Howard Dean's an -- not very smart, so he gets kind of a pass, but a lot of smart people say this sort of thing.

PRESS: He is telling the truth. It's the same thing -- when you look at the floor of the Democratic convention and look at the great diversity on the floor, in terms of men and women and people of color, and then you look at the floor of the Republican convention, and it looks like the, you know --

BUCHANAN: What's wrong with that?

PRESS: -- the White Person Society meeting with hardly -- not that many women and hardly any minorities at all.

CARLSON: Well, you're right. I mean, you're certainly speaking right. No, no, but hold on.

PRESS: One reflects America, and the other doesn't.

CARLSON: Wait, hold on. Hold on.

PRESS: That's all. That's all.

CARLSON: You're right that there -- it is much more diverse, the Democratic convention. I've been to all of them in the past 20 or 15 years. But there's a hostility toward white men --

BUCHANAN: Exactly.

CARLSON -- that's not even cloaked and that, by the way, is wrong. It's immoral to attack people because of their skin color. Period.

PRESS: There is no hostility towards white men.

CARLSON: Oh, B.S., Bill. Come on.

PRESS: You guys -- no, you guys are --

CARLSON: I hear it at work. I hear it here. I hear it in politics.

BUCHANAN: You're saying because it's a woman and an African-American, only those two -- it is morally superior in some way to the Republicans because their candidates are white males.

PRESS: No, no. No, no, no, no. May I say it as clearly as I can? If you want to reflect what this country is all about, OK, you don't put 10 old white men on the stage. Period.

BUCHANAN: Look, they didn't put them on. These are guys who ran for the nomination of their party. I would remind you, every single president has been a white male. Is that something wrong with America?

PRESS: All right. You know what? That's going to change this year, Pat.

BUCHANAN: Is that wrong with America?

PRESS: That's going to change this year. We're going to have a woman or we're going to have an African-American as president. It's going to change this year.

CARLSON: Let me just bring up one final white man, and that's Roger Clemens. [MSNBC, Tucker,2/28/08]

Buchanan: “This Has Been A Country Built, Basically, By White Folks.” From the July 16, 2009, edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:

BUCHANAN: Well, I think I would vote “no” on Sonia Sotomayor, the same way I would've voted “no” on Harriet Miers; and I said so the first day she was nominated. I don't think Judge Sotomayor is qualified for the United States Supreme Court. She has not shown any great intellect here or any great depth of knowledge of the Constitution. She's never written anything that I've read in terms of a law review article or a major book or something like that on the law.

And I do believe she's an affirmative action appointment by the president of the United States. He eliminated everyone but four women and then he picked the Hispanic. So I think this is an affirmative action appointment and I would vote “no.”


MADDOW: Why do you think it is that of the 110 Supreme Court justices we've had in this country, 108 of them have been white?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think white men were 100 percent of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100 percent of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, 100 percent of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100 percent of the people who died at Normandy.

This has been a country built, basically, by white folks in this country who were 90 percent of the entire nation in 1960 when I was growing up, Rachel, and the other 10 percent were African-Americans who had been discriminated against -- that's why. [MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/16/09]

In a follow-up segment, Maddow issued a series of “corrections and clarifications” about Buchanan's arguments. Maddow corrected Buchanan's falsehood that Sotomayor had “never written” any law review articles (a falsehood Buchanan used to support his claim that Sotomayor was “an affirmative action appointment”). Maddow also disputed Buchanan's claim that “this has been a country basically built by white folks” and noted that many people of color fought and died for the United States in the Civil War and World War II.

Buchanan: “Seems Clear” That Sotomayor Will Violate “Civil Rights Laws, Discriminate Against White Males.” From the July 13, 2009, edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

BUCHANAN: The real problem for Republicans, quite frankly, is timidity -- that they don't stand up for their principles. They voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 96 senators voted for her. The point is, what Republicans and conservatives want their senators to do is stand up on this issue of reverse discrimination, the New Haven case, these others things where it seems clear that Sotomayor will really violate, if you will, the civil rights laws, discriminate against white males if it advances things like diversity and more Hispanics, et cetera. And they want their people to fight on this. The real danger for Republicans is excessive timidity.

HALPERIN: Pat, should they vote no? Should Republicans vote no on her based on what we know already?

BUCHANAN: Based on what I know, I would not vote for her, from what I've seen. I could be persuaded if some of her answers came through. Based on her record, I wouldn't vote for her, because I think she's a judicial activist. I think she believes that judges ought to make law -- I think she says that's where the power is. And when she says, you know, that Latina women -- wise Latina women will make better decisions than white males, that word “better” -- it's not just that she's got a different background -- that word “better,” if someone said white males will make better decisions than Latina females, they would never be approved. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 7/13/09]

Buchanan: Sonia Sotomayor An “Affirmative Action Pick.” From the May 26, 2009, edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

BUCHANAN: I'm saying that she herself says that her gender and her ethnicity will influence her decision, and I think that is a disq-- that would be for me a disqualification for the Supreme Court. She is also an affirmative action pick, Chris. Clearly. The president was down to four choices, all four of them women, and he picked the Hispanic. [MSNBC, Hardball, 5/26/09]

Buchanan On Mexican Immigrants: “They Are Militant, And They Have No Interest, Many Of Them, In Becoming American.” From the August 23, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

BUCHANAN: America's going to be inundated -- we'll be the first country -- Western country to be predominantly third world in national origins. And the problem is, the newcomers are not assimilating as the Irish did, the Germans did, the Jewish folks did, the Polish folks did --

CARLSON: No, they're not. But why couldn't they? I mean, why -- look, it seems -- I mean, let's be totally real here. We're not going to stop this because vested interests have a stake in it, Democrats and Republicans. They want illegal immigration. So there's nothing we can do, apart from hope that these are people who can be assimilated. Why can't we start trying now to make these newcomers to our country Americans?

BUCHANAN: Because the same people that want the illegal immigration are opposed to assimilation. Right now, we live in the age of diversity and multiculturalism, where the idea of taking kids and dipping them into English and American literature from the first grade or kindergarten on, the way they used to do in America, that's cultural genocide, Tucker. You're not allowed to do that anymore. And the folks coming from Mexico, for example --

CARLSON: Well, you're not allowed to teach immigrants to our country our language and our literature? It's our country. I mean, on what grounds aren't you allowed to do that? That makes me red in the face just thinking about it.

BUCHANAN: Well, we are allowed -- we are allowed to do it, but take a look at the people who are educating the children in this country. Secondly, the folks who are coming, particularly Mexican folks who are coming simply to work, they're loyal Mexicans. They want to keep their language, they want to keep their culture, they want to keep their music, they want to keep their identity as Mexicans, they want to keep their loyalty to Mexico, and the Mexican government wants them to stay loyal to Mexico. They are moving people from another nation into the United States. This is not Ellis Island. These folks aren't coming here and kissing the ground and saying, “Thank God I'm an American” or “I'm going to be one, and my kids are certainly going to be Americans.”

These folks, they march under Mexican flags, they boo American teams at soccer games. They are militant, and they have no interest, many of them, in becoming American. And frankly, the Mexican government is interested in, basically, the reconquista of the American Southwest. Not militarily -- culturally, ethnically, linguistically. And it's happening, Tucker. [MSNBC, Tucker, 8/23/06]

Buchanan: “You're Going To Have A Giant Kosovo In The Southwest, Which De Facto Is Going To Secede.” From the June 5, 2006 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:

BUCHANAN: But the point is, Joe, I don't care about the Republican Party. I don't care about politics. I do care about this country.


BUCHANAN: You can't absorb -- you cannot absorb 40 to 60 million more people. You're going to have a giant Kosovo in the Southwest, which de facto is going to secede from this country, if anybody any longer cares about our country, rather than an economy. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 6/5/06]

Buchanan: “The Holy Father Did Not Invent The Fact That Homosexuality Was An Intrinsic Disorder. It Is An Intrinsic Disorder.” From a 2005 MSNBC discussion about whether the Catholic Church should be discussing issues like gays:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, should the church -- should the church be doing that? Should the church the pope be doing that?

BUCHANAN: Well, the church and the Holy Father should be telling the truth about what is moral and what is an immoral life. And the church -- the Holy Father did not invent the fact that homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder.

It is an intrinsic disorder. And the church has taught this for 2,000 years. The pope simply expressed himself.

Now, with regard to the United States of America -- and we got all the condoms in the world available and very much AIDS was very much begun here in the homosexual community and among those who use illicit drugs through dirty needles.

Now, the point is and the point Bill Donahue was making is, if the folks in the bathhouses follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, they would not have the problem. Secondly, if they`re in the bathhouses, they`re probably not listening to the pope anyway. [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 4/11/05, via Nexis]

Buchanan: “Homosexual Sex Is Unnatural And Immoral.” From MSNBC in 2003:

PAT BUCHANAN: This is Rick Santorum, senator from Pennsylvania, leader of the Republican Conference in the Senate, has said that if the Supreme Court, Bill, legalizes homosexual conduct, it knocks down the law there, it will just be like saying it is open season. You can -- for bigamy and for incest and for adultery. They're all basically the same.

I think he has got a basically sound statement. I think he ought to stick by it. As a practical matter, homosexual sex is unnatural and immoral. There's nothing wrong with saying so.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: I think it is outrageous. Didn't this guy learn anything from Trent Lott about keeping his big mouth shut? Let me tell you, there's a big difference. Bigamy is a crime. Polygamy is a crime. Incest is a crime. Homosexuality is not a crime.

BUCHANAN: It is now in Texas.

PRESS: You know what, Pat? Dick Cheney...

BUCHANAN: It is in Texas.

PRESS: Well, that's what is in front of the Supreme Court.

BUCHANAN: Well, that's what he saying. If you legalize one, you legalize them all. [MSNBC, Buchanan & Press, 4/22/03, via Nexis]