On Monday's edition of MSNBC's "Hardball," anchor Chris Matthews discussed President Donald Trump's racist outbursts against congresswomen of color with Pulitzer Prize-winning tax journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston.
Johnston agreed that Trump has been deeply racist throughout his career — but added that another major problem is Trump's cognitive faculties are severely impaired.
"Is he the kind of guy, in a back room with other right-wing business guys, who would make slurs about people of color?" said Johnston. "Is he that kind of guy?"
"That's not Donald's style. Donald's actions are what matter here," said Johnston. "He once removed a black blackjack dealer because he thought it would curry favor with his biggest gambler, [alleged mobster] Bob Libutti. He's found to have discriminated in his casino business against blacks, Asians, women, Puerto Ricans. He has a long history of actions. We should be paying attention to his actions, and they're flat-out racist."
"I heard about his accountant one time," said Matthews. "He didn't want an African-American accountant."
"He said, 'I only want short guys wearing yarmulkes handling my money, not black guys,'" agreed Johnston. "His tweets are doing nothing but dividing us. They're also distracting us from other issues, which, of course, is one of Donald's great skills, distracting us."
"David, how much of this is in his gut and not in his head?" asked Matthews. "How much of this is just his gut drive that's tribal?"
"Well, it's important to understand something that's very difficult for many people to accept," said Johnston. "We have a mentally ill person in the White House, someone who is deranged, and it's awful to contemplate that. I was talking to someone in France the other day who said the reasons Europeans don't like Trump but they don't have a sense of outrage about him is they've had centuries of mad kings and crazy warlords and other rulers who were nuts, and that this is a new experience for America. And we need to recognize this, that we have somebody who is incompetent—"
"You believe he's a nut, David, you think he's nutty," Matthews pressed him.
"Oh, yeah," said Johnston. "He is at times delusional and there are videos where you can see he's delusional. Donald has said the best advisers reside in his head. He's said he talks to people that don't exist and he does it all the time. He is deeply mentally ill."