Settle down, tough guy.
TAMPA, Fla. — MSNBC host Chris Matthews got into a heated exchange with Republican delegates at a Tampa restaurant early Friday morning following the conclusion of the GOP national convention.
Matthews was booed and sworn at as he was leaving the Tinatapas restaurant, which is near the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Matthews turned back and confronted the taunting GOP officials. The Hill witnessed the exchange and interviewed Republican delegates after the confrontation.
Matthews told The Hill in a phone interview that after he left the restaurant, he heard a group of guys “heckling” and “hooting and hollering” at him.
He headed back into the restaurant to mix it up with them. “I wanted to confront them,” Matthews said, describing his exchange with the men as “towel-snapping” among guys.
Matthews said he told the rowdy group, “What’s this, a douchebag convention?”
The Republicans became angry and retorted back.
“I told him that’s next week,” said New York delegate Anthony Nunziato, referring to the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., that will start on Tuesday.
In a statement emailed to The Hill on Friday afternoon, Matthews said, “I was talking to this 2 a.m. get-together of loud-talking people who had been heckling me from inside a restaurant and were now huddled together around a table. It was that get-together, right there in front of me; that was the ‘convention’ I was towel-snapping about. When The Hill called me and suggested I might have been referring to the Republican National Convention I couldn’t believe it. That’s wrong.”