MSNBC's Chris Matthews, an unapologetic supporter of President Barack Obama, went on a surprising rant about the Benghazi terror attack on Monday, demanding to know why the U.S. government failed to send in "the Cavalry" to save American lives.
"The president is the best security agency, people are sitting in the White House 24/7, there are officers on deck, they are getting an instantaneous report on what's happening there," Matthews began. "What were they looking at in forms of assets that could have been sent? Where was the U.S. Cavalry, to use an American image. Where were the people that could've come or tried to get there within how many hours it took to save the lives of the people still living? Where were they and why weren't they called to do it? I'm going to ask that question until I get an answer."
Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL and editor-in-chief of SOFREP.com, told Matthews that "there's some blame on the Secretary of Defense."
"So, I think a lot of people in the military are wondering that were sitting there standing by ready to go, why wasn't the call sent down to send those folks in?" he added. "But a lot of people need to understand, you know, when you add the CIA and the heroes that went on their own, took their own initiative--"
"That's what I'm impressed by, then you hear about the guys who got in there, grabbed their uniform, grabbed their weapons, got on a plane and they were stopped en route," Matthews interrupted. "I mean, that's unbelievable! People who were like volunteer fire department racing to save their colleagues, and what happened to them?"
Matthews went on to call Benghazi "a hot opportunity for the Republicans," but claimed: "My interest is on facts, and the questions I have about this are what was the State Department's role in real-time, not beforehand, but at the time of the attack in defending the lives of their people, especially the U.S. ambassador, who was a friend, a friend of the Secretary of State's, Hillary Clinton? What was their actions, what was the tick-tock? What did they do when they got the warning of the attack?"
TIME's Jay Newton-Small argued that the Benghazi attack came in waves, "so they thought that, you know, after the first wave that things were quieting down."
"That's when they said, well, maybe we don't need to send help, and help was really far away," she added. "It wasn't like it was next door. It was several hours away in Italy, so --"
Matthews again interrupted, reminding her that the fight went on for seven hours.
"Yeah, but then if you're doing it in waves, you think the attack is over and sending somebody is not going to help anymore, right? Then all of a sudden, they attack again," Newton-Small replied.
Surprisingly, Matthews pressed even harder.
"I'm going to ask you something," the MSNBC host began. "If that what your brother or father in there, would you say that's an acceptable response? 'Oh, it's probably over by now, it's no good to send anybody.' Or would you say, 'I don't care if it's over or not, I'm going to collect the bodies if nothing else. I'm going to get there and show I cared.' That's what I'd do."
"These are questions that Hillary will have to answer if she runs for president in 2016," Newton-Small responded.
(H/T: Real Clear Politics)
This story has been updated.