CNN's Cuomo spars with Kris Kobach over whether Trump's tweet was racist

CNN host Chris CuomoChristopher (Chris) Charles CuomoNY Gov. Andrew Cuomo uses N-word during radio interview 10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable Tulsi Gabbard rips Trump's Syria decision: 'Kurds are now paying the price' MORE pressed former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday over why more Republicans have not denounced as "racist" President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's tweets telling four minority Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries of origin.

In an interview on "Cuomo Prime Time," the GOP Kansas Senate hopeful denied that the wording of Trump's tweets earlier this week were racist, and responded "I don't know" when asked whether he would support Trump for president if Trump said publicly that he was racist.

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"When the president said ... that these congresswomen should go back to the crime-infested places from which they came, right?" Kobach said. "Well, where are those places? So in [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump CBS to Ocasio-Cortez on Sanders support: 'As a woman of color, why back an old white guy?' MORE's] case it's the Bronx, in [Rep. Rashida] Tlaib's case it's Detroit, and in [Rep. Ilhan] Omar's case that's originally Somalia." 

Cuomo then interjected, noting that Trump did not say "places," but rather "countries," implying that three of the four women targeted by Trump — who also include Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThese 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-Mass.) — were not born in America.

"What would you do if the president said, 'I am a racist, that's why I said it'?" Cuomo asked later in the exchange.

"Then I would not defend him, because there is no excuse for racism in America," Kobach responded.

"Would you still support him as president?" Cuomo fired back.

"Um, I don't know, that would be a really tough question," Kobach said.

"You have to think about it?" Cuomo responded incredulously. "You have to think about whether or not you would support a racist?"

The exchange comes as Kobach has launched a bid for the GOP nomination for Kansas's Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsPompeo expected to visit Kansas on Thursday Jeffress dismisses evangelical opposition to Trump's Syria decision: Not one will 'switch their vote' Overnight Defense: Trump defends Turkey amid fierce criticism | Senators demand briefing on Syria decision | Turkey confirms strikes on Syrian border | White House says it won't cooperate on impeachment inquiry MORE (R). His bid is facing resistance from some members of the Republican Party establishment after his failed run for governor last year.

An outspoken supporter of Trump, Kobach previously served on the president's now-shuttered voter fraud commission.