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

CNN host Chris CuomoChristopher (Chris) Charles CuomoTrump complains of Republicans defending CNN's Cuomo over 'Fredo' video: 'We never learn!' Trump campaign starts selling 'Fredo Unhinged' T-shirt after viral Cuomo video Chris Cuomo: 'I should be better than the guys baiting me' MORE pressed former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday over why more Republicans have not denounced as "racist" President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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-CortezRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey Joseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts The latest victims of the far-left's environmental zealotry: Long Islanders 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 PressleyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' 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 RobertsKobach says he's more prepared for 'propaganda' in Senate campaign Pompeo: Senate run 'off the table' Grassley gambles on drug price bill despite GOP doubts 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.