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

CNN host Chris CuomoChris CuomoCNN's Cuomo tells restaurant owner: 'You sound like an idiot' for denying service to vaccinated customers Budowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good Matt Schlapp spars with Chris Cuomo: 'I'm not welcome at CNN' MORE pressed former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday over why more Republicans have not denounced as "racist" President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez: 'More than enough' votes to prevent infrastructure from passing without reconciliation bill Manchin: 'I can't really guarantee anybody' reconciliation package will pass Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate 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 PressleyProgressives camp outside Capitol to protest evictions Pelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans On The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year 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 RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain 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.