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

CNN host Chris CuomoChristopher (Chris) Charles CuomoSt. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters have a history of suing neighbors Trump dings CNN, 'Morning Joe' ratings as Tucker Carlson sets record CNN's Chris Cuomo lauds brother in panned interview: 'You're both awful' MORE pressed former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday over why more Republicans have not denounced as "racist" President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' 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-CortezGoya CEO dismisses critics for praise of Trump: 'I'm not apologizing' Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs 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 PressleyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressives zero in on another House chairman in primary Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell 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 RobertsPence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick 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.