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Trump supporters on inflammatory tweets: "That's why I voted for him"

CBS News logo CBS News 7/16/2019 CBSNews

President Trump has refused to walk back his racist tweets targeting a group of Democratic congresswomen of color in part because he believes his supporters will stand by him. CBS News' Ed O'Keefe spoke to a number of Trump supporters on Monday who say they do.

"I know some people don't like his tweets and they think he's crass. I -- that's why I voted for him," said retired businesswoman Mary Lou Kohlhofer.  

Another supporter, Doug Thomas, said, "It's unfortunate he had to do it the way he had to do it… It's really the only way he can to get this country back."

Nancy Schneider even went so far as to echo the sentiment in President Trump's tweets, saying, "If you think you have it better in your -- where you came from or how they did things there, go back where you came from."

President Trump seemingly targeted Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – who have dubbed themselves "The Squad" – when he tweeted that "'Progressive' Democratic Congresswomen" should "go back" to their countries. All four of the lawmakers are American citizens and three of them were born in the U.S.

The president has made it clear he doesn't mind making his attacks on the congresswomen a 2020 issue. Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail get asked everyday —some nearly every few hours — about something the president has done or said. Sometimes they hold back or try to change the subject. Not this time.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: nfa-okeefe-race-and-the-campaign-needs-track-frame-1638.jpg © Credit: CBSNews nfa-okeefe-race-and-the-campaign-needs-track-frame-1638.jpg Former Vice President and Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden said on Monday the tweets were "sickening" and "embarrassing." From day one of his presidential campaign and ever since, President Trump has repeatedly stoked racial tensions from his calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" to his highly controversial Muslim ban. But Biden said it's not just the president who he disagrees with. Asked what he'd say to Americans who might agree with what the president tweeted, Biden said, "I'd say I'm ashamed of them."   "I'd say anybody who's that racist ... I'm ashamed of a racist."

On Monday a senior administration official confirmed that Russia is still meddling in U.S. politics, mostly by through social media, by amplifying division on issues like race. The Trump administration says it has made it clear to Russia to "knock it off" but has not seen sufficient evidence that Russia has stopped.


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