Bob Schieffer: Trump's immigration remarks are racist

Schieffer on Trump remarks
Schieffer on Trump remarks 05:38

Just 12 days in to the New Year, the White House is already in serious damage control mode. In addition to the publication of an explosive book alleging chaos inside the White House, President Trump faced blistering criticism Friday for using a vulgar expletive during an Oval Office meeting on immigration.

Mr. Trump is contesting reports that he said, "Why do we want all these people from sh*thole countries here?" referring to immigrants from Haiti, several African countries and El Salvador.

When asked on "CBS This Morning" if he considered the president's comments racist, CBS News political contributor Bob Schieffer replied, "Yeah. Yeah. I mean, how can you take it any other way?"

He added, "To say this in the White House during a discussion, this is a new low and I think he ought to be ashamed of himself."

The president's remarks on Thursday come on the heels of a media firestorm over Michael Wolff's tell-all book detailing the inner workings of the Trump White House. The book prompted a cease and desist letter from Trump's lawyer and a split between the president and his former adviser Steve Bannon.  

"You know, I think he really nailed the chaos in the White House. And I think he was right on," Schieffer said of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." "There are as many factions in the White House now as there are up on Capitol Hill and we've never had anything like that before."

On Friday, the president was scheduled to receive his first physical since taking office. Wolff's book prompted a series of tweets from Mr. Trump last week slamming the author and touting his own accomplishments and intelligence. In one of those tweets, the president described himself as "a very stable genius."

Asked for his historical perspective on the president's mental fitness, Schieffer said, "I'm going to say I'm not a doctor and I don't know what it is, but I do say I keep wondering why does he say these things?"

Shifting to what these events might mean for the 2018 midterm elections, Schieffer said that for the first time, he thinks Democrats might have a chance to take control of the House.

"I think that the Democrats may actually take the House this time. You've had 29 Republicans now that have decided they're not going to run. They only need 24 seats, the Democrats, to take the House. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but I think it's now possible. I wouldn't say it's probable, but I think it's possible and I think that's the big story."