Chicago residents react to Trump's criticism of NFL, NBA players

CHICAGO -- At a popular cafeteria on Chicago's predominantly black South Side, President Trump's criticism of NFL and NBA players were still reverberating on Monday afternoon, CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports.

"I think it's part of a strategy. What he is trying to do is distract people -- so here we have this distraction this weekend. Senators are fighting health care. We got damage in Puerto Rico. Nothing about those things," said Randolph Carnegie, a technology consultant.

"We're in a place right now where we are fighting over simple, stupid stuff and not looking at the big picture -- all because of what this guy says," Carnegie added.

It's not clear that Mr. Trump planned to ignite the controversy, but since his initial comments on Friday, he has insisted they were not about race, and his top advisers say they are not distracting from the president's agenda, CBS News White House and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan reports.

But the White House's plan was to focus this week on launching its tax reform proposal. Since Saturday, Mr. Trump has tweeted once about taxes, seven times about health care and at least 20 times about sports, Brennan reports.

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Randolph Carnegie

CBS News

It did not escape Michelle Schaeffer's attention that Mr. Trump trained his scorn on the NFL and NBA, whose rosters are predominantly African-American. "All the better," she said, "to rile his base."

"He has a lot of supporters that's probably cut from the same cloth that he is: angry, bitter, racist, ignorant," Schaeffer said.

Yolanda Thomas said the country has always been divided, but Mr. Trump encourages people to like it that way.

"If you support him, you're the same, the same type of person. It's coming from way more than him. It's coming from the people who back him up," Thomas said.

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Yolanda Thomas

CBS News

Alphonso Parker said Mr. Trump was simply not acting presidential.

"It's hurtful for the country for our president to be talking any kind of racial, or any kind of slurs toward any individual as the leader of the country," Parker said.

"Do you think it's corrosive on the public?" CBS News' Reynolds asked.

"It is corrosive because I have friends I've had for years -- black, white friends, veterans, non-veterans -- and all of a sudden we are going at each other about disrespecting the flag. I mean it's getting to the point even in my close relationships I don't want to engage with them because this is what we talk about."

There were no expressions of hope on Monday that the president might one day extend an olive branch to those who did not vote for him.