Political author Tim Alberta says tone of Trump's attacks on Omar galvanizes his supporters
President Trump is facing a backlash this week over his incendiary tweets Sunday, in which he said four progressive congresswomen should "go back" to where they came from, and he escalated the controversy at his rally on Wednesday night when he singled out one of the congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar, for criticism. The crowd answered his remarks with chants of "send her back," for several seconds.
Tim Alberta, the chief political correspondent for Politico Magazine who recently wrote a book about Mr. Trump and the Republican Party, American Carnage, thinks that the president engages in nativist or racist language to rouse his political base. Alberta spoke to CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast.
Alberta talked about Mr. Trump's ability to influence his audience, citing as an example Mr. Trump's exhortations to supporters at the 2016 Republican National Convention not to chant "lock her up" about Hillary Clinton. In contrast, Mr. Trump "chose not to" respond to the "send her back" chants on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump claimed to reporters on Thursday that he disagreed with the "send her back" chants and had tried to stop them. Asked why he didn't stop the chant, Mr. Trump claimed, "I think I did — I started speaking very quickly." But video of the rally showed that he made no attempts to interject and stop his supporters from chanting.
Omar, a freshman congresswoman who emigrated to the U.S. as a Somalian refugee, has been criticized by some in her own party, in particular, for her criticism of Israel.
"There is plenty to go after Ilhan Omar about, but you can do it within the boundaries, you can color within the lines," Alberta said. "He can do that without doing what he did last night."
Alberta said that Mr. Trump seemed "mechanically trained" to respond to his opponents using nativist or racist language.
"It's just a slam dunk that he knows galvanizes his supporters," Alberta said.
Alberta and Garrett also tackled other topics, including the evolution of the Republican Party, which Alberta said created the conditions for Mr. Trump to be elected, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan's fraught relationship with the president.
For more of Major's conversation with Tim Alberta, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
Producers: Arden Farhi, Katiana Krawchenko, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Alex Zuckerman, Eric Soussanin and Grace Segers
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
for more features.