Oprah Winfrey Leads Heated Debate on Trump for First '60 Minutes' Segment
She is serving as a special correspondent for the show, for which she talked to 14 Americans about how they feel about the president — and the results are decidedly mixed.
Oprah Winfrey headed to Michigan for her first story as a special correspondent for CBS' 60 Minutes, which aired Sunday night as part of the show's 50th-season premiere.
For her report on the "divided" nation, Winfrey and CBS News' Frank Luntz assembled a group of 14 residents of the state — chosen because of its "pivotal role" in the 2016 presidential election — to get their thoughts on the Trump administration.
Half voted for Donald Trump, half did not. Predictably, the panelists were divided in their opinions of Trump himself. One male named Tom, for example, said that "every day, I love him more and more. Every single day. I still don't like his attacks, his Twitter attacks, if you will, on other politicians. I don't think that's appropriate. But, at the same time, his actions speak louder than words. And I love what he's doing to this country."
Meanwhile, a woman named Jennifer said she thinks he's a "horrible president." She argued that "he's divided our nation more than it has ever been. And then when he's on teleprompter, he's sane. I'm like, 'That's great. That's great. That's a good message.' But when he's off teleprompter, I feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel sick to my stomach. And I think that we look like we're a joke to other foreign leaders. It's an embarrassment."
Winfrey also brought up the investigation into Russian collusion in the election. A panelist named Paul said he's tired of hearing about the issue, while another named Tim argued that it was a "foreign attack on our country." To which a man named Jeff interrupted, saying, "Spare us the fake outrage."
Also brought up was Trump's widely criticized response to the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was killed at a white supremacist rally, to which the president stated that "there was an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."
Once again, the panelists were mixed in their reactions, and the debate got heated. "Now what's wrong with that?" Laura asked. Added Tom, "The KKK wasn't fighting with the KKK. There were two groups."
On the other hand, Kailee argued, "Many sides did not kill that woman." And Lauren said, "If we don't fight hate speech, it's a slippery slope to hate crimes."
Responded Matt: "The First Amendment protects all speech, whether you like it or not." Countered Kim, "There needs to be a limitation on freedom of speech." "If it incites hate," Tim agreed.
Another issue, that of Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, also drew heated debate. Kailee argued that discriminating against transgender people is akin to the ban on allowing African-Americans and gay people in the military.
"No, this is completely different. This is a choice. Nobody chose to be gay or black," Matt said, which drew swift opposition from Kailee and Jennifer: "You do not choose to be a transgender!"
Looking to the future, Laura said she's fearful of another civil war, to which many agreed, and others said they don't see an end to the division in the country. Kailee argued that politicians in Washington need to start communicating with one another to bridge the divide.
Added Paul on a more optimistic note: "We got to come together and find a way. But I'm hopeful for the future. ... If people will just get a little common sense and settle down a little bit and start talking things out, we can work things out."
Did the president draw a moral equivalence between the groups that protested in Charlottesville? These voters are divided pic.twitter.com/UvSwkEaVfF— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 25, 2017