CNN Focus Group: Is Trump In Trouble With Female Supporters?


How are the women who supported President Donald Trump at the polls reacting to his reaction of Rob Porter's assault allegations? CNN's Randi Kaye finds out.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Back to our top story, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisting that President Trump takes domestic violence very seriously. The President has not said those words himself. Instead he has tweeted suspicion over the "Me Too" movement and defended Rob Porter, the former aide accused of verbally and physically assaulting his two ex-wives. Porter of course has denied the accusations against him. The question tonight, will the women who supported the President at the polls now walk away or will this have any impact at all? Here's what our Randi Kaye found out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the President walked on water, the press would say he doesn't know how to swim. He's become a little bit, I guess, over criticized.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Republican women from Miami all support President Trump. And to say strongly would be an understatement. But what about this weekend's tweet about how people's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation? It was just right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, some are guilty, and some are not. And not every accuser is telling the truth. And I think that's important to know.

KAYE (voice-over): In his tweet, the President didn't mention Rob Porter by name, but he also failed to mention porter's two ex-wives, who claim they were physically abused by the now former White House aide.

(on-camera): Some might look at this tweet and say the President is dismissing Rob Porter's ex-wives.

MANLI CANCIO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that he's speaking generally. I think he's speaking from his own position as someone that has been accused, wrongfully accused. So I give him the benefit of the doubt.

KAYE (on-camera): Do you think the President's compassion may have been misguided.

[20:55:09] CLAUDIA MIRO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think that it means that he doesn't have compassion for women. I think that if you leave something out of a sentence, or you leave someone out, it doesn't mean that you're not thinking about them.

IRINA VILARINO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think that we're victimizing the President, if you will, by the sense that every single word, every single tweet that he puts out is being scrutinized to the last molecule. I think what he voiced is valid. Should we take the victims into consideration? Absolutely. But should lives be condemned without due process? Absolutely not.

KAYE (on-camera): So despite this tweet, you all do believe that he is a great supporter of women --



KAYE (on-camera): -- and stands up for women's issues?


KAYE (on-camera): As women, do you expect your President to be a voice for women?

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He's not my moral leader. He's not my marital counsel. He is our President, and he's doing a great job as President.

KAYE (on-camera): When you look at this picture, though, what do you all feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a terrible situation.



KAYE (on-camera): Should he have said from the start, in a tweet or elsewhere, that there is no place for domestic violence in our culture, in our society?

MIRO: I think that what he said was what he was feeling at the moment, and that was what came -- you know, and that was enough.

KAYE (voice-over): If these women could get an audience with the President about publicly addressing matters of sexual abuse or assault, most say they'd tell him not to change a thing, though one had this piece of advice.

VILARINO: Maybe he should tweet, domestic violence is never tolerated. Me too. Maybe he should do that.

KAYE (on-camera): Are you joking, or are you serious?

VILARINO: Well, no. In part I'm joking. In part, I'm serious. But listen, we're never going to make everybody 100% happy.


VILARINO: Unfortunately that's just the truth of the matter.


KAYE: And Anderson, only one of the women that we spoke with today actually thought the President perhaps should have shown a little more consideration towards Rob Porter's two ex-wives, but they all agree that this reason that the President talked only and tweeted only about Rob Porter is because he knows Rob Porter. Porter worked for him. They said he doesn't know these two ex-wives, so why would he be tweeting about them? The women also said that it's not the President's place to play judge and jury in an investigation and in a situation like this.

And, Anderson, I also asked these women about the fact that the President has supported other men who have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault such as Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, and also Roy Moore of the Alabama Senate race. And they said to me the only reason they believe the President supported Roy Moore was for the good of the party, so he could hold on to that Republican Senate seat despite these disgusting allegations against him. They said that was only for the good of the party, Anderson.

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