Oprah Winfrey examined a polarized nation through the eyes of 14 Americans from diverse backgrounds during her first 60 Minutes segment as a special correspondent.
In a segment titled “Divided,” aired Sunday as part of the show’s 50th season premiere, Winfrey spoke to a panel of seven people who voted for President Trump and seven who did not in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The panel included a farmer, a drug counselor, a speech therapist, a former GM factory worker, a sales manager, and others, and they weighed in on such contentious topics as Trump’s presidency, his response to the unrest Charlottesville, his tweeting, the Russia investigation, and the health care debate.
“I want to know from everyone around the table,” Winfrey said, “how do you think Donald Trump is doing as president of the United States today?”
The responses contrasted sharply, and set the tone for the rest of the discussion.
“I love it,” one panelist said. “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. Love it.”
“I feel like he’s a horrible president,” another panelist said of Trump. “And he’s divided our nation more than it has ever been. And then when he’s on teleprompter, he’s sane, I mean, 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.”
At one point, the panelists were asked to describe their idea of the typical Trump voter in one word. “Frustrated,” one said. “Angry,” said another. Other responses included “fed up,” “misinformed,” and “wounded.”
One thing the panelists seemed to agree on was Trump’s use of Twitter. “I don’t like the tweets,” one said.
“It’s not about using it, it’s about how he uses it,” a fellow panelist chimed in. A third noted that then-President Obama never used Twitter “to announce policy that should be discussed behind closed doors and vetted.”
The segment concluded with expressions of both despair and cautious hope for the future. “Unfortunately, as wonderful as this has been, I think that we’re going to be just as divided,” one panelist said. “I’m even fearing civil war.”
Another panelist said he’s hopeful. “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,” he said.
60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on CBS.