Reddit Flipboard One year into Donald Trump's presidency, Americans remain divided, often unwilling to listen to what the other side has to say. It's happening in families, among friends and at the workplace. We witnessed that schism first-hand last fall when we went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and gathered 14 people - seven who voted for Mr. Trump, seven who did not - for a wide-ranging discussion about politics, policy and the president himself.
To mark President Trump's first year in office we decided to repeat the experiment. We never intended to go back to Grand Rapids. But then we learned that, after disagreeing on virtually everything, our group stayed in close touch.
Members from opposite sides of the divide actually became friends, organizing outings and talking every day in a private facebook chat group. All of that made us want to go back. Can we please come together and at least give this president a chance?
Fourteen passionately partisan strangers. Now, they greet each other like old friends. Lauren Taylor, a liberal community organizer, and Tom Nemcek, a staunch libertarian and supporter of President Trump, couldn't be farther apart politically.
But they took the initiative to bring the group together. Tom, a gun rights advocate, took members of the group shooting. Matt Wiedenhoeft — a Trump supporter who teaches economics and coaches a hockey team at Grand Valley State University — invited them to a Saturday night game.
And nearly the entire group turned out for what they call a team-building workout organized by Jennifer Allard, a lifelong Republican who says she couldn't bring herself to vote for Donald Trump.
Wesley Watson, a community health activist, was there. So was Daniel Skidmore, a conservative and first-time voter. And Maggie Ryan, a lawyer and self-described independent. When we first met, there were some of you who had said, you know, you'd never been in conversations, certainly engagement, with members of the opposite side, political side.
So has that changed for you now? Because now I'm looking at them as people, not as you're Trump or not Trump. This has been an incredible experience and an education for me. This never, ever happens. A few weeks ago, we re-assembled the group— a cross-section of voters selected for us by conservative pollster Frank Luntz. I was surprised that they stayed together because there was every reason, based on the conversation, that they would pull themselves apart.
But what I liked about it is that they came to respect each other, appreciate each other, and live each other's lives to some degree so that they could empathize.
That was a laboratory. They may know each other a lot better now, but their political views have not changed, especially when it comes to President Trump. How many people here voted for him? Just to remind everybody. And how many of you would vote for him again?
You would vote for him again? Since meeting each other last fall, the 14 partisan voters have kept in touch and become friends CBS News Daniel: I feel like he cares more about me than the last president did. He cares about issues affecting my day-to-day life more. Like, the tax cuts. That'll increase my bottom line. So the tax plan, do you feel, are you gonna personally benefit from that? I calculated I'll benefit from it. Tom, you said the quote that was so memorable the last time, I love him more and more every day.
Do you still feel that? Do you still send a check every time he does something that you approve of? When he fulfills a campaign promise, yes I do. And Matt, you said something the last time like, he speaks for us or speaks like us. He speaks like everybody else does. I'm bringin' jobs back. I'm worried about America first. And that's what I'm gonna do. He's kept every promise he started because he said it. What he means is he doesn't speak like a politician.
Over the last few weeks our president have made comments about Haitians and… Maggie: Were you guys in the room? Were you in the room? Okay, because there's three people who were in that room who said he never said this. The room was the Oval Office, where in a meeting about immigration, the president reportedly used profanity to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, while praising Norway.
You think he made the comment? Yeah, I think he made the comment. I think all presidents have made a comment behind closed doors that wasn't reported-- Oprah Winfrey: Okay, can I just say something? It's not about the swearing. I expect every politician to say that. It's the fact that he demeaned an entire race or a country. And if our president, who we — I respect the office, and I expect and demand better actions than that.
It's, obviously Irish people aren't discriminated against now, but, like, they were for a really long time. And you can't say something about a country that then applies to all the people coming from it. I can see him using the language. But you guys at times you need to look at the man you're talkin' about.
This man looks at one lens, through one lens and all. It's an economic lens. He did not look at this as people in those countries, in my opinion. He did not say the Haitian people or the people of Africa. He said, "Those countries. If you're talking about… Matt, if you're talking about the country, you're talking about the people in the country. When he's talking about Norway or Norwegians, he's talking about Norwegians. Sometimes I think Trump, just met with Norway and that was the first thing he thought of, 'cause, he said some things that are weird.
Okay, so polls are showing that respect for the United States is eroding around the world. Do you care what the world thinks of the United States? How many people believe China's sittin' at home right now and they're like, "Man I wonder if I make this decision will it hurt the U. The only country in this world that asks that question is us.
I work with global students that wanna come to the United States. Well, ever since Trump got elected in , the numbers of incoming global students have gone down. They do not feel safe. What are they afraid of? They're afraid of how they're being, they're gonna be treated. I mean look turn on the news. I feel safer now than I ever did the last eight years of Obama.
How do you feel safer? Tell me how you feel safer? Spare me the fake outrage! Obama always said Merry Christmas. I don't think Laura has fake outrage but like, I do think some of the things that you believe, I don't think really make that much sense. Like, I don't think Obama's a Muslim.
Let her finish telling us why she feels safer. Safer means that I'm not gonna have regulations after regulations after regulations that are gonna outdo my budget. I don't make any money. So when I mean I don't make, I probably make less than anyone at this table. You know, my heat bills go up.