McCaskill Axe Files
CNN  — 

Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said she’ll “fight anyone” who looks down on the people from her state of Missouri who voted for President Donald Trump.

“[Trump] tapped that vein of frustration and anger. And if somebody is frustrated and angry that they don’t think the world is giving them a fair shot based on their hard work, you need to listen to that and understand it, and not look down your nose at it and call them names and say they’re all racists or they’re all this or they’re all that, because it’s just not true,” McCaskill told David Axelrod on The Axe Files, a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

McCaskill acknowledges there may be some “bad apples,” but believes the majority of Trump voters from her state, unable to afford retirement or college tuition for their children, were just looking for a change.

“I know these people that voted for Donald Trump, and some of them I don’t care much for and don’t like much, but a whole bunch of them I get. And I hate it when people in Washington, especially people from bright blue states just said, ‘Well, the only people voting for Trump are stupid people.’ No that’s not true.”

While McCaskill is protective of her state’s Trump voters, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for her to be critical of Trump himself. In fact, her former colleagues from across the aisle gave her good reason to be.

“No less than a dozen Republicans have expressed to me everything from disbelief to sheer panic over this President and how he’s behaved in the Oval Office.”

Yet McCaskill is still hopeful for positive change and compromise, especially as the type of politician who was willing to “work in the middle” during her time in office.

“I’m happy to be part of a compromise to actually move the needle. Great ideas are great ideas and they move us in the right direction. But America has gotten pretty cynical about proposals that don’t happen. And that cynicism is what breeds an electoral result like Donald Trump.”