Trump: Mexican American Judge Has an ‘Absolute Conflict’

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Was Donald Trump’s racist suggestion last week that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an American of Mexican descent, could not fairly preside over a lawsuit about so-called Trump University simply an off-the-cuff remark? If so, Trump seems to have decided to go with it. The Wall Street Journal reports:

In an interview, Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Mr. Trump said.

Perhaps one reason Trump lashed out at Curiel once more was the release of documents from the case on Tuesday, which painted Trump University in an unflattering light.

(h/t The Atlantic)

Reality

Donald Trump’s claim that a person can not perform their job for the singular reason because their heritage is a textbook example of a racist quote.

The Republican candidate’s insistence that Gonzalo Curiel cannot preside impartially simply because of his ethnic heritage flies in the face of established precedent. Trump’s claim is irrelevant, as ethnicity plays no apparent role in the Trump University case. His argument also sits in uncomfortable contradiction to his prior claims that “the Latinos love me.”

Trump’s statement is troubling for a variety of reasons. Curiel was born in Indiana to parents who had immigrated from Mexico, and Trump has referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals. But the case at hand involves an allegedly fraudulent series of real-estate seminars Trump set up—in other words, it has nothing to do with ethnicity whatsoever. He has discovered that by grossly insulting a group to which a judge (sort of) belongs, he can then argue that the judge is tainted. As Peter Beinart of The Atlantic, among other observers, has pointed out, Trump’s demand that an unblemished judge step down from the case amounts to an attack on the independence of the American judiciary.

(Editor’s Note: Today is a short day so the ‘reality’ section is from our cited source and not our own.)

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