It seems like an old song with a new verse: Republicans and others are condemning presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump — again — for something foul that Trump said.
This time Trump has challenged the competence, fairness and impartiality of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a Democrat and a 2011 nominee of President Barack Obama to the federal bench. None of that bothers Trump.
His trigger is that Curiel is Latino whose parents were Mexican immigrants. Curiel is presiding over two lawsuits against Trump University from plaintiffs, contending that they were tricked into believing that they would gain Trump’s real estate know-how from the billionaire real estate developer’s handpicked instructors. The lawsuits contend that nothing could be further from the truth.
Trump denies the claims and is fighting the suits in court.
However, Trump charges that Curiel has a conflict of interest in hearing the case because Curiel is Hispanic. In his campaign for president, Trump has repeatedly advocated building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and having Mexico pay for it. He also has said he plans to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants from the United States.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he disagreed with Trump over the Indiana-born judge. House Speaker Paul Ryan also thought Trump was wrong to jump on the judge.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on “Fox News Sunday” counts the attack on the judge among the worst mistakes Trump has made.
What Republicans and Democrats need to do is to flip what Trump said and ask whether a white judge could be impartial toward Trump because both Trump and the judge are white. People like Curiel sit in the judge’s chair because of their education and their personal and professional experience and performance.
Curiel is exceptional on all fronts. He is as a former federal prosecutor, San Diego County Superior Court judge appointed by then Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and federal judge.
Only a bigot like Trump would think otherwise.
Curiel has declined to comment on Trump’s offensive comments.
Trump’s comments about Curiel, however, are likely to get discounted by his supporters just like his previous verbal assaults against Hispanics, women, people with disabilities, Muslims, immigrants, refugees and even Pope Francis.
Keep in mind that Trump did attract support from white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and took way too long to try to distance himself from it.
Mainstream Republicans are right to be concerned about the image Trump is creating for the party. Backing him means being OK with racism, sexism, elitism and bigotry of the worst kind.
That’s not what any American with a conscience should want in the White House.