Did Former AG Alberto Gonzales just throw Trump a lifeline on the “Mexican Judge” flap?
posted at 7:21 am on June 6, 2016 by Larry O'Connor
By now you know that Donald Trump has thrown away any chance of being president because he raised a judge’s ethnicity when questioning whether he was getting a fair trial in a class-action suit against Trump University.
Here’s video of the moment Hillary Clinton won the presidency, apparently:
(Grand Old) Party’s over, right?
While most of the Beltway media, Democrats and Republican establishment figures sing in tone-deaf unison condemning Trump’s challenge of Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ability to fairly rule in the Trump University case due to his ethnicity, one Republican has stepped forward to argue that the presumptive GOP may have a point.
Former White House Counsel and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales penned an op/ed in the Washington Post titled “Trump has a right to ask if Judge Gonzalo Curiel is fair” and he presents a detailed case:
But there may be other factors to consider in determining whether Trump’s concerns about getting an impartial trial are reasonable. Curiel is, reportedly, a member of a group called La Raza Lawyers of San Diego. Trump’s aides, meanwhile, have indicated that they believe Curiel is a member of the National Council of La Raza, a vocal advocacy organization that has vigorously condemned Trump and his views on immigration. The two groups are unaffiliated, and Curiel is not a member of NCLR. But Trump may be concerned that the lawyers’ association or its members represent or support the other advocacy organization. Coupled with that question is the fact that in 2014, when he certified the class-action lawsuit against Trump, Curiel appointed the Robbins Geller law firm to represent plaintiffs. Robbins Geller has paid $675,000 in speaking fees since 2009 to Trump’s likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Curiel appointed the firm in the case before Trump entered the presidential race, but again, it might not be unreasonable for a defendant in Trump’s position to wonder who Curiel favors in the presidential election. These circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered. Regardless of the way Trump has gone about raising his concerns over whether he’s getting a fair trial, none of us should dismiss those concerns out of hand without carefully examining how a defendant in his position might perceive them — and we certainly should not dismiss them for partisan political reasons.
Gonzales (himself an American of Mexican descent) went on to explain that if Trump’s criticism of Curiel is solely based on his ethnicity, voters will take that “into account in deciding whether he is fit to be president.” However:
“If Trump is acting from a sincere motivation to protect his constitutional right to a fair trial, his willingness to exercise his rights as an American citizen and raising the issue even in the face of severe criticism is surely also something for voters to consider.”
So, is this just the kind of lifeline Trump needs to paddle out of the deep, shark-infested waters he now finds himself swimming in? Maybe.
The presumptive GOP nominee was quick to highlight the article on his very active Twitter account:
Thank you Attorney General Gonzales, so many people feel this way. https://t.co/fMR8YYiiMz
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2016
But many Republicans still aren’t convinced.
As these things go, we should expect another day or so of reporters and pundits going nuts over Trump’s words, despite Gonzales’ sober analysis. And that makes sense. The fact is, Gonzales can be absolutely correct that Trump, as a defendant in a law suit, has the right to question the impartiality of the Judge’s rulings. However, Gingrich et. al. could also be correct that as a presidential candidate, Trump is held to a slightly higher standard in his public utterances, even if he “has the right” to utter them.
How does this play out? Ultimately, Trump may find a way to walk back the remarks, or people will get bored and move on.
However, isn’t it instructive to note that it has became part of a media narrative (and therefore an undeniable truth) that critics of President Obama were motivated by their bigotry and hatred toward America’s first black president? In fact, critics of the president’s Obamacare and the stimulus package and amnesty for illegal immigrants and government by Executive Order and attempts to infringe on the 2nd amendment have been told for years that they are just reaching their deeply held political beliefs merely as a result of their white skin color and their prejudice against a black man.
The president, himself, has said that much of the opposition he faces is due to racism:
Now, when Trump raises an alarm over what he believes to be biased decisions against him motivated by a judge’s ethnicity (not race, ethnicity) it’s the end of the world. Double standard much?