Via Mediaite. Between this and her criticism of him on Tuesday night, we can’t be more than 24 hours away from a new round of “Kelly’s a bimbo who’s bleeding out of her whatever” garbage.
I’m tempted to speculate that she’s being hard on him here to overcompensate for that softball game she played with him on her special a few weeks ago, but I think she’s on the level. The WSJ story she’s referencing went live just an hour or so before she went on the air, in fact. What you’re seeing below is rapid response, probably straight off the cuff. From the Journal:
Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attacks on the federal judge presiding over civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University, amid criticism from legal observers who say the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s comments are an unusual affront on an independent judiciary.
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.
If Curiel’s guilty of a conflict of interest by dint of ethnicity, so is any judge sitting in judgment of a defendant from a different race who’s engaged in political agitation. By Trump’s logic, a black activist could rightly demand a black judge for his own trial on the theory that a white judge would necessarily be biased. Philip Klein offers another hypothetical:
In this case, Trump can’t hide behind the excuse that he’s attacking an immigrant who snuck into this country illegally to push drugs and commit violence. In reality, he is attacking somebody who was born and raised in the heartland of America, and who as a prosecutor actually helped take down a leading Mexican drug cartel…
As an American Jew, I’m certainly familiar with the age old dual-loyalty smear. Though American Jews are supposed to somehow feel safe in Trump’s America, reassured as if Ivanka Trump were a modern day Queen Esther, Trump could just as easily be arguing that a Jewish judge is against him because he refuses to be beholden to Jewish donors. Or an American Asian judge is against him because he wants to get tough on China. Or an Irish Catholic judge is against him because of his attacks on Pope Francis. Effectively, anybody who isn’t a white Protestant of European ancestry can be a target of Trump’s ethnic and racial attacks.…
[I]t’s hard to think of anything more antithetical to the American Idea than the view that a child of immigrant parents who rises to become a federal judge cannot stand in judgment of a white American of European ancestry purely because of his parent’s national origins.
It’s probably the clearest example to date of Trump championing “identity politics for white people.” Even more revealing, Trump had an easier option available to him if he wanted to screech about bias: Curiel was appointed by Barack Obama, who also made Hillary Clinton Secretary of State. “The judge hates Trump University because he wants Democrats to win the election,” Trump could have claimed. That would have been unfair too but partisans of both sides routinely look at judges’ partisan affiliations in trying to gauge how they’ll rule, and at least it would have left race out of it. Instead he made a point of noting Curiel’s ethnic background. The man knows where his bread is buttered.
One other thing worth remembering: The Trump University litigation isn’t new. It’s been before Curiel since early 2014, more than a year before Trump declared his candidacy and started yammering about building the wall. If Trump can get Curiel removed from the trial for something Trump himself started talking about after litigation began, every defendant in every trial would have it within his power to create grounds for a judge’s recusal as needed. Are you being sued and don’t like the fact that the judge has ruled against you several times? Problem solved: Call a press conference, say something that offends members of his race, then file a motion of recusal insisting that the judge can’t help but be improperly biased against you now. Easy peasy. All it takes to engage in judge-shopping is no ethics whatsoever.
Exit question: Hasn’t Trump claimed that Latinos love him, despite all available evidence? Shouldn’t Curlel be biased in his favor?