The guy was born in Indiana and was marked for death by Mexican drug-runners because he prosecuted members of their cartel. Now he’s a Mexican because he’s been issuing rulings that Trump doesn’t like.
The clip below plays like a “Who’s on First?” routine except instead of “Third base!” the punchline is “He’s a Mexican.” Trump fans have been tweeting today that it’s not Curiel’s Mexican ancestry per se that’s a problem, it’s that he’s a member of a “La Raza” lawyers’ group — not the National Council of La Raza, a longtime antagonist of border hawks, but a different group using a similar name (they deny that the term “La Raza” is meant literally) which, among other things, has given at least one scholarship to an illegal immigrant. Curiel’s problem is political bias, in other words, not racial bias. Even if true, that’s a tough argument to make as grounds for recusal in a case that doesn’t touch on immigration; Antonin Scalia’s conservative politics were no secret, for instance, but you wouldn’t have gotten far as a liberal appellant insisting that he couldn’t be fair in your appeal. But here’s the thing: Trump isn’t really making that “political bias” argument. He barely mentions the lawyers’ group, flagging it only once when Tapper wonders if all judges with Mexican ancestry are now unqualified to preside over trials involving Trump’s interests, and he says about it is that it’s “very pro-Mexico.” The point he keeps hammering is the basic fact of Curiel’s heritage, as though having Mexican parents necessarily makes him cool to Trump’s agenda. Trump’s building a wall; lots of Mexican-Americans don’t like that; Curiel’s a “Mexican.” QED. How many white liberals on the bench, I wonder, are soft on illegal immigration? Are they unqualified to hear cases involving Trump too or are they okay by dint of their whiteness?
The weirdest thing about this is that it’s seemingly all downside politically. There’s a business upside if the pressure he’s trying to put on Curiel leads to more favorable rulings in the case, but the trial won’t begin until after the election. He’s not going to be vindicated in the Trump University matter before anyone votes, and meanwhile convincing people that Curiel’s in the tank doesn’t do anything to rebut the former Trump U staffers and clients who’ve been badmouthing the program. Meanwhile, just a day after he finally endorsed Trump, Paul Ryan had to turn around today and run away from him over his jabs at the judge. Newspapers are running apocalyptic stories about Trump’s threat to the rule of law — mighty ironic given the “leftists gone wild” pageant in San Jose last night, but still — and reporters like Tapper are stroking their chins about it on cable news. It’s nothing but bad press on a topic which most voters would ignore entirely if not for the fact that Trump is thrusting it in front of him. (And why would he want to call their attention to anything involving Trump University in the first place?) In fact, if you believe NBC, Trump’s own staff can’t figure out why he’d go on like this:
NEW: Trump aides not happy with Trump's attack on Judge Curiel impartiality, telling me “these are the things that will defeat us."
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) June 3, 2016
If you’re staring a dangerously wide deficit with Latino voters this November, the obvious move is to demagogue the “Mexican” judge. Even if you don’t care about any of this on the merits, a day spent talking about this is a day not spent hammering Hillary, who’s facing a humiliation on the way to her coronation next week if Sanders upsets her in California. Why not talk about that? Or about the left-wing cretins who beat on his fans outside the rally last night? If you’re trying to convince voters that the left is a threat to law and order in America, you’ll do better making an example of the scumbag throwing eggs at a Trump supporter with one hand while holding a Mexican flag with the other than you will with the Hoosier judge who locked up drug dealers from across the border. Good lord. What is the strategy here?
Exit question: Between his preoccupation with his civil case and the bizarre-yet-true fact that he’s taking time from the campaign to open a golf resort in a few weeks, is this guy more worried about winning the election or about his business interests?
"Donald Trump is apparently of German heritage. What does that mean?" Clinton tells @abc7elex about judge comments
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) June 3, 2016