Trump’s personal, racially tinged attacks on federal judge alarm legal experts

Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for Trump, has expanded on the accusations of bias, wrongly suggesting Curiel is part of a group organizing protests at Trump rallies around California. Curiel is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, a professional group that she appeared to confuse with the National Council of La Raza, an advocacy group.

Luis Osuna, the president of the lawyers association, said the group is not an advocacy group and supports candidates on both sides of the aisle. He said Trump’s attempts to discredit Curiel should give voters serious pause, not least because his comments reduce Hispanics in the legal profession to their heritage.

“Every time there is a comment like this, it is disheartening,” Osuna said. “It is not, unfortunately, surprising, given the source of the comments. But it displays a complete lack of understanding of the role that we have as attorneys and judges and the role that we have in upholding the Constitution.”

“He’s definitely using it as a dog whistle to his supporters,” he added. “Obviously, I don’t know what is in his heart. I can only judge based on the way he has acted in the past, but this has been a recurring theme in his campaign.”