Trump finally got the message that his comments about Judge Curiel’s “Mexican heritage” were not helping him. After a conference call in which he reportedly asked surrogates to go on the attack, last night Trump appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show and recanted what he had said previously, telling O’Reilly, “I don’t care if the judge is Mexican or not.”
The interview opened with O’Reilly asking Trump, “Do you regret making it personal with the judge?” “Look, I’ve had very, very unfair decisions, people have said this should have gone away a long time ago on summary judgment,” Trump replied. He added, “The plaintiff in the case was an absolute disaster for them and they asked whether or not…they went to the judge and they asked whether the plaintiff could get out of the case.”
“I mean, she said all great things about the school. She has a tape of her saying great things and she has a written statement signed by her saying great things and the judge dismissed her from the case but left the case stand. We thought we were going to win the case.”
Trump concluded saying, “I don’t care if the judge is Mexican or not. I’m going to do great with the Mexican people because I provide jobs, so I don’t care about Mexican.”
Asked by O’Reilly why he didn’t just say that in the first place Trump replied, “Well the question was asked to me.” For the record, that’s not true, at least not initially. Politico reported last month that Trump attacked Judge Curiel as “Mexican” at a rally in San Diego (the judge is American). Then, last Thursday, Trump told the Wall Street Journal the judge had a conflict of interest because of his “Mexican heritage.” A day later Trump was asked about those comments by Jake Tapper and chose to double down rather than walk them back.