14 | DIC | 2019
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit involving Trump University. (Photo: Special)

Democratic congressman Vela to Trump: "You are a racist"

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Several politicians have decried Trump's comments about the Mexican heritage of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit involving Trump University.

A Democratic congressman says Donald Trump's comments about the Mexican heritage of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit involving Trump University, show that the presumptive Republican nominee for president is a racist.

Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas says in an open letter Monday that Trump's "ignorant anti-immigrant opinions," border wall rhetoric and continued attacks on a sitting federal judge "are just plain despicable."

Vela, who represents a district along the U.S-Mexico border, says his great-great grandfather came to the U.S. in 1857 - well before Trump's ancestors.

Vela writes, "Mr. Trump you are a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it."

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond.

Also Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump should apologize for questioning the impartiality of Curiel.

In a pair of tweets Monday, the former GOP presidential candidate panned Trump's contention that Curiel cannot be fair in the lawsuits against Trump University, the target of two lawsuits in San Diego and one in New York that accuse the business of fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach secrets of success in real estate. Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied. Trump's legal team has not sought to have Curiel removed.

The presumptive Republican presidential candidate says that's because Curiel, who was born in Indiana, has parents who moved to the U.S. from Mexico. Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which he says puts Curiel in conflict with the lawsuits.

Kasich's posts said attacking judges based on their race is "another tactic that divides our country. More importantly, it is flat out wrong."

Kasich suspended his presidential campaign in May. He has refused to endorse Trump.

On Sunday a pair of powerful Senate Republicans Trump to drop his attacks on the Latino judge, joining the widespread rejection of their presumptive presidential nominee's treatment of the federal jurist. A third prominent Republican who also supports Trump urged the candidate to start acting like "a potential leader of the United States."

"We're all behind him now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned, adding that it's time for unifying the party, not "settling scores and grudges." "I hope he'll change his direction."

So far, Trump has refused, reiterating in interviews broadcast Sunday that Judge Curiel's Mexican heritage means he cannot ensure a fair trial. Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican-born parents - making him, in Trump's view, "a hater of Donald Trump."

"I don't condone the comments," added Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on ABC's "This Week."

And Newt Gingrich, who became speaker of the House promising to open the GOP more to minorities, delivered the harshest warning of all.

"This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made. I think it's inexcusable," Gingrich, a former presidential contender, said on "Fox News Sunday."

Their remarks solidify the line GOP leaders have drawn in recent days between themselves and Trump, with whom they've made a fragile peace over their shared sense that almost anyone would be a better president than Democrat Hillary Clinton.




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