Many top officials in the Republican Party are getting queasy over their presumptive nominee’s recent remarks regarding the judge presiding over his upcoming Trump University fraud trial, with comparisons being drawn between Trump and the 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
Republicans disavowed Trump’s comments (while still supporting him), which conjured up memories of the 1964 election. At this time, Goldwater turned the African American population away from the GOP. Goldwater openly opposed the Civil Rights Act and also said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” His rhetoric drove Black voters away from the Republican Party and, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the effects are still here today.
“There were a lot of other virtues — and in many ways I hated what happened in Johnson’s second term, but it did define our party for at least African American voters,” he said. “We’ve never been able to get them back.”
When asked by Jake Tapper in an interview last week if he believes Trump will do to Latinos what Goldwater did to Blacks, McConnell said, “I do. I do.”
McConnell himself admitted that he could not vote for Goldwater because of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act. Goldwater ultimately lost the election to President Lyndon B. Johnson. McConnell believes Trump is making errors similar to those of Goldwater.
“And I think the attacks that he’s routinely engaged in, for example, going after Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico, the chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, I think, was a big mistake,” he added.
But during an interview with “Meet the Press,” McConnell evaded numerous questions asking if Trump’s comments were racist.
“I think the party of Lincoln wants to win the White House. The right-of-center world needs to respect the fact that the primary voters have spoken,” he said.
Some of the party’s other heavyweights, including possible VP candidate Newt Gingrich and current Speaker Paul Ryan, condemned Trump’s comments, too, but would not withdraw support.
Only one day after endorsing Trump, Ryan called Trump’s rhetoric a “textbook definition of a racist comment” and “absolutely unacceptable.” However, while he finds he has maintained he will continue to support his party’s presumptive nominee.
“I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than we do with [Hillary Clinton],” he said.
Gingrich referred to his potential running mate’s comment as “one of the worst mistakes” — but halted before calling it a racist remark.
Gingrich also pointed out that Trump’s grandparents were German immigrants. It is also noted that Trump’s mother was born in Scotland. Trump claims that Judge Curiel is passionate about his heritage and biased because his parents were born in Mexico.
Representatives of the Trump campaign call the controversial comments “no reason to celebrate, but no reason to panic.” Another representative laughed when asked if campaign officials can talk to Trump about watching what he says.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) recently withdrew his Trump endorsement, saying, “Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat who is challenging Kirk for the Senate, questioned, “What took so long”
Trump’s barrage against Judge Curiel began during a May 31 campaign rally in San Diego, at which time Trump defined the class action lawsuit Trump University as a “disgrace” and a product of a “rigged system.”
During the rant he singled out Judge Curiel, who according to Trump should not have the case because he believes Curiel is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage. Trump cited his plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as reason for Curiel, who was born in Indiana, to have a conflict of interest.