During a campaign rally in San Diego on Friday, Trump personally attacked the federal judge overseeing the case in which he’s accused of defrauding students through his failed Trump University venture, calling the judge “a hater” and a “very hostile” person who had “railroaded” him then adding a jab that the judge is Mexican.
That was moments after the crowd was chanting Trump’s mantra to “build that wall.”
“Everybody says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Trump said. “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s doing this. The judge, who happens to be, we believe, MexicanI think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump.”
Trump’s outburst followed U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s order on Friday to unseal materials, including Trump University procedures that had previously been published and described by a previous judge as “routine” and “commonplace.” A class-action lawsuit accuses Trump University of misleading thousands of people who paid up to $35,000 for seminars to learn about real estate investment strategies. A separate suit was filed by the New York attorney general.
The Wall Street Journaldescribedthe tirade as “one of his most personal attacks against an apolitical figure since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.”
Curiel, incidentally, was born in Indiana to immigrant parents. He worked for several years as a criminal prosecutor before being appointed a federal judge by President Barack Obama.
After verbally attacking the judge, Trump on Memorial Day continued his comments on Twitter:
“I have a judge in the Trump University civil case, Gonzalo Curiel (San Diego), who is very unfair. An Obama pick. Totally biased-hates Trump”
“I should have easily won the Trump University case on summary judgement (sic) but have a judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who is totally biased against me.”
Meanwhile, a Trump spokeswoman on Monday suggested Curiel’s membership in a Latino lawyers association not only makes him biased against Trump, but also connects him to “criminal rallies” and “criminal protesters.”
Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson appeared on CNN’s New Day and criticized Curiel for being a member of the La Raza Lawyer’s Association.
“I think what’s really interesting about this particular judge as Mr. Trump refers to him as a ‘Trump hater’ is he even mentions on his judicial questionnaire that he was a La Raza Lawyers Association member,” Pierson said. “This is an organization that has been out there organizing anti-Trump protesters with the Mexican flags they are pushing it. The signs have been very apparent. And so Mr. Trump is just stating the obvious.”
New Day host Alisyn Camerota replied that Curiel is actual U.S.-born and asked “Why’s [Trump] saying he’s Mexican What’s the point”
At first Pierson said Trump only said “we believe” Curiel is Mexican, but then added,”Well, it’s because of what we see outside of these rallies, these anti-Trump rallies, these criminal rallies, these criminal protesters out there defacing property and attacking police officers. They’re doing so under the guise of an anti-Trump protest, with their Mexican flags, and La Raza and this judge is connected to that.”
In his order to unseal the materials Friday, Curiel not only noted Trump’s position as the likely GOP candidate but also his attacks on the judge, saying Trump “has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.”
Legal experts have said Trump’s conduct could be subject to sanction for indirect criminal contempt of court for impugning the honesty of the judge in a pending case.