Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, under a torrent of criticism for repeatedly saying that a federal judge overseeing lawsuits against Trump University should have recused himself because of his ethnic background, said Tuesday that he no longer plans to talk about the matter.
In a lengthy written statement issued Thursday afternoon, Trump made no apology for his remarks. He said it is “unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent.”
He concluded: “While this lawsuit should have been dismissed, it is now scheduled for trial in November. I do not intend to comment on this matter any further. With all of the thousands of people who have given the courses such high marks and accolades, we will win this case!”
Trump also said in his statement that he does not “feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”
Trump has made repeated comments arguing that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over fraud lawsuits against his Trump University education business, should have recused himself because “he’s a Mexican.” Trump has said that his desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico was in conflict with the judge’s ethnic background; Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents.
Many Republicans and Democrats have criticized the remarks. Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that “claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Sean Sullivan