Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” MSNBC anchor and NBC chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raising concerns in the Trump University case over U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage “is blatantly racist.”
Partial transcript as follows:
CHUCK TODD: Andrea, let me start with this issue of all things having to do with Trump and this federal judge. First of all, he has been attacking this judge based on ethnicity since February. Take a look.
DONALD TRUMP: I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He’s Hispanic, which is fine. I think he’s been very, very unfair with us. I think the judge has been extremely unfair. The judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace. He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.
CHUCK TODD: Just to get this on the record, his attorneys have not filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Exactly.
CHUCK TODD: So the rhetoric doesn’t match the actions.
ANDREA MITCHELL: You have to think that what he’s they’d to do, perhaps if there’s a strategy here, is to force the judge to take himself off, saying that this has now become too political. The judge, under the ethics rules, is not allowed to argue back. He can’t defend himself in the public arena. He can hold Donald Trump in contempt. He’s got a lot of other weapons. But people in the judicial conference, people in the judiciary, are horrified by this. Constitutional scholars are concerned. People who have not criticized Donald Trump are saying that this questions the separation of powers. And it is blatantly racist. There is no other way to describe going after this judge– based on his ethnicity.
RON FOURNIER: Of course this is not a legal strategy, it’s a political strategy. He’s moved beyond the dog whistle. This is a racist bullhorn to tell the rest of America that, “If you’re not white and you’re not a Christian, you can’t judge me.”
REP. DONNA EDWARDS: Well, and the fact is that the lawyers haven’t filed a motion for recusal because there is no basis to file that motion. You cannot move to recuse a judge because the judge is of Mexican descent. He’s an American. He’s a judge. And Donald Trump is trying to litigate his case in the public on the presidential campaign it’s ridiculous.
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