Heilemann: Trump’s Attack on Judge ‘Huge Mistake’ — ‘Poured Gasoline’ All Over Fire

Monday on Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect,” while discussing the controversy over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raising concerns in the Trump University case over U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage, host John Heilemann said Trump “lit a fire in a house” and that he “poured gasoline all over himself and walked into the house.”

Answering how much damage this is doing to Trump’s candidacy, co-host Mark Halperin said, “A ton, as well as to the Republican party, from his donors to his congressional supporters and to the congressional leadership to conservatives who were on the fence about him. His remarks have been correctly attacked by everyone. They don’t like the politics. They don’t like what he said. They feel he is putting them all in a very a bad position. You have editorial boards from local papers writing stories, wanting to know where the local officials stand. This is, as Newt Gingrich said, about the worst thing he’s done politically, substantively, and based on what he said on this call today, based on what he said on Fox, he didn’t do what I thought he would do, which is try to un-ring the bell a little. The damage has been done to a large extent.”

Heilemann added, “He lit a fire in a house. He stoked the fire in the house. Then he poured gasoline all over himself and walked into the house. And now is standing on top of the house trying to get a hold of more gasoline somewhere to make the fire bigger. I was at a event this weekend in Nashville, TN, with a huge bunch of lawyers. Republicans and Democrats alike —lawyers one and all. Not a political group, some are Democrats and some Republicans. All horrified, horrified, outraged —normal people, professionals in the South, some Democrats some Republicans  — all horrified by this display. Not just in the notion of it’s racist and racially charged context, but just the attack on the independent judiciary. If you are losing your own party leadership, people who are likely in many cases came to endorse, who are now feeling forced to criticize you with the strongest terms possible. And people like that, the people I was talking to this weekend, all mortified. This is a big — I mean you can’t overstate how big a huge mistake this is and he’s just making it worse. Just today day he said he intended to keep doing it.”

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