Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments about the Mexican heritage of U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel , who is presiding over lawsuits against Trump Universality, were “textbook racism” and that they “will affect” down-ballot races.
Partial transcript as follows:
TODD: Can you ever envision being comfortable supporting Donald Trump?
FLAKE: I’m not comfortable now. It is more difficult for me to imagine that I will be comfortable coming up. We have had since we last spoke certainly the comment on the judge, born in Indiana who Donald Trump referred to as a Mexican judge. That’s extremely troubling. It makes all of us wonder if he can turn around, if he can act like a candidate needs to act to win a general election.
TODD: He hasn’t apologized for it. Do you believe by the way it was a racism statement?
FLAKE: I agree with Paul Ryan’s definition. i don’t know how else you can characterize it other than saying that it’s textbook racism. now, I just don’t know how else you can define it.
TODD: Do you believe there should be an effort — there is more than a month before the convention — that there is one last effort to — for delegates to decide whether this is the right path to take with Donald Trump?
FLAKE: I doubt that that will gain any speed or currency. It’s pretty much too late at this point to envision another candidate.
TODD: Should it though?
FLAKE: If these comments continue , or if Donald Trump refuses to apologize or to acknowledge that there’s a problem with these kinds of statements, then, yes, I think there should be. But iIm not holding my breath.
TODD: Take me in the room earlier in the week. It certainly seems to me — I can tell from Mitch McConnell’s comments, they got tougher on Trump as the week went on. I take it many of your colleagues in the Senate Republican conference, not just a handful, are very frustrated about Donald Trump.
FLAKE: We are. This will affect the down ballot races in the Senate and the House and everywhere. It really has an impact. I ran in 2012. There were some other senate candidates making statements that we didn’t agree with. That affected our races. I can’t imagine how it would be to have the top of the ticket, our standard bearer, our nominee making these kinds of statements. So it’s very troubling to those of us who are down ballot. I’m grateful that I’m not running this year.
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