Since 2013, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has been at the center of three lawsuits alleging that his Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University, was a colossal fraud that according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, bilked more than 5,000 people out of as much as $35,000 each.
As May gave way to June, Donald Trump repeatedly directed barbs at U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the case. During a campaign rally in San Diego, California, Trump declared:
“The trial is going to take place sometime in November. There should be no trial. This should have been dismissed on summary judgment easily. 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. And he is not doing the right thing, and I figure what the hell, why not talk about it for two minutes.
“The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine. You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs, OK?
“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself. I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK? But we’ll come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I’m president and I come back to do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. OK. This is called life, folks.”
Trump also took to Twitter to slam Curiel.
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2016
Even though I have a very biased and unfair judge in the Trump U civil case in San Diego, I have thousands of great reviews & will win case!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2016
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump, ever the reactionary bigot, made a racially motivated indictment of Judge Curiel’s integrity.
“I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
Oddly enough, though Donald Trump has declared that Mexico sends “drugs, crime and rapists” to the United States, Judge Curiel, who was born in East Chicago, Indiana to Mexican parents, not only prosecuted Central American drug traffickers caught at the border, he also was targeted by a Mexican cartel for exactly that, and had to live in hiding as a result.
Therefore, for Donald Trump to impute a conflict of interests to a U.S. District Judge presiding over a fraud suit entirely because of the judge’s Mexican heritage is as puerile and obvious as it is racist, especially since the Trump Entrepreneur Grift more or less promised its participants a 100-piece dinner set and gave them a box of toothpicks, and that’s putting it politely.