Donald Trump was attacked by a key ally on Sunday who publicly rebuked him yesterday over comments that the presumptive Republican nominee made over a judge’s ethnicity, The Washington Post is reporting.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is believed by many to be a possible running mate for Trump, said he “couldn’t disagree more” with Trump’s comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a case involving Trump University.
On Fox News Sunday, Gingrich was asked by host Chris Wallace about Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel, whom he called a “Mexican” at a campaign rally in San Diego.
Wallace asked, “Are you comfortable with a potential president attacking a federal judge for his heritage?”
“No,” Gingrich answered right away, calling the comments “one of the worst mistakes that Trump has made. “I think it’s inexcusable. He has every right to criticize a judge, and he has every right to say that certain decisions aren’t right, and attorneys can file a motion to turn the venue from the judge.
“But first of all, this judge was born in Indiana. He is an American. Period. You come to America, you get to become an American. And Trump, who had grandparents who came to the U.S., should understand this as much as anybody.”
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Gingrich went on to say that if liberals attacked Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, an African-American, on grounds of race, conservatives “would all go crazy.”
Trump, Gingrich said, “has got to move to a new level, this is no longer the primaries, he’s no loner an ‘interesting contender.’ He is now the potential leader of the United States,” and he needs to act as such.
When asked if he believed Trump’s comments were racist, Gingrich demurred, calling them “a mistake,” and that he hoped they were just a matter of “sloppiness.”
Gingrich did go on, however, to state that Trump is preferable to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the current delegate leader in the fight for the Democratic convention.
The former House Speaker also said that Trump likes it when people stand up to him and that he hates any sign of weakness.
According to The Hill, Gingrich also criticized Trump’s comment in an email, saying, “I don’t know what Trump’s reasoning was, and I don’t care. His description of the judge in terms of his parentage is completely unacceptable.”
Gingrich was not the only Republican to distance himself from Trump’s remarks about Judge Curiel. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he “couldn’t disagree more” with Trump. But as with Gingrich, McConnell stopped just short of calling Gingrich a racist.
But today, Donald Trump fired back against Gingrich. According to The Post, Trump said, “As far as Newt is concerned, I saw Newt, I was surprised that Newt — I thought it was inappropriate what he said.”
It is not known whether Gingrich’s public rebuke of Trump could cost him the opportunity to be his vice presidential running mate; Trump has previously said that he wants someone on the ticket who knows how to deal with Congress, where Gingrich served for nearly 20 years — the last four as Speaker, from 1995-1998.
What do you think? Should Republicans like Newt Gingrich publicly distance themselves from Donald Trump over his refusal to apologize for his comments about a federal judge who is presiding over a case where he is the defendant? Or, is this just political correctness? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
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