Trump escalates attacks on judge ruling over his Trump University scam case: “He’s a Mexican”

Donald Trump escalated his attacks against the judge who’s handling a fraud case against his now-defunct university, declaring he was biased against him because, “We’re building a wall. He’s a Mexican.”

Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel

Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel

In the interview Trump dismissed the suggestion that his attacks on the judge’s heritage were racist.

“If you are saying he can’t do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee during a sit-down interview set to air Sunday.

“No, I don’t think so at all. He’s proud of his heritage [and] I respect him for that,” Trump responded.

Trump has repeatedly suggested that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from overseeing the civil fraud lawsuit because he’s an American of Mexican descent. Curiel grew up in Indiana and was appointed to the Superior Court of San Diego, Calif. in 2006.

… The billionaire’s criticism of Curiel has confounded Republican lawmakers, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who view his already low favorability ratings among Hispanics as a potential roadblock in his bid for the White House.

“Paul Ryan doesn’t know the case,” Trump told Tapper.

“Hillary Clinton is a stiff,” he added, when asked about Clinton’s reaction to his attacks against Curiel.

The former secretary of state described the attacks as “racist” and her campaign’s Latino outreach director Lorella Praeli blasted Trump in a statement Friday.

“The fact that Donald Trump doesn’t see Judge Curiel and his family as Americans makes him unfit to be president of this great nation, a nation of immigrants,” Praeli said. “In Trump’s version of America, this Latino family isn’t really American.”

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