Donald Trump stirred more outrage over the weekend by standing by claims that a judge's Mexican heritage means he can't render a fair verdict against him and suggesting a Muslim judge might also be biased.
The presumptive Republican nominee has attacked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel — born in Indiana to Mexican-born parents and presiding over a lawsuit involving Trump University — as a "hater of Donald Trump."
Trump stood by that message on Sunday — despite drawing warnings from powerful Senate Republicans.
"I say he’s got bias," Trump told CBS’s “Face the Nation. "I want to build a wall. I’m going to build a wall."
Host John Dickerson later asked if Trump thought a Muslim judge would also be biased against him due to Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
“It’s possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible, absolutely,” Trump said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC's Meet the Press that he "couldn't disagree more" with Trump's recent attacks on Curiel.
"I don't condone the comments," added Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on ABC's "This Week."
Trump began a new series of attacks on Curiel last Friday, calling the judge a “hater” at a San Diego rally and telling attendees that Curiel, “we believe, is Mexican.”
Trump then defended his charge in the Wall Street Journal, amending his claim that Curiel is a “Mexican” to acknowledge that he is of Mexican heritage.
“I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump said, referring to the wall he has pledged to construct between the U.S. and Mexico if elected.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who endorsed Trump on Thursday, disavowed Trump’s attacks on Friday. That same day Trump sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper and was pressed on why Curiel’s ethnicity made him unqualified to hear the case.
“He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico,” Trump said. “The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings, rulings that people can’t even believe. This case should have ended years ago.”
According to the Washington Post, Tapper had to follow up on the question 23 times to get a straight answer on whether Trump thought that that saying someone couldn’t do a job because of his race was the definition of racism. Trump said, “No, I don’t think so at all.”
Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter whose name has been floated as a possible vice presidential pick, has also been critical of Trump’s attack on Curiel. ”I don’t know what Trump’s reasoning was, and I don’t care,” Gingrich wrote in an email to the Washington Post. “His description of the judge in terms of his parentage is completely unacceptable.”
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Trump’s likely rival in the general election, continued to condemn Trump’s attacks on the judge on Sunday, noting Curiel’s “impeccable record as a prosecutor” in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
On Thursday, Clinton delivered a scorching speech on national security that sharpened her message on Trump’s unfitness for the presidency.
“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different — they are dangerously incoherent,” Clinton said. “They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.”