Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania as he speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania as he speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

GOP denounces Trump comments

  • By Erica Werner Associated Press
  • Tuesday, June 7, 2016 8:03pm
  • Local News

WASHINGTON — Leading Republicans united Tuesday in an extraordinary denunciation of Donald Trump’s attacks on a federal judge, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling them the “textbook definition of a racist comment.” Yet Ryan stood by his endorsement of the presumptive presidential nominee.

Trump asserted that his comments were being “misconstrued” but did not back down or apologize for saying repeatedly that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not preside fairly over a case involving Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

“I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial,” Trump said Tuesday in a lengthy statement. He also renewed his insistence that students at the school, far from being fleeced as some of them and authorities in New York and California contend, were overwhelmingly satisfied.

Trump ended his statement by vowing not to discuss the case further, and Tuesday night he stuck to the script as he addressed supporters at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, north of New York City.

Trump delivered a measured speech, aided by a teleprompter, calling for unity while confining his criticism to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle, and I will never ever let you down,” Trump said.

He also made an appeal to supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying, “We welcome you with open arms.”

Trump’s change in tone came after a day in which a GOP senator who had previously indicated support for him withdrew his backing and Republicans attempts to unite behind Trump looked at risk of unraveling.

“While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for president regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party,” Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is in a competitive re-election race, said in a statement. Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012 and often uses a wheelchair.

Most other Republicans, including Ryan, reaffirmed their plans to support him. But the situation exposed the peril for Republicans forced to answer for Trump’s latest divisive comment, distracting from their own agendas as well as their goals of winning back the White House and hanging onto Senate control.

On Tuesday, Republicans were squirming over what might have been the billionaire’s most incendiary stance to date — the claim that Curiel couldn’t preside fairly over the Trump University case because the U.S.-born judge is of Mexican heritage and Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“I regret those comments he made. Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Ryan said. “I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

“But do I believe Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not,” Ryan said.

Others avoided the word “racist” but made their disapproval clear.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that “it’s time to quit attacking various people that you competed with or various minority groups in the country and get on message.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only black Republican senator, called Trump’s comments on the judge “racially toxic” yet said, “He needs to get on to the general election and we need to win.”

Democrats ridiculed Republicans for denouncing Trump’s comments yet continuing to back him.

“If Republicans believe that a man who believes in religious and ethnic tests for federal judges is fit to be president of the United States, they must explain why this is an acceptable position,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Snohomish home-invasion suspect had been released weeks earlier

Eleazar Cabrera, 33, is accused of breaking into a home and shooting a man three times. He has a lengthy rap sheet.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A holiday for Lunar New Year, a return of green and white license plates

It’s Day 29. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read