Hillary Clinton condemned Donald Trump’s criticism of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing lawsuits involving Trump University, during a conversation with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday.
“This racist attack on the judge is just another example of how he is absolutely impervious to the values of America, to the progress that we have made over many, many decades,” Clinton said of Trump’s comments. “He's trying to demean, and defame a federal judge who was a very accomplished federal prosecutor who was first appointed by a Republican governor in California.”
Trump has said Curiel, who is presiding over two of the three cases against Trump's now defunct for-profit school, cannot be fair in the ruling because Curiel is "a hater," "very hostile," and "Mexican," and Trump wants to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Curiel was born in Indiana and is American.
Clinton, who NBC News declared the presumptive Democratic nominee Monday just before the interview aired, pointed out that Trump has also said a Muslim judge might not have the capacity to be fair. She wondered who else might be on his list.
“I imagine he'll move on to women judges because he's been insulting women so regularly, or maybe a judge with a disability, or perhaps one who was a former POW, or African American,” Clinton said to Maddow. “This is dangerous nonsense that undermines the rule of law, that makes him appear to be someone who has no respect for fellow Americans, and I think it is yet more evidence why this man is dangerous and divisive and disqualified from being president.”
Asked if she thought Trump was racist, Clinton said she didn’t know “what's in his heart.” But Clinton continued: “I don't know what else you could call these attacks other than racist, other than prejudice, other than bigoted. It's just plain wrong, and certainly wrong coming from someone who is vying to become President of the United States."