In a frankly astounding (but totally in character) move, Donald Trump on Monday ordered his most visible spokespeople to quintuple down on his attacks on Judge Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump University case, encouraging them to lie about his affiliations and to attack reporters as racists.
Seriously. The bombshell report is from Bloomberg. Here are some excerpts:
An embattled Donald Trump urgently rallied his most visible supporters to defend his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican ancestry during a conference call on Monday in which he ordered them to question the judge’s credibility and impugn reporters as racists.
There was no mention of apologizing or backing away from his widely criticized remarks about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing cases against the Trump University real-estate program.
When former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer interrupted the discussion to inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit, Trump repeatedly demanded to know who sent the memo, and immediately overruled his staff.
“Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said.
The memo in question suggested that it was best to let the response come in court, not the press, and stated that surrogates should not discuss the matter. A wise point of view which Trump of course attacked as ridiculous.
“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”
Keep in mind, that’s his own campaign he’s talking about there. He hires the best people, you know. He goes on to explain exactly what he expects his people to do. You know, like Governors and former campaign opponents and talking heads … this is what he expects:
“I should have won this thing years ago,” Trump said on the call about the case, adding that Curiel is a “member of La Raza.” Curiel is affiliated with La Raza Lawyers of California, a Latino bar association.
A clearly irritated Trump told his supporters to attack journalists who ask questions about the lawsuit and his comments about the judge.
“The people asking the questions—those are the racists,” Trump said. “I would go at ’em.”
Notice Trump’s mention of La Raza. The smear that Curiel is affiliated with radical group the National Council of La Raza is widespread in Trump circles and he is repeating it on the call and suggesting others do as well. That’s called lying.
Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that Judge Curiel is incapable of being impartial because of his heritage. Because his parents are Mexican. Because, as Trump put it, Curiel “is, we believe, Mexican”, he should not be allowed to preside over a case involving Trump. That is the reason he gave. Not prior rulings or anything anyone may desperately try to dig up after the fact. He said the reason is that Curiel is Mexican.
Now he is instructing his surrogates not only to continue to press that point, but to intensify their attacks on the judge, and to expand those attacks to include the press. The people “asking questions.” Just asking the question of Trump is an offense that merits punishment. And there’s even more at Bloomberg.
What a guy. What a campaign. Unreal.