Donald Trump on Sunday hinted at a broader argument that judges of specific religious and ethnic backgrounds may not be fit to hear cases against him.
Last week, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested that Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel – whose parents are Mexican – should not preside over fraud lawsuits against Trump University, a for-profit university formerly owned by Trump.
In a Sunday interview on “Face The Nation,” Trump also suggested a Muslim judge would not be able to hear a case against him because of Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from entering the US.
“If it were a Muslim judge, do you also feel that they wouldn’t be able to treat you fairly because of that policy of yours?” host John Dickerson asked.
“It’s possible, yes,” Trump replied. “That would be possible, absolutely.”
Dickerson pushed Trump, asking whether the real-estate magnate was unfairly discrediting judges because of their ethnic background.
“Isn’t there sort of a tradition though in America that we don’t judge people by who their parents were and where they came from?” Dickerson asked.
“I’m not talking about tradition – I’m talking about common sense,” Trump said.
Trump’s assertion that Curiel is not qualified to fairly hear Trump’s case because of the judge’s parents’ nationality has ignited a firestorm of criticism from the real-estate mogul’s political opponents.
In a Saturday speech in California, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton slammed Trump’s “prejudiced, bigoted attack” on Curiel.
“This is not just another outlandish, insulting comment from Donald Trump, and it is not normal politics. This is something much, much more dangerous,” Clinton said.
She continued: “Judge Curiel is as much of an American as I am, and he’s as much of an American as Donald Trump is. But he has Mexican roots. So to Donald Trump, that means he can’t do his job. Well, Donald Trump’s not just wrong about Judge Curiel. He’s wrong about America. He’s wrong about what makes this country great.”