Washington, June 3: Donald Trump today again lambasted the judge handling a pair of lawsuits over his defunct online university, insisting that the jurist's Mexican heritage prevents him from being impartial.
The Republican presidential frontrunner slammed Judge Gonzalo Curiel in a speech last week as "a hater" and "a total disgrace" whose Mexican parentage poses an "absolute conflict" in the cases.
He doubled down on those comments in an interview appearing in today's Wall Street Journal, saying Curiel -- a US-born native of Indiana -- might be "biased" by Trump's controversial campaign vow to build an anti-immigrant wall on America's southern border with Mexico. "I'm building a wall.
It's an inherent conflict of interest," Trump told the daily, noting that Curiel also had belonged to an organization of Hispanic judges -- another disqualifier in his eyes. The developer and reality television host has enthused supporters and enraged many others with his calls for building the wall on the US-Mexican border and alleging that Mexico sends the United States its criminals.
In addition to questioning Curiel's impartiality, Trump said that if elected president, he would consider changing free speech laws to make it easier to sue journalists. Many see that as a proposal to restrict basic US rights.
Newly unsealed court documents in the case against Trump's "university" reveal allegations that it preyed on the uneducated and misled consumers with aggressive marketing that amounted to fraud.
The revelations come as the 2016 presidential race shapes up as a contest between Trump and the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who has sharply criticized his remarks. "Judge Curiel and his family epitomize the American Dream," Clinton Hispanic outreach staffer Lorella Praeli said.
"His parents worked hard to give their US-born children a better life." Curiel and his brother became successful lawyers and his other brother served in Vietnam, she added. "The fact that Donald Trump doesn't see Judge Curiel and his family as Americans makes him unfit to be president of this great nation, a nation of immigrants."