Posted: 8:01 pm Monday, June 6th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
There was no closing of ranks behind Donald Trump from Republicans in the Congress on Monday, as Senate Republicans continued to express disbelief at Trump’s criticism of a federal judge handling a lawsuit against Trump University, urging the presumptive GOP nominee for President to tone down his remarks.
“Donald Trump’s comments on the ethnic heritage and religion of judges are absolutely unacceptable,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in a statement.
Just off the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined others in criticizing Trump.
“Of course it’s inappropriate to attack a federal judge’s race or ethnicity,” Cruz said as he was pursued by a group of reporters.
“You’ll have to ask Donald why he says the things he does. I’m not going to try to explain it,” Cruz added.
As for Marco Rubio, he also verbally rebuked Trump, telling CNN in an interview that Trump was simply out of line to criticize the judge’s Mexican heritage.
“That judge is an American,” Rubio told CNN, saying that Trump’s attacks were inappropriate, wrong and offensive.
Others basically accused Trump of being a racist for raising the issue of the Mexican heritage of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling a suit on Trump University.
This was from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who has long been critical of Trump:
Public Service Announcement:
Saying someone can't do a specific job because of his or her race is the literal definition of "racism."
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 6, 2016
It was yet another day where Republicans found themselves being asked much more about what Trump had said than what the GOP plans to do in the Congress.
“We have a great agenda and lots of things to talk about,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD). “And so if you’re spending all your time addressing what your nominee’s latest statements are then it’s not a good place to be.”
That may happen to Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, as he starts to lay out more agenda action items for the House GOP; it doesn’t take a media expert to know that the Trump story will get a lot more print than Ryan’s latest legislative agenda.
Even former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined in publicly rebuking Trump:
Judge Curiel is an American hero who stood up to the Mexican cartels. I was proud to appoint him when I was Gov. https://t.co/ADLCBXw57Q
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) June 6, 2016
Meanwhile, Democrats also zeroed in on the judge issue, as Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid greeted Republicans on Monday with a searing verbal broadside on the Senate floor against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump.
“Senator McConnell and all Congressional Republican leaders have never taken a stand against Trump’s vile rhetoric,” Reid said.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.