Donald Trump gets into trouble too often for his own good and America’s. He has to get with the PC program, give away his throwaways and stick to major national issues and policies. His policy objectives are all vote winners. Look at this partial list and find fault if you can. Putting myself in patriotic American shoes, I can’t.
- Securing the border, building the military, taking better care of vets, destroying ISIS, putting America first by insisting that allies pull their military weight
- Controlling immigration, particularly Muslim immigration
- Replacing Obamacare
- Creating jobs by lowering taxes and regulations, liberating the exploitation of fossil fuel energy and negotiating better trade deals.
If he concentrates on his policies and reserves his criticisms for Clinton he will likely win. It’s the diversions that get him into trouble. This time Trump criticised the judge hearing the class-action civil suit against Trump University, which, as I understand it, purported to teach people how to profit from real estate. That would have been OK. His mistake was in suggesting that the judge’s Mexican heritage (his parents were Mexican migrants) may have played a part in swaying his conduct of the proceedings.
He said this because the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, appointed by President Obama, is a member of a Latino lawyers association (La Raza Lawyers Association) whose members have a record of acting for illegal migrants. Moreover, the class action was brought by a legal firm which has given large sums of money to the Clintons. Trump’s thinking is that the case has taken on a political dimension and that his own strong stand on illegal Mexican immigration may have affected the judge’s ability to act objectively.
Trump argues that his side is being treated unfairly. As an example he notes that a leading plaintiff was found to be on record praising the University. As a result, the legal firm representing her asked that she be removed from the case; as you would. At question, in Trump’s view, is why the judge allowed this without summarily dismissing the case.
I have no idea of the precise accuracy of this account or of the legal rights and wrongs of what occurred. But that doesn’t matter. The question I would like to pose is this: was Trump’s statement racist, as Paul Ryan and other Republicans have said; and as numbers of conservative commentators like, for example, Charles Krauthammer, have said?
I will cut to the chase. It isn’t racist. Asserting that some white jurymen and white judges in the Deep South in, say, the 1960s were influenced by their ethnicity in evaluating the testimony of black witnesses is not racist. As we know, in those cases, the racists were on the bench and on the juries.
Of course, if Trump had said what his critics claim it would be racist. Time and time again, I heard them say that Trump had said that Curiel’s Mexican heritage disqualified him from hearing the case. The problem is that he didn’t say that. The segment of the stump address that sparked the escalating brouhaha can be viewed below. Watch it if you have 11 minutes to spare and see if the press is reporting an actual comment or an imaginary one.
Subsequently, in a CNN interview (below), Trump said that Curiel’s Mexican heritage might be influencing his judgment in this particular case. This might be right or wrong but it isn’t racist. For, a relatively lonely, sane account of the beat-up kerfuffle read this from Patrick Buchanan.
Or take a fictitious example. A protestant judge with an Ulster heritage is hearing civil action against a Sinn Fein sympathiser of Republic of Ireland heritage. The sympathiser believes that his case is being badly handled and suggests that the Ulster judge’s heritage might be influencing his decisions and conduct of the case. It is self-evidently ridiculous to call this racist.
Another red herring is that Trump is impugning the objectivity of a judge. Give everyone a break. If judges are so objective why is it possible to accurately predict how Supreme Court justices will fall based solely on their political affiliations?
So where does this leave us? My own view is that Trump should mind his Ps and Qs but, at the same time, numbers of his Republican critics are being malicious and will jump on anything to bring him down. They are the Never Trump crowd or those who have supported him only through gritted teeth. But there is another factor in play. It is called stupidity.
It may be my age but I think it is increasing. It shows itself in an inability to comprehend distinctions in language. What people actually say is scrambled by inadequate brains to fit preconceived views. It then emerges as an historical record with no basis in fact. The question is, said Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things. Yes, these days, you apparently can. And Donald Trump has to be particular careful. Elites on his own side are out to do him in.
Can’t have any champion of common folk in the White House. He might derail the gravy train.