The point Trump should have made
Judge Curiel’s bias, not his ethnicity, is what may be suspect
Donald Trump paints with a broad brush that soils the target of his invective, others in the general proximity — and himself. His comment that a judge cannot fairly adjudicate a lawsuit against him because he’s of Mexican heritage is evidence of a tongue out of control.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s remarks are a match for the loose talk of pro-Mexico activists when, in physically attacking Trump supporters, they trash the dream that pulled them north of the Rio Grande in the first place. It’s not fashionable to say that, with the Republican establishment, frightened as usual, running for their lives. But it’s true.
There was a legitimate point that Mr. Trump could have made — that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s record of involvement with a radical Hispanic-rights advocacy group suggests bias — but he crossed the line with his claim that Judge Curiel as an ethnic Mexican is not fit to hear a class-action lawsuit against his Trump University. The judge was born in Indiana, which makes him as American as the Donald and every other American, and therefore, all things being equal, he’s perfectly qualified to hear the lawsuit.
But all things are never equal. The issue, as Mr. Trump could have presented it, is not the judge’s Hispanic ethnicity but his affiliation with La Raza Lawyers of San Diego, which raises legitimate questions about his ability to be impartial. La Raza, which translates to “the race,” has advocated radical immigrant rights for decades. Judge Curiel’s membership and active participation in its lobbying suggests the appearance of a conflict of interest in the Trump University lawsuit. In an op-ed essay in The Washington Post, Alberto Gonzales, the U.S. attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and the highest-ranking Hispanic-American ever in the government, agrees with Mr. Trump that Judge Curiel’s “circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered.”
The militant open-borders advocates who oppose Mr. Trump’s views on illegal immigration paint a halo above the heads of every demonstrator against him. The casual viewer of the television images beamed from the streets, sees something else, depictions of Mexicans waving the Mexican flag at Trump campaign rallies while other demonstrators burn the Stars and Stripes, young Latinos hurling curses at passersby, and Hispanic children with signs demanding “Make America Mexico again.”
The Chicano rights movement of the 1960s has evolved far beyond anything Cesar Chavez dreamed of, with his plea for better conditions for grape harvesters and other farm workers. Bullies sucker-punching Trump supporters come from the ranks of professional agitators who are out to bury the American heritage beneath a wave of illegal immigration. The myth of America “stolen” from Mexico as spoils of the Mexican-American War is reflected in signs like one at an anti-Trump riot last week in San Jose, Calif., reading: “Trump, This is Mexico! You’re not welcome on Native/Mexican soil.”
Judge Curiel is not responsible for the riots against Donald Trump, but he is responsible for his continued membership in a Hispanic-rights advocacy group that encourages Mexican immigrants to flaunt their contempt for the nation they say they want to become a part of. Judge Curiel has a right to his membership in La Raza, just as a judge of Scottish or Polish or French ancestry would have a right to membership in an organization called White Folks Lawyers of San Diego. But petitioners for justice in his court would be entitled to their opinion of his bias.
This is the perfectly legitimate point that Donald Trump could have made.