Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted in over 16 hours. This may have something to do with the fact that, since making Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnicity his most popular talking point, neither Trump, his supporters and detractors, nor the media at large have been able to shut up about the matter. With all the bad (but free) publicity, perhaps the Donald decided to do something he’d never really done since last summer and keep his yuuuge, definitely not small hands away from his smartphone.
Previously vocal supporters like Newt Gingrich and restrained-but-committed voters like Paul Ryan have condemned Trump’s racist comments about Curiel’s “Mexican heritage.” Gingrich and those of his ilk had taken issue with Trump’s repeated attacks against Curiel, pointing out that he’s from Indiana and therefore an American, but many of them haven’t outright debunked the leading Republican’s complaints about possible bias in his Trump University fraud case.
Ryan, however, hasn’t held back his disgust at Trump’s ongoing public tussle with Judge Curiel. On Tuesday, the Speaker of the House made his clearest objections to the comments, which he described as the “textbook definition” of racism:
“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
No, this doesn’t mean that the Wisconsin representative would switch parties and align himself with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But it also highlights Ryan’s (and many other Republicans) increasingly public concerns with Trump’s candidacy.
Enter “friend” and former presidential opponent Chris Christie, who defended Trump during a subsequent press conference in New Jersey. Instead of aligning himself with fellow party members Gingrich and Ryan, the Governor of New Jersey stood beside his orange-faced “friend.” (Albeit metaphorically, because Trump was nowhere near the Q&A session.)
“Donald Trump is not a racist,” he told the journalists gathered around him. “The allegations that he is are absolutely contrary to any experience I’ve had with him over the last 14 years.”
When a reporter asked specifically whether or not Christie thought “Trump’s rhetoric [had] gone too far,” the governor pushed his defense even further:
“I am sure that if I sat back and thought about it, there would be times that I would think that there were things that he said that he shouldn’t have said. Quite frankly, he’s admitted that over time, there are things that he’s said that he shouldn’t have said. But that happens to anybody in politics who speaks their mind. If you have this many microphones and cameras in front of you on a regular basis, and you’re not a pre-programmed, robotic politician, you’re going to make some statements at times that you wish you could take back. I’ve done it. He’s done it. Anybody who’s honest in this business has done it. That doesn’t make him any different than anybody else who’s run for office before.”
Ignoring the fact that what’s at the heart of the matter is Trump’s insistence on criticizing a federal judge’s job performance and possible bias due to his ethnicity, Christie’s statement does make sense. Politicians and politicos who’ve attained rungs higher up on the ladder to Washington often endure an incredible amount of media attention, statistically guaranteeing a few significant gaffes along the way.
Then again, the fact that Christie is defending what Ryan earlier called the “textbook definition of a racist comment” sorta kinda completely overshadows the Trump surrogate’s attempts at logic.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 7, 2016