NYT's Haberman: Trump's Racial Attacks On Judge Curiel Show “Authoritarian Streak” That Threatens The Judiciary

Maggie Haberman: “The Judiciary Is A Separate Branch And If You Are The President You Do Have To Respect That “ 

From the June 3 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): Donald Trump continuing his attack against the judge presiding over two of the civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University. Trump says the judge's Mexican heritage is an inherent conflict of interest. Let’s bring back Mark Preston and Maggie Haberman to discuss. Maggie, he says that because he has announced that he's going to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, that this judge is not qualified or has a conflict of interest to sit on the Trump University case. Have you ever seen anything like this? 

MAGGIE HABERMAN: No. I have not. This judge was born in the United States, he is an American citizen. He has Mexican ancestry, but you could make this argument, and I think we saw a clip from Jeffrey Toobin earlier saying that he had never seen something like this. This is a very overtly racial statement. Trump a few months ago said we have a judge in the case who, I think he called him Spanish at first and then said Hispanic, and then said, “which is fine,” which is sort of how he often does these things. He'll inject it, and then he'll say but that's not a bad thing, we like that. This was a very different type of statement, and it had two strains to it. One was, the racial component, and the other is, and the Times has a piece on this today, and others have as well, it represents something of an authoritarian streak that we have seen with Trump before, where the judiciary is a separate branch and if you are the president you do have to respect that. And this is where we are seeing, this confluence of Trump the businessman and Trump the candidate is very hard to untangle.

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Well here's the problem also, though, is that this is probably the first or maybe best example of where, what he does to stimulate the base may have really just hurt him with the people he wants to impress most, which is the party right now. I can't tell you how many people have jokingly in the Republican world said to me, “What can I give to you leave this alone?” 

CAMEROTA: And what did you accept?

CUOMO: That’s right. Wait until you see what I drove here. The interesting part of it is, he goes after this judge as having an inherent conflict. Has he moved to have him recused from the case? 

CAMEROTA: Right, there are legal avenues.

CUOMO: No. Did the judge actually go along with him and may have saved his bacon by continuing these trials maybe after the election? So if anything, you'd think he'd be liking this judge, but how dangerous is this for those Republicans who are on the fence right now when they hear that he's just calling this judge a Mexican and saying he's conflicted? 


MARK PRESTON: So Chris, as you said, the fuel that has gotten Donald Trump the primary win, OK, which is this really harsh rhetoric, this attack on the mainstream media, which we've seen from Republicans and conservatives anyway, but he has really amped it up this election. So his attack on the media, his attack on his own Republicans, his attack on the Washington establishment, and now literally his attack on this judge because this judge's family came from Mexico. Not him. He was born here in the United States. And mind you, let me just sidetrack this for a second. My parents came from Ireland, OK, they came over here. And if you were to ask my father, you know, a very simple question, and I asked this when I was 10 years old: would you fight for Ireland or would you fight for the United States in a war? And he said I would fight for the United States, and the reason why is that it gave my children everything in this country. And I think that you would hear that time and time again from immigrants, you know, who come over here to try to find a better life for their kids. But the rhetoric that Donald Trump is using right now worked in the first part of this contest, but this is a two-part contest. And I'll tell you what, going into the November election, and you’re dealing with independents and undecided voters, this kind of rhetoric scares me.


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