Most of the response to Donald Trump’s beef with Judge Curiel have been the usual “you can’t say that!” finger-wagging. Everyone focuses on Trump’s use of the word “Mexican.”
“But Curiel’s not Mexican! He’s American!”
To which Trump replies, naturally enough, “So he’s of Mexican heritage. Whatever.”
I know race is always the topic that gets attention. Trump sprinkles a few charged words into his conversation and everyone goes nuts.
But apart from the racial dimension, Trump’s stand here is nuts.
Curiel’s handling the case against Trump’s defunct for-profit school. That has nothing to do with Mexicans or immigration or deportation or Trump’s proposed border wall. Yet Trump says there’s a “conflict of interest,” merely because his political proposals are unpopular with Latinos.
This is just crazy. You know who else disagrees with Trump? Half the country.
Would Trump refuse to be judged by a woman, because his campaign has been unpopular with women? Would he refuse to be judged by a Muslim? By a Democratic appointee?
Trump has promised to get tough with China, so why not reject judges of Chinese heritage too?
For that matter, why not cry foul in the presence of a Republican appointee, since the party resisted Trump’s candidacy for months?
Essentially, Trump’s claiming that he’s above the law just because he’s running for a president.
Even Trump himself realizes how nonsensical this is. In the same breath, he’ll say that Curiel, as a Hispanic, is biased against him for his border policies–then that Hispanics love him for his promise to create jobs! So which is it? Are Hispanics biased towards Trump or not?
You could call this identity politics, except that Trump, at bottom, recognizes only two identities. There’s Donald J. Trump, who gets whatever he wants. And then there’s everyone else.
Memo to Donald: You’re a politician, now. There will be people who disagree with your politics. That’s not a conflict of interest. That’s life.