(Think Progress) -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s racist claim that a federal judge cannot be trusted to remain impartial because of his “Mexican heritage” is no big deal, according to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Trump spent much of the last two weeks under fire for repeatedly claiming that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge hearing a lawsuit alleging that Trump University scammed many of its students, has a conflict of interest because Curiel’s parents immigrated from Mexico and Trump wants to build a wall at the Mexican border. The former reality show host’s attacks on the judge were widely denounced by leading Republicans, including the two highest ranking elected Republicans in the nation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called Trump’s comments “outrageous and unacceptable.” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called them “sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.” (Both men, however, still intend to vote for Trump.)
Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA), by contrast, told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday that Trump’s racism is no more troubling than widely reported comments made by Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court. “I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that . . . ‘a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,'” Grassley claimed.
Advertisement - story continues below