During a campaign stop in San Diego on Friday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump devoted a significant amount of time to attacking the federal judge overseeing the ongoing case against Trump University, suggesting the judge is a “hater” who is biased against him.
The case against the real estate mogul’s now-defunct company, which has been accused of scamming students who were misled into paying money for insight from business experts they thought were hand-picked by Trump, is scheduled to go to trial in San Diego federal court shortly after the presidential election. According to his lawyer, Trump is planning on testifying.
In what the Wall Street Journal characterized as an “extended tirade,” Trump spent 12 minutes of his 58-minute speech focused on the case and the California judge who will hear it.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Trump told the crowd. “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself.”
How Trump University Became Such A Liability For The GOP FrontrunnerEducation CREDIT: Lynne Sladky, AP Attacks on GOP frontrunner Donald Trump regarding his now-defunct Trump University…thinkprogress.orgTrump told his supporters he believes Judge Curiel should be removed from the case, citing the fact that Curiel was appointed to the bench by President Obama. Trump also said he believes Curiel is “Mexican.” The crowd — which had previously shouted “build that wall” — booed loudly.
In previous statements about the case, Trump has pointed to Curiel’s Hispanic heritage to insinuate that he won’t be able to approach the case impartially. Asked on Fox News what exactly Curiel’s ethnicity has to do with the case against him, Trump responded, “I think it has to do perhaps with the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border, very, very strong at the border, and he has been extremely hostile to me.”
Trump University — which was not actually an accredited university and did not hand out degrees — has several fraud cases proceeding against it.
The plaintiffs in the case before Curiel say they were tricked into paying up to $35,000 for expert real estate advice from professors who were supposedly vetted by Trump. In reality, many of the people affiliated with Trump University had dubious credentials. In Trump’s own depositions in the case this past December, he failed to recognize a single name of any of the instructors at his real estate seminars.
Before they dropped out of the presidential race, several of Trump’s GOP opponents attacked him for running a “fake school” that scammed students.
Outside the venue, 35 people were arrested as pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrators clashed in similarly racialized terms. The GOP candidate’s supporters yelled “you can’t vote” and “build that wall” to the estimated 1,000 protesters who showed up to oppose Trump.