Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan Calls Trump's Judge Remark Racist, Continues to Endorse Trump Anyway

House Speaker calls Trump's remarks about a Trump U judge "indefensible," but says he still has common ground with the presumptive GOP nominee.

|

SHAWN THEW/EPA/Newscom

Paul Ryan appears to believe that it is acceptable and even desirable for an individual who makes indefensibly racist remarks to occupy the White House. This is what a political party looks like in meltdown. 

At a press event this morning, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who last week endorsed his party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, refused to defend Trump's recent remarks attacking a federal judge over his ethnicity.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a class action suit against the Trump University real estate sales program, is biased against Trump because of his Mexican heritage, and Trump's stated intention to build a southern border wall. Curiel was born in Indiana after his parents immigrated from Mexico.

Ryan said that Trump's remarks about the judge were "the textbook definition of a racist comment," and said that they should be "absolutely disavowed."

But he also indicated that he would not rescind his endorsement. "Do I think Hillary Clinton is the answer? No I do not," he said, claiming, once again, that he shared Trump's policy preference. "I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than we do with her."

Just to be clear, then, here is what is going on: Paul Ryan—the top Republican in the House, the Chairman of the convention where Trump is set to be nominated, arguably the most influential party's most influential elected leader—is literally saying that Donald Trump is acting like a racist, and making indefensible statements that must be disavowed, and also simultaneously saying that he continues to endorse Trump's candidacy. (Ryan has awkwardly tried to suggest that this does not necessarily make Trump himself a racist, merely that what Trump said was racist.) 

So Ryan's position seems to be that the United States should elect someone who makes indefensible, racist remarks as president.

Ryan is trying to walk a careful line here, by endorsing Trump but forcefully criticizing the candidate's statements. But at a certain point, it becomes effectively impossible to have it both ways. The sheer absurdity of the position begins to reveal itself.

This is not a one-off event in Trump's history. Trump's candidacy has been defined by remarks like this from the outset; appeals to racism and nativism are the through line that connects his entire campaign.

By endorsing Trump—and yes, Ryan's staffers have said that it's an endorsement—Ryan is saying that the person responsible for making those remarks should be elevated to the most powerful political office in the country, and, indeed, the entire world.

At least one GOP politician, Sen. Lindsey Graham, has already raised the possibility of prominent Republicans un-endorsing Trump. That none have done so already is a sign of how maniacally resistant party leaders are of separating themselves from the nominee. That the idea has been raised, and that Trump has provoked such strong criticism from Ryan and other senior Republicans, is a sign of how mightily the party is straining to hold itself together. 

This is what a failing political party looks like. The GOP is imploding before our very eyes, even as it attempts to maintain a false sense of unity. Ryan's struggle to maintain his own absurd position is illustrative of the struggle the entire Republican party faces right now.

The Speaker's stated belief that Trump's remarks are indefensible is difficult to square with his continued support for the candidate. One wonders what it would take for him, or the rest of the GOP, to say that Trump's candidacy is indefensible too. 

Advertisement

NEXT: Pro-Drug War Texas Congressman Tells Donald Trump to Shove the Border Wall 'Up His Ass'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Bernie disagrees with Hillary on a hell of a lot and think she’s a corrupt warmongerer, but that won’t stop him from endorsing her.

    1. Don’t you know? Words can be completely unforgivable but being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands is just a policy difference

      1. Well, yeah. The job of a politician is to kill as many people as possible while pissing off as few as possible.

    2. If by ‘a lot’ you mean voting together 93% of the time, sure.

  2. If you bet on the Dalmia/Suderman Trump daily double today, you win.

    1. Not really, the money line is like 1 :: 200

    2. When Chapman shows up is that like a multiplier?

  3. True conservatives, and libertarians, like Paul Ryan know that people of color are incapable of bias, and that anyone suggesting otherwise is just a big racist meanie.

    1. Re: VG Zaytsev,

      True conservatives, and libertarians, like Paul Ryan know that people of color are incapable of bias,

      Contrary to people with no color? I don’t understand your proposition.

      I can only say that to ASSUME a person’s judgment is predicated on something ACCIDENTAL as his or her heritage, is evidence of irrational thought.

      1. The judge is a member of the HNLA which called for a boycott of all things trump.

        Which of those is an ‘accident’? His membership or their boycott?

        1. Re: VG Zaystev,

          Which of those is an ‘accident’?

          That he’s of Mexican ancestry. Read again my statement: “something ACCIDENTAL as his or her heritage” instead of making stuff up.

      2. I can only say that to ASSUME a person’s judgment is predicated on something ACCIDENTAL as his or her heritage, is evidence of irrational thought.

        Denial aint just a river in Egypt.

        Of course the judge is most likely biased against Trump. I know it. You know it. Everybody knows it.

    2. people of color are incapable of bias

      Who has said anything remotely like that?

      1. Paul Ryan just said it dummy.

        He said that Trumps claim that the judge is biased against him is ‘textbook racism’.

        1. That is rather different from saying people of color are incapable of bias, dummy. Saying that it is racist to assume that a judge is likely biased because of his ethnic or racial background is in no way saying that no non-white people can be biased. See how that works, dummy?

          1. it’s called hyperbole more.

      2. That’s what the voices said.

  4. Just to be clear, then, here is what is going on: Paul Ryan?the top Republican in the House, the Chairman of the convention where Trump is set to be nominated, arguably the most influential party’s most influential elected leader?is literally saying that Donald Trump is acting like a racist, and making indefensible statements that must be disavowed, and also simultaneously saying that he continues to endorse Trump’s candidacy.

    It’s almost as though Ryan thinks his job is to compromise on some things in order to move other parts of his political agenda forward. He must be history’s greatest monster.

    1. More like he sees his job as advancing Hairy Reed’s and Nanny Piglosi’s agenda by any means possible.

      1. Mike M., is that you?

        1. Fuck you Shitizen Sex!

        2. He’s his own dumbass. Leave poor Mike out of this.

    2. Does he think that his job is to compromise his ethics in the vain hope of moving his agenda forward?

      I don’t know the man but that would be repugnant beyond measure.

  5. Ryan said that Trump’s remarks about the judge were “the textbook definition of a racist comment,”

    Could anyone point me to a textbook that defines racism thusly? I thought the basic definition of racism was thinking there were inherent defects in a specific race; saying Judge Curiel could have a conflict of interest doesn’t remotely seem to be the same thing. And since when did Mexican become a race?

    Having said all that, it is fine for Ryan to disagree with Trump on some issues and still consider him the least awful candidate.

    1. I’m sure if you find the right textbook…

      Race is kind of a pointless way to classify people anyway. Judging people based on their ancestral national origin is just as dumb as judging them based on skin color. Maybe “racism” is the wrong word, but it’s close to the same thing.

    2. Racism is supposed to be the belief that one race is superior to another. Much like the Commerce Clause it has been stretched to the breaking point.

  6. Reason staff/contributors I’d fire if I could:
    Richman
    Dalmia
    Chapman
    Suderman
    Gillespie
    Soave, but we’d pay to keep his hair

    1. Oh, Robby’s alright. He’s done some good journalism. The rest, sure why not. Maybe not Nick. You’d have to fight through the Jacket first.

      1. No, Robby is alt-right.

      2. Soave does good work. IMO his only problem is that he almost always feels the need to add a ‘these morons kinda sorta have a point, if you look at it from a certain point of view’ disclaimer.

    2. I find it a bit irritating that disagreeing about immigration causes so many to lose their shit, and by shit I mean their honesty and ability to think rationally.

      Lying is counterproductive in the long run. Put the focus on Trump’s clumsy articulation of a legitimate complaint and no one talks about Trump U, which I suspect is a huge scam.

      1. Except he doesn’t even have a legitimate complaint.

        1. Nothing Gonzalo’s done in reference to this case is outside of norms – according to Popehat.

        2. Trump’s lawyers have, so far, failed to file any request for recusal – because they’d have to set down grounds for that and, despite Trump’s blustering in public, he doesn’t have any.

        The second is, IMO, very damning to Trump personally – he ain’t me who’d have to hire a 4th rate, third string, lawyer (and only one). He’s got a team of professionals on this and they don’t think he’s right. If they did they’d have filed the request for recusal.

    3. Gillespie
      Soave, but we’d pay to keep his hair

      You’d keep Hair, but not Jacket? Boo!

  7. Funny thing. I’ve been hearing about this on the radio a lot. NPR has been harping on it especially hard. But no mention of La Raza (The Race).

    I guess that little tidbit is too juicy to allow into the narrative, so they must lie by omission.

    1. Re: sarcasmic,

      Funny thing. I’ve been hearing about this on the radio a lot. NPR has been harping on it especially hard. But no mention of La Raza (The Race).

      The use of the idiom ‘La Raza’ has the exact same connotation as ‘The People’ (la gente), at least in Mexico. It is not used to literally say ‘the race’, since there is no true Mexican race. Mexico is populated by a collection of many ethnic groups which include European whites, mestizos, aboriginal natives and blacks.

      Whether this particular judge belonged to a group that had ‘La Raza’ in its name or not, El Trumpo is insinuating that his rulings which affect El Trumpo’s interests must be motivated by his heritage, or ethnicity, without providing proof that he can read minds.

      1. When I was driving home yesterday Rush’s sub was citing numbers about rulings from the judge that suggest he’s biased towards gente of his own raza. I don’t really know or care other than wanting to see some unbiased reporting from either side. Yeah, I know. It’ll never happen.

      2. The use of the idiom ‘La Raza’ has the exact same connotation as ‘The People’ (la gente), at least in Mexico.

        Oh bullshit.

        You’re either lying or ignorant of the way the phrase La Raza (Cosmica) has been used by communist Hispanic organizations since the 1960s.

        1. Yeah. I don’t think we’re talking about the idiom, like when Mexican cooks I worked with back in the 90s would shout “La Raza!” when they got drunk and excited.

          I think we’re talking about organizations with that as or in their name. And they’re not portrayed as innocent.

          1. Saying Mexican cooks get drunk and excited is racist.

        2. The word “American” has been used by communist organizations for even longer.

          1. No it’ more like using the phrase ‘the people’ in a political context in the US. You know that anyone doing so is on the far left. Or a German group that using the word ‘Aryan’ would be on the extreme right. In both cases, the words have non political meanings, but carry a lot of baggage when used by political advocacy groups.

        3. Re: ZG Zaytsev,

          How Marxian groups use or have used the idiom, is inconsequential. I am commenting on the direct translation being wielded around by some conservative groups to insinuate Mexicans are insular.

      3. https://theconservativetreehouse.com /2016/06/07/la-raza-judge-gonzalo- curiel-and-the-hispanic-national-bar-association/

        No doubt in my mind that Trump has a legitimate gripe. Again, all of this attention on his utterances has taken attention away from Trump U, which looks like a watered down version of Scientology-style scam to me.

        1. apologies. I am in a hurry. remove the spaces.

          1. I was busy fantasizing about Monica Crowley, what did she say?

          2. Sorry about the crappy link.

            Here it is.

            1. No it isn’t.

        2. LOL, The Conservative Nuthouse should be immediately ignored. It’s a kook nationalist site. You might as well quote David Duke himself.

      4. Not a particularly common idiom for people born in Indiana, though, I’d bet.

      5. That’s right!

        It’s no more problematic than “Das Volk”!

    2. I’ve noticed that as well.

      Still, I think you need a bit more evidence of actual bias or personal animus to insist that a judge recuse himself. The La Raza connection is certainly relevant, though.

    3. So I assume there has also been no mention of the distinction between NCLR and SDLRLA?

      1. Those people always stick together.

      2. A link to NCLR is listed under “Affiliates and Links” on the SDLRLA website. So it would seem to approve of NCLR. Much the same as if a right-wing website linked to Stormfront.

        1. You’re upsetting the narrative

  8. Something I had not heard in all the initial crying about this: this judge is so biased against Trump that he accommodated Trump’s request to schedule the trial after the primary season was over.

    Trump’s presidential campaign was considered somewhat during the Dec. 4 hearing as the judge and lawyers grappled with setting future court dates to move toward trial. One of Trump’s lawyers, Daniel Petrocelli, asked the judge if postponing a trial until after July would be possible, to accommodate the intensified campaigning leading up to the Republican National Convention, set for that month.

    The judge suggested aiming for an August trial date, giving lawyers enough time to sort out the myriad legal issues the complex case presents. No trial date has been officially set.

  9. Trump will rescind civil liberties and blow out the budget debt. The only reason to support him is for his Supreme Court pick. But wait – he ripped off the list from the Heritage Foundation web site and he’s obviously contemptuous of judges that disagree with him (e.g. like the average Reason commenter). He has admitted that he may not even use the list. So what’s the point? He will obviously appoint someone who he thinks will obey his every command. And his conservative endorsers will say, “Trump’s limo driver would not have been our first pick. But he’s never been in an accident so this demonstrates he is conservative by nature. Plus, he couldn’t be worse than Hillary’s pick, amirite??”

    This is a great opportunity for Johnson to court the Republican establishment.

    1. This is a great opportunity for Johnson to court the Republican establishment.

      Gay pot dealer knocks on RNC door… You’ll never guess what happens next!

  10. He’s no Chris Christie but whores got whore.

  11. Isn’t Ryan just saying “Trump is pretty bad, but it would be worse for my party if Hillary were to be elected than if this racist rich guy were elected”? Would we expect the leader of the party to say any different? I don’t really get the point of this article. It’s not like Ryan is going to say “The republicans should just forget about winning the presidency this go around, hopefully we elect someone sane next time.”

    1. No, Ryan is saying Trump is racist while also saying that he (Ryan) doesn’t care about said racism. This is an article about Team-sucking.

  12. This is what a failing political party looks like. The GOP is imploding before our very eyes, even as it attempts to maintain a false sense of unity.

    We’ll check back in in 2020, Pete. I suspect you’ll be revising this statement.

  13. Cal Lightman would have had a field day with that photo on Lie to Me.

    1. +1 frowny face

  14. And y’know, if Curiel had any game, he’d put out a statement like, “Why would my heritage cause me to have a problem with Donald Trump? He loves Hispanics!” And attach a picture of him in his black robe eating a taco salad.

    1. I’d vote for Curiel just for the joke. He’d deserve it.

  15. If you think racism is a bigger evil than socialism, cronyism, or militarism, you’re a poor student of history.

  16. Trump has a ready-made excuse if he loses the suit, and a story of triumph over “adversity” if he wins.

  17. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,

    ???????? http://Usatoday.nypost55.com

  18. “Ryan said that Trump’s remarks about the judge were “the textbook definition of a racist comment,” and said that they should be “absolutely disavowed.”

    Actually, Ryan isn’t in charge of what is and what isn’t racist, and if complaining about racism is racist–then the word has lost all its meaning.

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Trump saying that a former member of La Raza might not give him a fair trial?

    Oh, Oh Oh! Even Republicans like Ryan say Trump’s a racist! EVEN REPUBLICANS LIKE RYAN say Trump’s a racist!!!

    So what?

    When did we start caring so much about what the Republicans say? Are we deferring to them on everything now–or are we only deferring to them on what is and what isn’t racist?

    1. Re: Ken Shultz,

      Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Trump saying that a former member of La Raza might not give him a fair trial?

      He wasn’t a member of the National Council of La Raza, if that is what you meant.

      When did we start caring so much about what the Republicans say?

      Because El Trumpo is the GOP nominee for president. And because what El Trumpo said was incredibly stupid and dishonest. it also sounded racist. I could ask you if the plaintiffs could allege heritage-based bias if the judge’s decisions happened to favor El Trumpo, alleging that the judge feels pressured to seem too UNbiased? Where would this stop, Ken?

  19. What makes this racist? Is he suggesting that the Judge is inferior to some other race? If this is textbook racism then what is the text book definition of racism? “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    Did he say that all Latinos are corrupt and unfair? No he said this person is biased against Trump and gave a very clear reason why he thinks that it the case, which no one talks about, and that the reason for this bias may be due to his heritage conflicting with Trump’s immigration policy. May be splitting hairs, but is not “textbook racism”

    The reason Trump believes he is being treated unfairly is that the plaintiff in the case wanted to drop the case, but instead they are going to “substitute” her with another plaintiff and Trump’s legal team believes this means the case should be dropped and another would have to be filed.

    I’m not a lawyer but from what I do understand Trump is correct. If I’m wrong feel free to correct.

    I think if Trump does lose this case after the plaintiff swap, he would win in appeals. But after the election. If a new case was started it wouldn’t come back up until after the election.

  20. Which race(s) has Trump claimed are inferior to his?

  21. Ryan said that Trump’s remarks about the judge were “the textbook definition of a racist comment,” and said that they should be “absolutely disavowed.”

    Intellectual honesty is racism and should be absolutely disavowed.

    I’m interested to see how long the hysterical pearl clutching will last until most people say what they already know: “well yeah, most likely the judge is biased against Trump”.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.