Last week, Donald Trump called U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel a “hater” and “totally biased” all because Curiel ruled that documents tied to Trump University, which is under investigation for questionable practices, should be released to the public. Those documents weren’t exactly flattering and, in what appears to be a response to the criticism, Trump has doubled down on his attacks against Curiel, saying the judge has an “absolute conflict” of interest due to his Mexican heritage.
If there’s one person who knows what it’s like to be on Trump’s bad side it’s Megyn Kelly, and during an appearance on Fox News Thursday night, Kelly made sure viewers knew exactly how wrong Trump was to condemn Curiel based on his parents’ country of origin.
To start, Kelly debunked a few myths about Curiel:
First of all, people are saying this judge is a member of La Raza, the group that was protesting Donald Trump. He isn’t — he’s a member of a Hispanic lawyer’s association that has no partisan strength whatsoever. They support Hispanic lawyers and judges — that’s it — so let’s be clear on that.
Secondly, the man is not Mexican. Donald Trump keeps saying he is; he’s American, his parents are Mexican, he’s of Mexican heritage. He was born in Indiana.
Third, he has no conflict of interest. Now Donald Trump is saying the judge needs to be investigated, someone should look into him, just because he’s ruled against Donald Trump in this litigation repeatedly … that doesn’t make you biased. It doesn’t.
She went on to explain that she’d planned to talk about Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Trump — until Trump decided to take this tack. “Donald Trump continues to attack a sitting federal judge, who by the way did a lot to fight the drug cartels when he was a prosecutor, based on his ethnicity, suggesting he has an inherent conflict of interest,” she said. “‘A Hispanic cannot judge a case against me.’ That is what Trump is saying explicitly.”
And Kelly knows from experience that when Trump turns against you, his supporters tend to follow suit. “I guarantee you right now that this judge is getting threats and vitriol and who knows what else,” she said. “This is what I was trying to ask Trump about when I sat with him.”
She’s referring to her one-on-one interview with Trump last month in which he did acknowledge she’d “probably had some pretty nasty things” sent her way by his supporters — but stopped just short of apologizing to her for repeatedly calling her a “bimbo.”