White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday linked the uproar over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s comments about a federal judge to Senate Republicans’ blockade against President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
Asked during his daily media briefing whether Trump’s attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel were racist, Earnest pivoted to talking about Senate GOPers’ refusal to confirm judicial appointments.
“For Republicans in the Senate who say they have concerns about the Republican presidential nominee’s views as it relates to judges, to also say that they are not going to confirm any judges to preserve the ability of the Republican presidential nominee to potentially make those appointments,” Earnest said.
Trump had said that Curiel, who is presiding over cases against Trump University in California, has a conflict of interest because of his “Mexican heritage.” The businessman has railed against Hispanics since he launched his campaign, infamously stated that some undocumented immigrants were “rapists” and “criminals.”
Earnest also said in the briefing that he wasn’t “surprised” Republicans chose to overlook Trump’s divisive statements, according to Politico, citing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) continued support from his colleagues. Scalise once reportedly referred to himself as a “David Duke without the baggage” while campaigning for Congress.