A top surrogate for Donald Trump said Tuesday that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was “playing the race card” for condemning Trump’s recent attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage. Earlier in the day, Ryan called Trump’s comments about the judge the “textbook definition” of racism.
“Speaker Ryan is wrong and Speaker Ryan has apparently switched positions and is supporting identity politics, which is racist,” Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, a member of the Reagan administration, said on CNN Tuesday when asked about Ryan’s concerns.
“I am accusing anybody, anybody who believes in identity politics, which he apparently now does, of playing the race card,” Lord said. “The Republican establishment is playing this. Senator McConnell is playing this. These people have run and hid and borrowed the Democratic agenda of playing the race card. It is wrong.”
According to a Bloomberg report, Trump urged his surrogates on a conference call Monday to amp up their attacks on journalists and politicians critical of his comments about the judge, who was born in Indiana. “The people asking the questions—those are the racists,” Trump reportedly said. “I would go at ’em.”
Trump has called U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel a “Mexican” who is “hostile” towards Trump because of Trump’s border wall plan, prompting condemnation of Trump from many of his fellow Republicans like Ryan who nonetheless continue to support Trump as their nominee.
Pressed again, Lord continued to accuse Ryan of “playing the race card” by criticizing Trump.
“I am saying it is identity politics, which is racist. And they should reject it out of hand,” Lord said.