At a press conference outside of Trump Tower in Midtown, Manhattan on Monday, Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito condemned presidential contender Donald Trump’s remarks about the Mexican American judge assigned to the Trump University case, reports the New York Times.
Menchaca, who is Mexican American, used his influence to blast Trump’s recent suggestion U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel was unable to fairly preside over the lawsuit because of his Mexican heritage.
“Attacking a judge for his Mexican heritage is un-American. The venom that Trump continues to spew out is making us stronger as a community of immigrants,” said Menchaca in a Facebook post after the press conference. “I can say that with certainty that it’s making me stronger as the first elected Mexican-American official in New York City.”
Menchaca, whose district includes Sunset Park, shared the podium with Mark-Viverito, who similarly condemned the presumptive GOP nominee, accusing any Republicans who backed Trump of sharing in the blame for his offensive rhetoric.
“He’s quite literally saying Judge Curiel can’t do his job because of his ethnicity. That is the definition of racism,” said Mark-Viverito, who is Puerto Rican. “It’s gross, it’s vile, and it is not normal behavior for anyone, let alone someone running to be the president of the United States.”
Trump said that the judge has an “inherent conflict of interest” because he is of Mexican descent, and Trump’s main campaign promise is building a wall on the United States-Mexican boarder — which Mexico would pay for. These comments have ignited national anger, and has even stirred up the GOP.
On Tuesday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s comments the “textbook definition of racism,” but went on to say he will continue to back him because he doesn’t believe Hilary Clinton is the answer. Meanwhile, another Republican Congressman, Linsey Graham of South Carolina, called Trump’s remarks “very un-American” and urged his fellow party members to jump the Trump ship.
On his website today, Trump released a statement claiming his words were “misconstrued” by the media.
“I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent,” he noted in the statement.