Leaders from L.A.’s African-American and Mexican-American communities spoke out Friday against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of Trump’s comments suggesting a federal judge is not qualified to preside over a case because of his Mexican heritage.
Trump has been criticized from both ends of the political spectrum for saying U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel cannot preside fairly over a case involving Trump University because the judge is of Mexican heritage and Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Those criticisms continued at an event organized by local members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, of which Curiel is a member.
“We’ve made so much progression in America. It’s sad to think that still people think that way,” Carson Councilman Jawane Hilton said on the podium.
“He wants to take us back to an America that history has chronicled that’s not so pleasing, that’s not so accepting,” Assemblyman Mike Gipson said. “We’re here to say, ‘No, that can’t happen.’ ”
Trump has since apologized for his comments on Curiel, although some critics have argued the apology does not go far enough.
“My comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage,” Trump said in the apology statement. “I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard. I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”