New York Times
By Maggie Haberman
February 27, 2016
Donald J. Trump suggested Saturday a lawsuit filed against him by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, over his Trump University was part of a conspiracy involving President Obama.
He also mentioned that the judge in the case is Hispanic, and said that he might ask the judge to recuse himself from the case.
At a rally in Bentonville, Ark., on Saturday, where he was introduced by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Mr. Trump repeatedly defended himself over questions about the educational seminars known as Trump University, which is the subject of Mr. Schneiderman’s lawsuit claiming it defrauded students.
“So the attorney general gets a campaign contribution from the law firm that’s suing me,” he added, saying that Mr. Schneiderman is “not respected in New York.”
“He meets with Obama, gets a campaign contribution, I think,” said Mr. Trump, adding, “And all of a sudden, he meets with Obama in, I believe Syracuse, and the following day or two he brings a lawsuit against me.” He insisted that he has won most of the case, but that it should have been thrown out.
“There is a hostility toward me by the judge — tremendous hostility — beyond belief,” Mr. Trump said. “I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He’s Hispanic, which is fine. And we haven’t asked for a recusal, which we may do. But we have a judge who’s very hostile.”
A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to an email asking on what grounds he would seek a recusal.
In a statement, Mr. Schneiderman said, “There is no place in this process for racial demagoguery directed at respected members of the judiciary. The State Supreme Court has already ruled that Trump University operated illegally in New York as an unlicensed educational institution, and we look forward to prevailing on the rest of our claims as the legal process moves forward.”
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida seized on the Trump University issue during the Republican debate on Thursday in Houston, and an outside political group is now running ads featuring some of those who claim they were defrauded.
Mr. Trump on Saturday also kept his sights on Mr. Rubio, whom he called “little Rubio,” and who has been lancing Mr. Trump with criticism about his looks, his skin tone and, more significantly, his claims of success as a businessman. Both Mr. Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump said, are “world-class liars.”
Mr. Trump said neither Mr. Rubio nor Mr. Cruz could have the kind of successes that he has had, noting that he got into the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton business school. “The Rubios of the world could not get into that school. Oy. They don’t have the capacity.” He allowed that Mr. Cruz, a Princeton graduate, might be smart enough.
“I will address little Rubio,” Mr. Trump said at one point. “The guy has a fresh mouth.” He repeated one of Mr. Rubio’s main charges against him, saying, “The last thing I am is a con man.”
Instead, he insisted it was Mr. Rubio who has committed fraud, alleging he “stole from the Republican party” of Florida, a reference to a controversy over paving-stone charges for Mr. Rubio’s driveway that were on a party credit card. He has said he pulled out the wrong card and reimbursed the party, but the issue has been used against him in the past.
The biggest surprise of the day may have been Mr. Trump receiving a supportive nod from Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right founder of the National Front in France, and who was tossed from the party over racially-tinged rhetoric. “If I were an American, I would vote Donald Trump,” said Mr. Le Pen in a Twitter post in French. “But may God protect him.”
His support for Mr. Trump could be an attack line exploited by Democrats should Mr. Trump become the G.O.P. nominee.
Also Saturday, Mr. Trump’s campaign announced the endorsement of Jan Brewer, the former Arizona Republican governor. She signed a tough-on-illegal-immigration bill in 2010, but also took the Medicaid expansion offered under Mr. Obama’s signature health care law, upsetting some conservatives.
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