By Louis Nelson
June 6, 2016
Standing in the shadow of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had harsh words for the GOP nominee, his campaign and his defunct university.
The Democratic council member slammed Donald Trump’s attacks against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who the GOP nominee has said should not be allowed to preside over a civil fraud case in California against Trump University, the candidate’s real estate seminar program. Those attacks from Trump have been widely rebuked, including by many prominent Republicans, but Mark-Viverito didn’t mince words in going after the real estate mogul.
“Donald Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel are racist. He is quite literally saying Judge Curiel can’t do his job because of his ethnicity,” she said on the sidewalk in front of Trump Tower, echoing a line of questioning that CNN’s Jake Tapper pursued in an interview with Trump on Friday. “That is the definition of racism. It’s gross, it’s vile and it is not normal behavior for anyone, let alone someone running to be president of the United States.”
“This is the same Donald Trump who has spent his entire campaign obsessed with trying to divide Americans into which groups are acceptable to him and which are not,” she continued. “In Donald’s world, someone’s ethnicity can disqualify them from doing their job and their religion can disqualify them from coming to this country.”
Elsewhere, Democrats in Indiana also jumped to the defense of Curiel, who was born in the state. At a press conference Monday, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody urged his state’s Republicans to condemn Trump’s remarks against a native son of Indiana.
“This press conference is not about Donald Trump,” Zody said. “We’re here today to publicly call out the Indiana Republican Party and its candidates and elected officials for turning a blind eye and not sticking to the morals we know as Hoosiers. We’re asking Republicans to put politics aside and join us in an effort to protect the well-being of Indiana and everyone who calls themselves a Hoosier by condemning these remarks against a Hoosier.”
Back in Manhattan, the New York City Council speaker jumped from defending Curiel to attacking Trump University, which is also the target of a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Highlighting the program’s real estate teachings and connecting them to the struggles Latino families faced during the 2008 recession, Mark-Viverito accused Trump of profiting off of hardship suffered by the Hispanic community.
“And why is Donald Trump attacking Judge Curiel? Because he does not like his rulings on Trump University,” she said. “The same fake university which urged people to benefit off the foreclosure crisis, the same crisis which hit Latino families so hard in places like Nevada and Florida. Let that sink in for a moment. The Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, was hoping, praying, for a foreclosure crisis so he could get rich. Donald Trump wanted to get rich off of Latino families’ agony. People suffered and Donald cheered from his tacky, fake, golden tower.”
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