“I think the party of Lincoln wants to win the White House,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell said. | AP Photo
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell refused repeatedly Sunday to say whether Donald Trump’s attack on a judge’s Mexican heritage is “racist.”
Pressed by Chuck Todd in an interview on “Meet the Press,” McConnell three times ignored a question about whether Trump’s comments could be characterized as racist.
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“I couldn’t disagree more with the statement,” McConnell said each time he was asked.
Trump has attacked a judge presiding over the lawsuit against Trump University, Gonzalo Curiel, as biased, arguing that his Mexican parentage — even though Curiel was born in Indiana — makes him unable to impartially judge the case. He’s called Curiel a “Mexican” repeatedly. It’s led to sharp condemnations of those concerned about an independent judiciary, including some fellow Republicans.
Though he declined to characterize the comments racist, McConnell did reject Trump’s conclusion.
“I don’t agree with what he had to say. This is a man who was born in Indiana. all of us came here from somewhere else,” he said. “That’s an important part of what makes America work.”
When Todd read a quote from conservative blogger Erick Erickson accusing “the party of Lincoln” of defending a racist candidate, McConnell dismissed the argument.
“I think the party of Lincoln wants to win the White House,” he said. “The right-of-center world needs to respect the fact that the primary voters have spoken.”