Will Trump Change? not Yet

In case there was any doubt over whether it was Trump himself or his close circle of advisors like Lewandowski who pushed him to double down on controversies, Trump cleared that up this Monday. A memo sent to Trump campaign staff and supporters by campaign aide Erica Freeman urged his supporters to avoid the Judge Curiel issue. Curiel is presiding over the Trump University case in San Diego and is the son of Mexican immigrants, and an Indiana native.

Trump on a conference call this Monday was furious when he found about the email. Throw it the hell out or something like that is what he apparently said. He now has everyone - with the exception of former Bush AG Alberto Gonzalez - in the GOP criticizing him. Or at least distancing themselves from the comments. Like Marco Rubio who will not speak in support of Trump at the convention, which Rubio will attend, but rather speak about his principles. Should anyone ask Rubio to speak.

Gingrich called Trump's comments inexcusable. Others were tougher. Fox news - hardly a harsh critic of Trump as far as mainstream media are concerned - had more than their fair share of criticisms of the comments by Trump on how the judge was biased because of his Mexican heritage and Trump's stand on immigration.

Doesn't matter. Trump's not going to change. The attack on Judge Curiel has no legal basis - even the line of defense by Alberto Gonzalez that Curiel's politics are somehow suspect does not imply Curiel should recuse himself. It has no political gain in terms of his GOP allies and not-so-allies. It gets no political gain among those groups conventional wisdom and the polls suggest Trump should try and approach. But it does get political traction with his hard core of supporters.

So why do it? When the only people who are glad you continue to attack Judge Curiel are those who'll vote for you anyway?

Trump cannot dismantle the American Judicial system and revamp it to his liking. And one would think that as someone who has dealt with the courts and with the legal profession for decades now, that he understands that.

Is it his instinct that tells him: this is the way to keep going? This is the only way you got here. So keep doing it. An instinctive approach to tactics that has somehow worked because it has exposed issues that many voters care about and that have been dealt with glibly or to what they feel is their detriment. Like trade. Like immigration.

Yes ... but this case is different. And Trump is the nominee. But he won't change. As senators, representatives and commentators who are neutral to supportive try to decide how to handle this, Trump continues on. Will he back off Curiel? Or does he sense that Trump University is a weak point in his brand and he must defend it at all costs? Even political ones? That's a businessman and a marketer talking, rather than a politician. The Curiel case is far from over. See what Trump does? He turns a respected judge into a defendant. Even if it makes his supporters flinch.

Posted by Keeley at June 7, 2016 2:40 PM
Comment #405159

Lost amid all the hoopla today- six primaries, Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee and first woman to represent a major party for president, Paul Ryan calling Trump’s comment textbook racism, Trump saying he would no longer talk about this topic, the Republican Senator from Illinois withdrawing his endorsement of Trump, and more- this little gem went unnoticed:


“Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates

The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi’s spokesman to The Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump’s $25,000 donation to Bondi.

The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi’s re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013 — four days after Bondi’s office publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University’s activities, according to a 2013 report in the Orlando Sentinel.

After the check came in, Bondi’s office nixed suing Trump, citing insufficient grounds to proceed.”

Good luck with that.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2016 10:03 PM
Comment #405185

I’ve been watching Morning Joe the last couple of days and they are stuck on the “it was a racist comment” narrative. That completely misses the point. The real narrative here is that Trump is going to use his political capital for personal gain. He just closed the gap between himself and Hillary as he is no better/no worse than the career politician class that he rails against. The Trump U issue has nothing to do with politics- it does not equate to the IRS scandal- because it is a personal issue with Trump. What other scores will he be willing to settle as President?

You either support the political status quo of politics or you don’t. You believe that while they are using bums that game the system for personal benefit, it’s still a better deal than anywhere else on the planet. Or you can think that it’s time to burn it down and get a new deal based on some mythical time when all politicians were there to serve us or some dream space new utopia where everyone just gets along. Me I’d rather have crooked politicians that at least play by a code I can understand. I’d rather deal with the devil I know and not the one I don’t because I know that this country is productive enough to handle this crap.

And when it can’t I know I can always hop on a plane to someplace that can.

Posted by: George in SC at June 9, 2016 8:16 AM
Comment #405187

For years we have seen people question the integrity of white judges, white juries, and white police officers etc… when dealing with minorities. OJ, Trayvon, Brown, the first thing people on the left look at is race.
But now that Trump, a white supposedly right-winger is the one doing the questioning, it is all of a sudden wrong.

Will Trump change? Maybe a little, but why should he. The media is going to do everything it can to deflect from Hillary’s lack of integrity and wrong doing, and push the ‘he’s a racist’ hyperbole all the way to November.

I’m sure he fully understands the uphill battle he faces so he might as well just dance with the one who brought him.

Posted by: kctim at June 9, 2016 9:37 AM
Comment #405190

George in SC,

That’s all very salient. There most dangerous thing about Trump is his vindictiveness. Settling personal quarrels with the government’s cudgel is among the worst possible things a President can do.

I don’t think anyone on the Left has challenged the integrity of a judge on the account of his or her whiteness. What you claim has been true for juries, law enforcement officers and prosecutors, but never any judges as far as I can remember, but perhaps I am forgetting something.

Posted by: Warren Porter at June 9, 2016 9:54 AM
Comment #405211

Are you denying the claims of ‘racial bias in court rulings’? Of white people receiving lighter sentencing from judges? That “Judges punish criminal defendants differently based on their race – and only their race.”
That even the President believes that what a judge looks like in their robe is important?

Posted by: kctim at June 10, 2016 9:55 AM
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