At an event promoting his memoir Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “stupid” for Donald Trump to single out a judge’s Mexican heritage and said the Republican presidential candidate should apologize and “get on script.”
He did not, though, back away from supporting the New York real estate magnate.
Instead, McConnell criticized Trump for statements the Republican presidential candidate has made about Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over a court case involving his defunct real-estate training program, Trump University.
“I worry about these gratuitous shots at a variety of Americans,” McConnell said in a discussion of his book, “The Long Game,” at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington policy group. “Basically, we’re writing off Hispanic Americans.”
Trump has said that Curiel is biased against him because Trump has proposed to build a wall at the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. Although Curiel’s parents are from Mexico, he was born in Indiana and is known for his tough approach to Mexican drug cartels.
“Even if you thought that was appropriate in any way, which I don’t,” McConnell said of Trump’s singling out of Curiel’s Mexican heritage, “it’s stupid to do that.”
McConnell and many prominent Republicans have criticized Trump’s remarks but continue to back him. Trump should apologize and “get on script,” McConnell said.
“It’s time for him to look like a serious candidate for president,” he said. “This could be a winnable race.”
And by "get on script" he's saying "please use the more acceptable racist dog whistle terms for Hispanic voters rather than your overt foghorns, you're killing us in the polls."
It seems Sen. McConnell has discovered that Donald Trump may in fact have coattails of negative length, and are suprised that after a couple decades of treating (non-Cuban) Hispanic immigrants like an infestation that people are less likely to vote for the guy who wants to deport millions and build a giant wall to keep "them" out.
The real problem is that Trump is just saying out loud what the GOP has been implying for years, and there's a lot of increasingly uncomfortable Republican voters who are finding out that there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid being labeled a racist when you've nominated an unapologetic racist nationalist popular with white supremacist groups as your party's standard-bearer.
Oh and Mitch: you wrote off "Hispanic Americans" a long time ago. Pay attention.