Donald Trump released a statement Tuesday saying how “unfortunate” it was that his remarks about the judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuit were “misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage.”
Trump has been under fire since he began to criticize U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge in the Southern District of California.
The presumptive GOP nominee said of Judge Curiel during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that Curiel had an “inherent conflict of interest” in the Trump University lawsuit because he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association.
Trump later told CNN’s Jake Tapper, that Curiel made “rulings that people can’t even believe.”
“He’s proud of his his heritage. I respect him for that,” Trump said on CNN, adding, “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
“I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard. I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial,” Trump said in his statement.
He went further to say, “Over the past few weeks, I have watched as the media has reported one inaccuracy after another concerning the ongoing litigation involving Trump University. There are several important facts the public should know and that the media has failed to report.”
In reference to the lawsuit, Trump says that, “Over a five year period, more than 10,000 paying students filled out surveys giving the courses high marks and expressing their overwhelming satisfaction with Trump University’s programs.”
He lists students who he says gave his school positive ratings and named two who rated him “excellent” to only later become part of the lawsuit.
“Due to what I believe are unfair and mistaken rulings in this case and the Judge’s reported associations with certain professional organizations, questions were raised regarding the Obama appointed Judge’s impartiality. It is a fair question. I hope it is not the case,” Trump wrote.
He concluded, “While this lawsuit should have been dismissed, it is now scheduled for trial in November. I do not intend to comment on this matter any further. With all of the thousands of people who have given the courses such high marks and accolades, we will win this case!”
Trump is expected to give a press conference Tuesday night in Westchester, New York.