For a few weeks, it was beginning to look like the schism between Donald Trump and the Republican Party would turn out to be much ado about nothing. Since clinching the nomination, outspoken foes like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and others have offered their (hesitant, but still…) support to the billionaire. Insisting that there was nothing more important than defeating Hillary Clinton, the Republican leadership seemed ready to rebuild burned bridges.
This week, however, things started to sour once again. After Trump said that Gonzalo Curiel – the judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University – was biased due to his Mexican heritage, it became quickly evident that those once-doused flames could easily spark up again.
“I don’t agree with what he had to say,” said McConnell on Meet the Press. “This is a man who was born in Indiana. All of us came here from somewhere else. Almost all Americans are either near-term immigrants like my wife, who came here at age 8 not speaking a word of English, or the rest of us whose ancestors were risk-takers who came here and made this country great.”
Paul Ryan, days after finally endorsing Trump, seemed frustrated as well. “Look, the comment about the judge, just was out of left field for my mind,” he said Friday. “It’s reasoning I don’t relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that.”
Even Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s loyal supporters, expressed irritation with the nominee. “I don’t know what Trump’s reasoning was and I don’t care,” he said in a Washington Post interview. “His description of the judge in terms of his parentage is completely unacceptable.”
Trump, in true Trump fashion, doesn’t seem too concerned. In fact, he added fuel to the fire on Sunday when CBS’s John Dickerson asked him if he would have the same concerns about a Muslim judge.
“That would be possible, absolutely,” Trump said.