Donald Trump’s highly personal, racially tinged attacks on a federal judge overseeing a pair of lawsuits against him have set off a wave of alarm among legal experts, who worry that the Republican presidential candidate’s vendetta signals a remarkable disregard for judicial independence.First, will WaPo commit to the general principle that to criticize the judge in your case is to disregard judicial independence? Someone has a PR problem when they are sued, are they not supposed to speak about it? Can they not complain that the judge doesn't like them? It seems unremarkable to me. The only thing remarkable is how vividly and boldly Trump phrases his complaints. Would WaPo like to argue for a special rule for those who speak effectively?
But what really bothers me is accusing Trump of making "racially tinged attacks on [a] federal judge" while highlighting relevant quote. It's especially... remarkable... given that everything around the part I want to read is quoted verbatim in paragraphs 4 and 5:
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater,” Trump said at a campaign rally in San Diego, adding that he believed the Indiana-born judge was “Mexican.”You have to go all the way to paragraph 16 to find the text of the quote about the judge's ethnicity:
He also suggested taking action against the judge after the election: “They ought to look into Judge Curiel, because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace. Okay? But we will come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I am president and come back and do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. Okay. This is called life, folks.”
"The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine. You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs, okay?"Yes, there's something crude or ignorant about referring to Mexican-Americans as "Mexicans," but "Mexican" isn't an insult, especially when it's followed with "which is great" and "I think that’s fine" and a digression into why Mexican-Americans ought to love him. Moreover, "Mexican" is not a race, so it's crude or ignorant for WaPo to call this "racially tinged."
WaPo's full headline is "Trump’s personal, racially tinged attacks on federal judge alarm legal experts." Who are these "legal experts" and what, exactly, is alarming them? I'm sure there are thousands of legal experts who are alarmed about Trump, but let's see whom WaPo got to give quotes. First, there's the lawprof Arthur Hellman, but I don't see "alarm" in what he says and I don't see anything about race (or ethnicity):
“Having a presidential candidate embroiled in litigation totally unrelated to the political system . . . that is what is so novel about this. And then you add to this the personal criticism,” said Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “It’s personal all the way, and that’s what makes this different.”There follow 4 paragraphs of material not attributed to Hellman, ending with what, perhaps, the WaPo reporters were trying to get Hellman to say: "Trump’s attacks on [Judge] Curiel stand out for their personal nature, for the racial remarks and for the suggestion by a potential president that someone 'ought to look into' the judge." The only part of that connected to Hellman is "personal" and definitely not "racial."
Next, we get the lawprof Charles Gardner Geyh, who's at Indiana’s Maurer School of Law:
[Geyh] said he has no problem with presidents or presidential candidates criticizing judges or judicial decisions. But, he said, “there’s a line between disagreement and sort of throwing the judiciary under the bus that I think is at issue here.”Geyh doesn't sound alarmed. He sounds sober and noncommittal. He — quite properly, I think — approves of candidates criticizing judges. He also notes a "line" and an "issue." That is, he doesn't tell us exactly what the line is and doesn't say whether Trump has crossed it. He's only saying that we're talking about whether Trump has crossed some line beyond what's acceptable in the criticism of judges. Where's the alarm?!
This article has a terrible headline. And yet I see it is #1 on WaPo "Most Read" list in the side bar. The headline is clickbait — truly reprehensible clickbait.
It makes me want to quote Trump (from his press conference the other day): "The press is so dishonest and so unfair.... [T]he political press is among the most dishonest people I've ever met...."