The New York Times reports: Speaker Paul D. Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican, on Tuesday called Donald J. Trump’s remarks about a Latino judge “racist,” an extraordinary indictment that generated a fresh wave of criticism and panic from other Republicans. By the end of the day, Mr. Trump was forced into a rare moment of damage control and said that his words had been “misconstrued.”
Mr. Trump, who said last week that a Mexican-American judge in a case involving Trump University was biased against him because of his heritage, issued a statement Tuesday saying, “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial.” He added that he was simply questioning whether he was receiving a fair trial, but he did not apologize for his remarks, something many Republicans had urged him to do.
Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump’s criticism of the judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel of United States District Court, was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” But Mr. Ryan also reiterated his support for Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. [Continue reading…]
The Republicans, such as Ryan, who are disavowing Trump’s racist comments yet reiterating their support for him, are less concerned that Trump is indeed a racist than they insist he must stop sounding like a racist.
Paradoxically, on the one hand they acknowledge that racism is manifest in behavior — such as the comments someone makes — and yet they also seem to be saying that someone can engage in racist behavior without being a racist.
It’s either that, or what Ryan et al are really saying is this: We know Trump’s a racist but we wish he’d stop making it so obvious.
Trump’s statement that from now on he’ll stop talking about the Trump University court case, suggests he got the message. The question now is not whether he’s a racist but whether he can keep his mouth shut. That seems about as likely as it is for his hair to stay in place.