WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's criticism of a Latino judge overseeing a lawsuit involving Trump University shows that the presumptive Republican nominee for president is a racist, a Democratic congressman said Monday, and he told Trump to take his proposed border wall and "shove it up your ass."
Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas said in an open letter that Trump's "ignorant anti-immigrant opinions," border wall rhetoric and continued attacks on the judge "are just plain despicable."
Vela, who represents a district in southern Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border, called Trump a racist, adding, "You can take your border wall and shove it up your ass."
In the Senate, top Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada lobbed a blistering fusillade at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for failing to denounce Trump's attacks on the federal judge presiding in a lawsuit in which Trump is the defendant.
Trump University is the target of two lawsuits in San Diego and one in New York that accuse the business of fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach them secrets of success in real estate, an allegation Trump has denied.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is presiding over the San Diego suit, and Trump has said Curiel's Mexican heritage means he cannot ensure a fair trial for Trump, who wants to build a border wall to keep people from illegally entering the United States from Mexico. Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican-born parents — making him, in Trump's words, "a hater of Donald Trump."
Republicans have warned Trump to drop his attacks on Curiel, which they said have hurt the GOP's efforts to reach out to Latino voters.
Vela said in his letter that Trump's position "with respect to the millions of undocumented Mexican workers who now live in this country is hateful, dehumanizing and frankly shameful."
The "vast number" of immigrants from Mexico work in hotels, restaurants, construction sites and agricultural fields across the United States, Vela said.
Meanwhile, Reid said "McConnell is the poster boy for Republicans' spinelessness that allowed Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee" after the Kentucky Republican declined to label Trump's assault on Curiel as racist.
Reid said Trump is the natural result of Washington Republicans' anti-Obama agenda, saying GOP leaders have "embraced the darkest elements within their party."
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump promises to build a wall along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Some 650 miles of border fencing now sits on the border, including roughly 15-foot-tall steel fencing in many urban areas that is designed to stop or slow those trying to cross the border on foot.
Vela said he would rather "tear the existing wall to pieces."
While there's no doubt that Mexico "has its problems," it is also a U.S. neighbor and its third-largest trading partner, Vela said. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has documented that trade with Mexico accounts for at least 6 million jobs in the United States, he said.
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