Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reportedly told his supporters that reporters are racists if they ask questions about his repeated insults about the Mexican ancestry of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Trump held a conference call meeting with supporters on June 6 to defend his attacks on Curiel's ancestry, Bloomberg Politics reports.
"We will overcome," he said, according to two unidentified sources who were on the call. "And I’ve always won and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is."
Trump has repeatedly attacked Curiel, who was born in Indiana, for his Mexican heritage, which Trump has asserted is behind Curiel's alleged bias against him.
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Curiel is overseeing a lawsuit against Trump for his now-defunct Trump University, which allegedly charged people tens of thousands of dollars for a controversial real estate course.
During the conference call, former Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona reportedly said the Trump campaign told people in a June 5 email not to talk about the lawsuit, which came as news to Trump himself.
"Take that order and throw it the hell out," Trump said, according to the two sources. "Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks? That's one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart."
Trump was told that the email memo allegedly came from Erica Freeman, who informed staffers that "they're not authorized to discuss matters concerning the Trump Organization including corporate news such as the Trump University case."
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"The best possible response is 'the case will be tried in the courtroom in front of a jury—not in the media,'" the email added.
Trump urged the supporters on the call to attack journalists who bring up the lawsuit or his comments about Curiel.
"The people asking the questions—those are the racists," Trump said about the media. "I would go at 'em."
"I'd let them have it," Trump reportedly added.
Hope Hicks, Trump's press secretary, declined to speak to the specifics of the June 6 conference call to Bloomberg Politics.
"The call was scheduled in order for Mr. Trump to thank his supporters and congratulate everyone as the primaries officially come to an end," Hicks said. "Many topics were discussed and it was a productive call for all parties."
Trump was criticized for his attacks on the judge by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former GOP presidential candidate, on June 6, notes Mediate.
"I think it’s wrong," Rubio told WFTV, according to Mediaite. "He needs to stop saying it. That man is an American and born in the United States. Beyond that, even if he hadn't been, he's a judge who's earned that position and in the end should be treated with the same level of respect as any other officer of the court. I don’t think it reflects well on the Republican party."
Rubio later added: "I don't defend what he says. And all I can tell you is I ran for president, I warned this is what was going to happen.consistently said that if he became the nominee we would face these sorts of difficult choices we now have."
Rubio said he would support the GOP nominee, but had "significant differences with Donald."