The White House on Monday attacked Republicans in Congress for their response to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll We must do more to protect American Jews 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE’s broadsides against a federal judge.
Press secretary Josh Earnest declined to say whether he thought the GOP presidential candidate's attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel are racist.
But he said it is “a little ironic for Republicans in the Senate who say they have concerns about the presumptive Republican nominee's views as it relates to judges” while also refusing to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
He said blocking Garland will only "preserve the ability of the Republican presidential nominee to potentially make those appointments."
Earnest also said he found it “totally unsurprising” that other Republicans have not disavowed Trump, citing GOP lawmakers’ support for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), whom he referred to "David Duke without the baggage.”
The Louisiana lawmaker drew criticism last year for addressing a white supremacist group when he was a state legislator.
“This is not an exception; this is the rule,” Earnest said of Republicans. “It’s an unfortunate one, and yes, I suspect it’s one that people across the country will notice.”
Over the last week, Trump has repeatedly lambasted Curiel, who is overseeing fraud lawsuits against the candidate’s Trump University program.
He claims that, because Curiel is of Mexican descent, he cannot serve as a fair arbiter of the case and should recuse himself. Curiel was born in Indiana to immigrants from Mexico.
Asked why he did not want to respond directly, Earnest said Trump often makes outrageous statements and he was "not going to respond to every potential controversial thing he has to say.”