Donald Trump’s criticisms of U.S District Judge Gonzalo Curiel have received backlash from pretty much everyone. But Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Chuck Grassley made a tepid attempt to defend the nominee’s remarks by comparing them to comments made by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor about her own ethnic background. Grassley said this:
I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that—when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘a wise Latina woman’ with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male… I don’t hear any criticism of that sort of comment by as justice of the Supreme Court.
Grassley’s comments, which echo those made by Trump surrogate Jeffery Lord, represent a departure from the senator’s position as of Tuesday. Grassley had previously said, “Well, I surely disagree with Mr. Trump on that point, and you can’t have a religious or ethnic test to be a judge in America.”
Senate Minority leader, Harry Reid, was quick to criticize Grassley’s turnaround. Reid has not only requested Grassley “disavow” the comments made by Trump, but has also chastised the Iowa Senator for wasting “countless dollars” to help the Trump campaign, instead of spending his time vetting Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Grassley has already endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy, and reconfirmed on Wednesday that he has no intention of withdrawing that support.