“Sen. Ron Johnson has joined a growing number of Republicans critical of Donald Trump's comments about a federal judge's Mexican ancestry, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker. But all three Republican leaders continue to support the candidate's presidential bid.
Cap Times: Wisconsin Republican leaders critical of Trump judge comments, but still support him
By Jessie Opoien
June 7, 2016
Sen. Ron Johnson has joined a growing number of Republicans critical of Donald Trump's comments about a federal judge's Mexican ancestry, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker. But all three Republican leaders continue to support the candidate's presidential bid.
Johnson's opponent's campaign is questioning why the senator hasn't withdrawn his support for the presumptive GOP nominee.
Johnson spokesman Brian Reisinger said the senator thinks Trump should retract his statements accusing Indiana-born U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of being biased against him in the Trump University case because of his "Mexican heritage."
"Ron disagrees, just as he has in the past," Reisinger said. "Ron will hold both candidates accountable when they’re wrong, and there will be plenty of opportunities to do so with a Washington career politician like Hillary Clinton. Wisconsinites respect honesty and know that Ron will always tell them the truth."
Michael Tyler, a spokesman for Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold, noted that Johnson said last month he would withdraw his support from "any individual" if the candidate "would say something that crosses a line and, in the end, is so significant, so major that you couldn't support them."
"Sen. Johnson said that if Trump said or did anything that 'crossed a line,' he'd have to withdraw his support for the Republican nominee," Tyler said. "It's clear from his response that racist comments from Trump don't rise to that level for Sen. Johnson."
Trump has said Curiel cannot rule impartially in the case against Trump University because of the candidate's previous comments calling for a wall between Mexico and the United States.
Over the weekend, he extended the argument to suggest a Muslim judge could also not treat him fairly due to his calls for a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the U.S.
According to a Bloomberg Politics report, Trump told supporters on a call on Monday that "the people asking the questions" about his comments "are the racists."
The candidate's comments earned him criticism from the Speaker of the House not 24 hours after the Republican leader had endorsed him.
Ryan continued his rebuke on Tuesday, calling Trump's statements "indefensible" and "the textbook definition of a racist comment." But he maintained that Trump is still a preferable alternative to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Walker made similar comments on Monday in an interview with USA Today Network-Wisconsin. The governor said he "fundamentally" disagrees with Trump's comments but still believes the Republican candidate is better suited for the presidency than Clinton.