Donald Trump is wringing his tiny hands over the massive fraud case against him, especially since the secret playbooks for his defunct Trump University have been made public. In his immature rantings, he has accused Judge Gonzalo Curiel of being biased against him. Why? Because he’s of Mexican heritage. Trump has been saying some nasty things about Judge Curiel, nasty enough to bring condemnation from high-ranking Republicans. Trump said about Judge Curiel on Face The Nation on June 5th:
He is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine. But I say, he’s got bias. I want to build a wall.
Trump didn’t mention the name of the group but, the next day, his spokeswoman Katrina Pierson did. In a CNN interview, she stated:
I think what’s really interesting about this particular judge — as Mr. Trump refers to him as a ‘Trump hater’ — is he even mentions on his judicial questionnaire that he was a La Raza Lawyers Association member.
The National Council of La Raza, an activist group, is a conservative boogie man and commonly called “the Latino KKK” by right-wingers. That’s not, however, the group of which Judge Curiel is a member. That would be the California La Raza Lawyers Association. And, no, they have nothing to do with one another.
Current president of the La Raza Lawyers Association, Luis Osuna, told the Washington Post:
The only tie that we have is that we serve the Latino community, and they do as well. But they’re a politically driven advocacy group, and we’re just a local diversity Bar association that focuses on both diversity and equality in the legal field, but particularly among Latinos.
Politifact contacted the California La Raza Lawyers Association and Osuna’s predecessor as president of the association, Joel Murillo, filled them in. The LRLA was formed in 1977 in response to “stereotyping” coming from fellow lawyers and judges. Murillo said that Trump’s characterization of the group as “strongly pro-Mexican” is incorrect. The group hasn’t been involved in the immigration debate at all. The only time the group did any kind of activism involved a reality show. The show made illegal immigrants compete for a green card (I wonder if the genius who thought that up was sent packing). The LRLA sent an open letter calling for the show’s cancellation.
The association is now only about half Latino, as membership has been opened to all California lawyers. It’s also pretty well divided as to party affiliation, reflecting California’s population. The group is seen as “pretty moderate” group which is primarily focused on civil rights.
Politico says that the only link they could find between the two groups, aside from the term, “La Raza” — a term that grew out of the Chicano civil rights movement back in the 1960s — is a link to the NCLR on the legal group’s website. They noted that other groups are linked to as well, including the National Latino Police Officer’s Association and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Politico’s ruling:
Trump’s statement is accurate only in the sense that the association’s mission aims to support Latinos, but even that is flawed because he said the group was pro-Mexican and the Latino designation reaches a wider set of people. The claim ignores critical facts that would give a very different impression. We rate this assertion Mostly False.
Snopes concurs, stating that the claim of Judge Curiel being a member of La Raza is False.
That has not, of course, made any impact with Trump’s supporters. They continue to insist that Judge Curiel is a member of the “bad” La Raza. By and large, when faced with the correct information about this, they choose to ignore it. As per usual. You can lead a Trumpite to facts but you can’t understand them for him.
“La Raza” is short for “La Raza Cósmica,” or “the cosmic race.” The phrase was coined by José Vasconcelos, a Mexican former Secretary of Education in the early 20th century. He used it to describe what he saw as the New World that would be ushered in with the mixture of ethnicities, a world characterized by “love and inclusivity.” That sounds like something we should all support.
Featured Image via Pixabay