House Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi's office (D-Calif.) threw shade on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) with a fake press release that took him to task for cancelling a press conference in the midst of a dust-up among Republicans responding to a controversy over Donald Trump. Speaker Ryan cancelled his weekly session with the press today, claiming that it was due to hosting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a speech to a joint session of Congress.
This did not stop Pelosi from seeking to poke fun at Ryan and the Republicans about Trump’s comments last week about a federal judge of Mexican parentage who is overseeing a case against Trump University. When Trump insisted that Judge Gonzalo Curiel has an inherent “conflict of interest” in the Trump University case because of his Mexican ancestry, Ryan and other Republicans joined Democrats in rebuking the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Pelosi’s press release, which progressive website Raw Story labeled a “hilarious” “mock press release,” read, “Speaker Ryan has cancelled his regular Wednesday press conference so you don’t ask him about Donald Trump’s racist commentary against a federal judge, and why, ahead of their national security agenda rollout tomorrow, the House GOP wants to hand the nuclear codes to a person who engages in textbook racism.”
Ryan said that Trump’s remarks were not only “textbook racist” but also “indefensible.” He later said that he was not calling Trump himself a racist, however.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, sent out the press release on Twitter.
Trump has since said that his remarks about Curiel have been "misconstrued." He added, "Based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial." Trump also questioned Curiel’s affiliations, as have others such as Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs of the Fox network.
Curiel belongs to the La Raza Lawyers Association, which contrary to reports is not affiliated with the politically activist National Council of La Raza, which has received millions of federal dollars over the years to organize Latino voters. However, Curiel also belongs the National Hispanic Bar Association, which has called for a boycott of all Trump properties due to its rejection of Trump’s remarks. On June 6, Trump told Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, "I don't care if the judge is Mexican or not…All I want him to do is give me a fair shake."
Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican parents. A former prosecutor, he was first nominated to the bench by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar of California and later to the federal court system by President Barack Obama.