BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The judge being targeted by Donald Trump, Gonzalo Curiel, is a graduate from the IU Maurer School of Law. The school’s administration is firing back, defending Curiel’s reputation and credibility as not only a federal judge, but a Hoosier alum.
“I was certainly disheartened and in fact, quite outraged,” said Donna Nagy, the Executive Associate Dean at Maurer.
Nagy was quick to defend Curiel who she said was arguably one of the most notable IU law school alums.
“He has been a loyal, dedicated, interesting, and engaging alum of our school. We’re tremendously proud,” said Nagy.
Curiel is hearing lawsuits against Trump University. His credibility was called into question by Trump who claimed he’s unable to hear the case; biased because of his Mexican heritage.
“He’s of Mexican heritage, okay? I’m building a wall. I’m building a wall,” said Trump during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“Someone who aspires to be the U.S. President would call into question the integrity of a sitting federal judge, solely on the basis of that judge’s ethnicity,” said Nagy.
Curiel graduated from the IU Maurer School of Law in 1979. Of the School’s 11,000 alumni, Curiel is one of only 100 law school fellows. A title given in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the school, including the establishment of a scholarship in 1998 in honor of his brother.
Curiel returned to IU in 2014 to give the law school commencement address. What he told the graduating class then, taking on new meaning now.
“‘Build an excellent reputation and protect it each day of your life.’ He’s been doing that and he encouraged our students to do that and we’re tremendously proud,” said Nagy.
Law school staff are not the only ones coming to his defense. U.S. Senator Dan Coats tweeted Tuesday he felt Trump’s comments were “inappropriate.”
Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan weighed in as well, “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of the textbook definition of a racist comment,” he said during a press conference Tuesday.
Trump is not apologizing for the remarks; in fact he has doubled down on what he said. Governor Mike Pence who endorsed Trump for president called the remarks at a press conference Tuesday, “inappropriate.”