By Alaa Abdeldaiem
In light of Donald Trump’s claims regarding U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the Indiana Democratic Party had one question for the state’s Republican elected officials on Monday: where are you?
They criticized the state’s Republicans for failing to condemn the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s comments about Indiana native Curiel.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal last Thursday
that Curiel was unfit to serve as the presiding judge in a case against Trump University due to his Mexican heritage presenting an “inherent conflict of interest” because of Trump’s proposal to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.
“We’re here to publicly call out the Indiana Republican party, its candidates and elected officials for turning a blind eye and not sticking to the morals we know as Hoosiers,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said. “We’re asking Republicans to put politics aside and join us in the efforts to protect the well-being of Indiana and everyone who calls themselves a Hoosier by condemning the remarks made against a Hoosier.”
Former State Rep. John Aguilera, who served Lake County from 1999 until 2006, said Trump’s attacks on Curiel came as no surprise, recounting his own interactions with the presidential candidate in the early 1990s.
Aguilera served as a minatory investor for a proposed casino in Gary when Trump’s organization pushed to introduce gambling in Indiana. After working with the community to gain support, Aguilera said Trump’s investors failed to deliver on their promises and only later reached a settlement outside of court.
“Frankly, I’m not surprised to see Trump attack good, honest people like Gonzalo,” Aguilera said. “But to describe someone as foreign because of his Mexican descent, Mr. Trump has once again crossed the line. Gonzalo is a Hoosier, and we must work to defend one of our own.”
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell responded to the Democrat’s comments in a statement Monday.
“This is just another typical stunt from the Democrat Party to distract Hoosiers from real issues that impact their lives, like when Hillary Clinton and John Gregg promised to put Indiana miners out of work, costing the state thousands of mining and manufacturing jobs and increasing people’s home electric bills,” Cardwell said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, fired back at Republicans, calling Trump’s statements “shameful” and “ignorant.”
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the Indiana Republican Party said today that it’s a ‘stunt’ to speak out against prejudice and stand up for Hoosiers,” Donnelly said in a Facebook post. “It most definitely is not a stunt. Hoosiers know we are a stronger country when we work together and it’s fair of them to expect their elected officials to believe the same.”
Zody stressed the importance of putting the state’s well-being before the differences within each party, especially after comments like Trump’s.
“Hoosier Republicans should be held accountable for their blind support of their presumptive nominee,” Zody said. “We’re not really talking about politics. We’re talking about the Golden Rule and how we treat one another. The silence is deafening, and this should be a wake-up call for Hoosiers.”