Sen. Lindsey Graham Wants Republican Party to Take the 'Off-Ramp' After Trump's Racist Comments

June 7th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made some comments about a Mexican-American judge and now a Republican senator wants his party to pull its endorsement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The New York Times that members of his party should take the "off-ramp" on their endorsements for Donald Trump. He also made the surprising suggestion that Trump is worse for the country than the opposing party's Democratic candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

"If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it," he told The Times. "There'll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary Clinton."

Trump made comments to The Wall Street Journal last week about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a lawsuit against Trump that claims he defrauded people with is Trump University business courses. He said that there was a "conflict of interest" because the judge has Mexican heritage.

“I’m building a wall," he told The Wall Street Journal. "It’s an inherent conflict of interest."

Curiel was born in Indiana.

Graham called Trump's comments "un-American" in an interview with The Times. “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy," he said.

Graham is referring to a period known as the "Red Scare" in the U.S. In the Cold War, as America's relations with the Soviet Union grew tense, Republican U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin created a hysteria about American communists. The result was that many people were black-listed from their industry and no longer able to work.

This is not the first time Graham has gone against Trump. After Trump's dominant win in the Indiana primary in May, Graham tried to dissuade his party from nominating Trump.

Trump's assertion that Curiel will be unable to do his job properly because he's Mexican-American drew criticism from other members of the Republican Party.

Sen. Ben Sasse(R-Neb.) called Trump's comments racist.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted that Trump should apologize.

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told station WFTV that Trump's comments are "wrong" and that he should stop.

However, Trump did get some support from a Latino Republican.

Former White House General Counsel and former U.S. Attorney General for the George W. Bush administration Alberto Gonzales wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post that said Trump has the right to question Curiel's bias.

"If judges and the trials over which they preside are not perceived as being impartial, the public will quickly lose confidence in the rule of law upon which our nation is based," wrote Gonzales.

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