Donald Trump’s “great” border wall is one step closer to being built as U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled Tuesday the administration could continue issuing waivers for environmental regulations impeding its construction.
Trump wasted no time Tuesday evening piling on praise of Curiel’s ruling.
Big legal win today. U.S. judge sided with the Trump Administration and rejected the attempt to stop the government from building a great Border Wall on the Southern Border. Now this important project can go forward!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
It’s a marked difference from the last time Judge Curiel gained Trump’s notice publicly. The last time a lawsuit involving Donald Trump came up before Curiel was in 2016 over fraudulent claims by the defunct Trump University.
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in 2016, Trump said explicitly he thought Curiel was biased against him because he’s of Mexican heritage. The interview was loaded with Trump’s repeated claims he was being treated unfairly by Curiel.
As Jay Caruso wrote at the time,
The most absurd part is when Jake attempted to question Trump about his attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel and his Mexican heritage, claiming he is out to get Trump because of Trump’s promise to build his mythical wall between the United States and Mexico. It should be noted that Curiel was once a federal prosecutor and went after a Mexican drug cartel. In doing so, Curiel became a target for assassination so I am certain he is not all that concerned about Donald Trump’s idiotic complaints.
Still, during just this portion of the interview Trump said “building a wall” nine times. In seven instances he referenced how he was being treated “unfairly” or “not fair.” Look at this one exchange:
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what it has to do. I’ve had ruling after ruling after ruling that’s been bad rulings, OK? I’ve been treated very unfairly. Before him, we had another judge. If that judge was still there, this case would have been over two years ago.
Let me just tell you, I’ve had horrible rulings, I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK?I’m building a wall. I am going to do very well with the Hispanics, the Mexicans —
TAPPER: So, no Mexican judge could ever be involved in a case that involves you?
TRUMP: Well, he’s a member of a society, where — you know, very pro- Mexico, and that’s fine. It’s all fine but —
TAPPER: Except that you’re calling into question his heritage.
TRUMP: I think he should recuse himself.
TAPPER: Because he’s Latino?
TRUMP: Then, you also say, does he know the lawyer on the other side? I mean, does he know the lawyer? You know, a lot of people say —
TAPPER: But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about —
TRUMP: That’s another problem.
TAPPER: You’re invoking his race talking about whether or not he can do his job.
TRUMP: Jake, I’m building a wall. OK? I’m building a wall. I’m trying to keep business out of Mexico. Mexico’s fine.
TAPPER: But he’s an American.
TRUMP: He’s of Mexican heritage and he’s very proud of it, as I am where I come from, my parents.
But, of course, now Trump loves him some Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Perhaps the real takeaway is Judge Curiel seemingly does his job and doesn’t take ego into consideration when applying the law.