Ted Cruz, Chris Christie resist rush of Republican backlash to Trump's racially charged attacks on judge

Rubio and Kasich have condemned the comments, but the co-founder of Harvard Law School's Hispanic Review is silent

Published June 6, 2016 8:32PM (EDT)

  (AP/Reuters/Brendan McDermid/Chris Keane/Kevin Lamarque)
(AP/Reuters/Brendan McDermid/Chris Keane/Kevin Lamarque)

Donald Trump is beginning to unite the Republican Party. With his nakedly bigoted comments arguing that the the judge presiding over the Trump University scam cases is "inherently bias," citing his Mexican heritage, the presumptive GOP nominee has managed to unite longtime and newfound conservative supporters from the likes of Newt Gingrich to Paul Ryan in condemnation of his latest controversial remarks.

“I couldn’t disagree more with a statement like that,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, repeatedly refusing to label Trump's blasting of the federal judge as racist during an interview on "Meet the Press" this weekend.

House Speaker Paul Ryan inexplicably described Trump's comments as "out of left field for my mind,” proving him either nearly as gullible as he appears or not nearly as honest as his carefully constructed image portrays, only one day after finally endorsing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made, and I think it’s inexcusable,” Newt Gingrich told Fox News' Chris Wallace over the weekend, suddenly turning on his candidate of choice.

Leader of the #NeverTrump brigade, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, took to Twitter to explicitly call Trump's criticism as racism:

"It's completely racist," Joe Scarborough declared at the start of MSNBC's "Morning Joe” on Monday.

Vulnerable New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte finally ramped up her criticism of the GOP leader, telling NBC News on Monday that "his comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them."

Maine Senator Susan Collins called Trump's comments "absolutely unacceptable," telling reporters that she would not rule out voting third party if Trump doesn't "stop the personal insults" and begin to "act more presidential."

Even Marco Rubio got in on the Republican pile-on. “I think it’s wrong,” Rubio told and Orlando news station on Monday. “He needs to stop saying it.”

“That man is an American,” Trump's former rival reminded Floridians. “I don’t think it reflects well on the Republican Party [and] I don’t think it reflects well on us as a nation,” the retiring freshman Florida senator said.

Another one of Trump's former rivals, Ohio Governor John Kasich, took to Twitter to demand that Trump apologize for his remarks:

But not all of Trump's former rivals ....

Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are currently running scared. From a CBS News reporter:

Cruz's silence is particularly curious considering that he was the founding editor of Harvard Law School’s Latino Law Review.

For his part, Christie eagerly endorsed Trump early on but has since disappeared from the campaign trail. Asked for comment on Trump's comments, a spokesman for the New Jersey governor told BuzzFeed News to stop emailing the governor’s personal email address.

“If and when the governor comments on these matters, we can let you know. When he does avails, he tends to field questions like this. Right now, I have nothing for you,” Christie spokesman, Brian Murray, said in an email to BuzzFeed.

“Please discontinue directly emailing the governor’s front office.”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Bigotry Donald Trump Elections 2016 Gop Civil War Judge Curiel Racism Ted Cruz Trump University