At the same time Donald Trump was running for the Republican nomination in December 2015, he had to sit for a deposition as part of a lawsuit against his now-defunct Trump University. During a break in the proceeding, Trump was caught on camera being racist toward the judge and bragged about threatening the Better Business Bureau.
As we all know, Trump publicly attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel on the campaign trail by accusing the Indiana-born Curiel of being biased against him because he’s a “Mexican.”
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater,” Trump said in May 2016.
But what we had not seen until now is video footage of Trump disparaging Curiel behind closed doors. You see, lawsuits were piling up against Trump University for fraud, which Trump grudgingly admitted to because he settled the case.
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Part of the fraud also included Trump threatening to sue the Better Business Bueau for giving his fraudulent university a D grade.
As David Corn of Mother Jones explains, Trump’s threats against the BBB worked and he referred to Curiel as “the Spanish thing.”
In this 13-minute hot-mic video—a copy of which was provided to Mother Jones—Trump boasted about how his company threatened the Better Business Bureau to change the D rating it had assigned Trump University to an A. He complained about the federal judge overseeing the suit, Gonzalo Curiel, elliptically talking about how to challenge him and referring to ‘the Spanish thing.’ Trump also griped that he had been sued personally in this case, and Petrocelli had to explain to Trump that he, not just Trump University itself, was in the legal crosshairs because Trump had been accused of making false statements to promote the venture. And Petrocelli pointed out that the case was not a lock for Trump because some of Trump’s ‘guys’ had been ‘sloppy.’
This tape shows Trump in the wild, trying to figure out how to contend with a judge who he believed was not on his side (perhaps with the use of a racist attack), bragging about pressuring a group that had given his business a low rating, and grousing that he was being held personally responsible for a Trump enterprise accused of scamming people.”
Here’s the video:
If this tape had been released during the 2016 campaign, it would have been damaging to Trump. Perhaps many Americans would have changed their minds about him after witnessing his racism and would have seen it as more than just mere campaign rhetoric. Trump is a racist in private as well as in public. Americans would also have learned about his unethical bullying tactics.
But now we get to see this video because lead plaintiff Art Cohen released it.
“I wanted to get this out before the election so people better understand how Trump behaves behind the scenes,” Cohen told Mother Jones. “Staying quiet all this time has been frustrating for me, and I wish everybody had gotten the chance to see Trump’s behavior as I did before the 2016 election. With 20/20 vision, we now have the opportunity to better understand his true nature and the gangster persona he shows in this video. The Trump University legal saga is a footnote to history, but it helped Trump hone his blueprint for attacking the judiciary by publicly berating judges he deems adversarial.”
And Trump has been attacking the judicial system whenever it issues a ruling he doesn’t agree with ever since.