Donald Trump, at least two snitches tell Bloomberg, got on a conference call today with his supporters to urge them to attack the judge overseeing two federal lawsuits filed against the entity formally known as Trump University. He also encouraged them to brand any reporters criticizing him for it as “racist.”
Trump, in the last week, has suggested that Judge Curiel, who is overseeing the federal cases filed against Trump’s so-called Trump University, is incapable of being impartial. Judge Curiel—who was born in Indiana—“happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine,” Trump explained last week. Trump, of course, has denounced Mexicans as “drug dealers” and “rapists” and promised to build a wall to separate the countries. “I’m building a wall,” he said. “It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
Trump, Bloomberg reports, doubled down on that tactic in the conference call:
A clearly irritated Trump told his supporters to attack journalists who ask questions about the lawsuit and his comments about the judge.
“The people asking the questions—those are the racists,” Trump said. “I would go at ‘em.”
Suggesting a broader campaign against the media, Trump said the campaign should also actively criticize television reporters. “I’d let them have it,” he said, referring to those who Trump portrayed as hypocrites.
According to Bloomberg, Trump also inadvertently revealed he has no idea what his campaign is doing. Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who endorsed Trump in February and graciously volunteered she might be open to the position of vice president, reportedly stopped the call to “inform Trump that his own campaign had asked surrogates to stop talking about the lawsuit in an e-mail on Sunday.”
Trump was unaware of the email, and told the callers to ignore it, saying, “Take that order and throw it the hell out.”
Told the memo was sent by Erica Freeman, a staffer who circulates information to surrogates, Trump said he didn’t know her. He openly questioned how the campaign could defend itself if supporters weren’t allowed to talk.
“Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said. “That’s one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t so smart.”
In response, Trump said he’d hold more calls with surrogates—presumably under his own name—which is, as Bloomberg points out, a duty usually delegated to lower-level staffers.
Veteran operatives are shocked by the campaign’s failure to fill key roles. There is no communications team to deal with the hundreds of media outlets covering the race, no rapid response director to quickly rebut attacks and launch new ones, and a limited cast of surrogates who lack a cohesive message.
“They don’t or can’t cover it all, and there are things that happen that need to be addressed immediately and don’t get addressed at all, and that hurts the candidate,” a source within the campaign groused last month.
Trump responded proudly, in broken English:
I am getting bad marks from certain pundits because I have a small campaign staff. But small is good, flexible, save money and number one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2016
Hope Hicks, who has never answered one of my emails, did respond to a request from Bloomberg, explaining “The call was scheduled in order for Mr. Trump to thank his supporters and congratulate everyone as the primaries officially come to an end. Many topics were discussed and it was a productive call for all parties.”
Things sound great.