On Friday’s edition of MSNBC’s “With All Due Respect,” two white guys had a spirited debate over a question that has America stumped: Were the comments Donald Trump made about Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnicity racist? To be fair, it seemed like a conversation only one of them wanted to be having.
The video, flagged by Media Matters, shows Bloomberg journalist Mark Halperin insisting that Trump’s comments were “not racial” because “Mexico is not a race.” His co-host John Heilemann maintains that Trumps’ comments engage in “racial politics” and are designed to “stir up racial animus.”
The co-hosts were responding to remarks Trump has made throughout the week arguing that Curiel should recuse himself from cases involving Trump University, claiming the judge’s “Mexican heritage” is a “conflict of interest.” Curiel was born in Indiana.
On Friday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump if suggesting that Curiel cannot do his job because of his ethnicity is not the definition of racism. To which Trump glibly responded, “He’s proud of his heritage. I’m building a wall.”
“I think I’m going to do very well with Hispanics,” Trump added.
That journalists have to ask the presumptive Republican presidential nominee this kind of question is already chilling enough without them asking the question of one another.
By the end of the news segment, Halperin comes around to calling Trump’s comments “racially tinged.” One might say Halperin’s own face is “tinged” with the mangled grin of a person actively wondering whether they are full of shit.