Judge Curiel, Donald Trump

Judge Gonzalo Curiel, left, and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is known for his hyperbole and brash, over-the-top comments and promises. But his vicious verbal attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel have gone too far.

Trump is not known for his humility. Nonetheless, he should apologize for attacking Curiel based on his ethnic background and pledge to become more civil during the remainder of his campaign.

Trump has not backed down from calling Curiel a "very biased and unfair judge" based on Curiel's ethnic heritage.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican, are among those who have become upset with Trump's remarks about Curiel, an East Chicago native. 

This is not a Democratic ploy, as the Indiana Republican Party leadership has indicated. Trump's remarks are a genuine insult to not just Curiel, but to all Hoosiers, and to all Americans. 

This nation has seen before the results of ethnic discrimination. We should have learned long ago how destructive this can become.

Zoeller said that in calling Curiel biased and unfair, Trump is undermining trust in the judicial system. No attorney should remain silent about this verbal attack, Zoeller said.

Let's broaden that. All Americans should be disgusted with this lack of respect for the judicial process.

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The U.S. government exists only with the consent of the governed, just as the Declaration of Independence indicates. It is unwise to undermine the very system of government a candidate hopes to lead.

Curiel is a judge hearing one of the class-action lawsuits involving Trump University. If Trump doesn't like the outcome of a case, he can say so at that point without blasting the judicial process. If he truly believes another judge should be appointed, he should follow the legal process for doing so and not use the bully pulpit of a presidential candidate for personal gain.

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Show respect for the judiciary and other aspects of the government.

Above all, Americans should demand their candidates show good judgment. Accusing Curiel of bias based on his parentage is an insult to all Americans.

We would be glad to see Trump, as well as other candidates, give not just lip service but also real respect for the Community Civility Counts campaign. 

Americans need candidates who focus on the issues, not candidates who feed fear, anger and distrust. Candidates, tell us what you see as problems, but also tell us what you will do to address them. Constructive criticism, not mean-spirited complaints, are what Americans need.

We demand, and all Americans should demand, an apology from Trump. Make it heartfelt, not just a quick aside.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.