WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) says that Donald Trump is his own candidate and he won’t defend or speak on his behalf when it comes to inflammatory comments the presumptive GOP nominee makes.
Reed was among the first Washington politicians to throw their support behind Trump earlier in the campaign. On Monday during his weekly conference call with reporters he was asked to offer his thoughts on Trump’s statement that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel shouldn’t be presiding over the Trump University lawsuit because he’s of his Mexican heritage. Trump had said that Curiel’s heritage presents a conflict of interest because Trump wants to build a wall between Mexico and the United State. Judge Curiel is a U.S. citizen who was born in Indiana. As a result, Trump’s statements have been viewed by some as racist and inflammatory.
On Monday Reed said he completely disagrees with Trump’s comments, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to back down from endorsing him for president.
“As Donald Trump has demonstrated, he’s his own candidate and we’ve always expressed some concern about this rhetoric, and this is additional rhetoric that I have concern with,” Reed said. “To challenge a judge based on his personal background is problematic. But at the end of the day, we’ll continue to be a voice of positive input and express to Donald Trump that it’s time to focus on the American people’s problems and that’s what we’re going to continue to weigh in on moving forward and really try to propose solutions.”
Reed also said he’s not going to be one of the officials who thinks Trump should issue an apology for his remarks.
“I’ll let Donald Trump speak for himself and let him choose how to handle this,” Reed said.
In a follow up to his comments made on Monday, Reed’s campaign sent out a release on Wednesday calling for the Republican Party to Unite and Move forward behind Trump.
“Donald Trump has channeled our nation’s frustration with the status quo in Washington which is why the American people chose him as the Republican Party’s nominee,” Reed said. “We need change and Donald Trump’s history as a deal maker proves he can help us achieve that… Trump is the outsiders’ choice because he will get things done in Washington. He has a history of success negotiating deals and creating jobs which our nation so greatly needs.”
Reed, a Republican from Corning, Represents Chautauqua County as part of the state’s 23rd congressional district and is seeking reelection in November. He’s facing Democratic hallenger John Plumb (D-Lakewood).
While Reed is unwilling to voice direct criticism for Trump’s latest remark, others in the GOP have.
“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment… I disavow those comments..” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, who added that he will continue to support Trump despite the comments. “Do I believe that Hillary Clinton is gonna be the answer to solving these problems? I do not. I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issue of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him then we do with her.”
Trump meanwhile, has said that his comments regarding judge Curiel have been misconstrued.
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage,” Trump said in a statement released on Tuesday. “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”