DENVER (AP) – Gov. John Hickenlooper and other Colorado Democratic leaders on Wednesday denounced as racist a string of comments by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Hickenlooper, former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, state Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman and others urged Trump to apologize for his remarks. They spoke at a news conference at the state capitol.
Trump has repeatedly said that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not preside fairly over a case involving Trump University because of his Mexican heritage. Curiel was born in the United States; Trump argues Curiel’s heritage could prejudice him because Trump wants to build a wall along the Mexican border.
Nationally, Trump has drawn fire for that and other remarks about Mexicans from U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans.
In Colorado, all five Republican U.S. Senate candidates seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet criticized Trump’s remarks as racist at a Tuesday debate. Two of them, Ryan Frazier and Jack Graham, withdrew their Trump endorsements but said Trump has the opportunity to win back their support.
Colorado’s Republican Party declined to immediately comment on the Democrats’ event.
“Colorado will have nothing to do with the racism that Donald Trump is spewing forth on a daily basis,” Hickenlooper said Wednesday.
He and several others, including former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, back Hillary Clinton, who has secured enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
The U.S.-born Pena, who served in the Bill Clinton administration as secretary of energy and transportation, called for a public apology “for expressing sentiments that we had discarded decades ago.”
“I don’t think in my adult life, in my public life, I have ever accused a fellow American of being racist. Today I am,” Pena said. “I say don’t be angry. Don’t be mad. Register to vote.”
Also speaking was former Colorado state Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky, who was lead attorney in a successful U.S. Supreme Court fight to overturn Colorado’s Amendment 2, a 1992 voter-approved ban on municipal antidiscrimination laws to protect gays.
– By JAMES ANDERSON, AP Writer
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