A California Republican lawmaker who supports Donald Trump accused NPR of staging an “ambush interview” after he was asked about racist statements made by the presumptive Republican nominee.
As Californians were casting their votes in the GOP primary on Tuesday, NPR’s Renee Montagne asked state Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from San Diego County, if Trump’s comments about U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Hispanic heritage were hurting his party.
“We’re being lied to by the press,” Anderson charged. “There’s so much more going on than this nonsense about a judge. He deserves a fair trial like every American deserves a fair trial.”
Montagne pointed out that top Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had condemned Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel.
“Is that not the definition of racism?” she asked. “Presuming their race or ethnicity or religion overrides everything?”
“Every American deserves a fair trial,” Anderson repeated. “You know, I’m really not interested in an ambush interview.”
Montagne pushed back: “This is part of the appeal, that Donald Trump is very tough. And he says what he means. That’s what people say. Aren’t we supposed to take him at what he says and what he spends time talking about?”
“Look,” Anderson shot back. “We’ve seen story after story from the beginning of ambush interviews looking for the poison dart to kill Donald Trump. You haven’t found any in the press and now you’re picking on a senator to try to find something.”
Listen to the audio below from NPR’s Morning Edition, broadcast June 7, 2016.