Arnold Schwarzenegger has voiced his support for the judge presiding over the case against Donald Trump's defunct university. His comments come after the GOP presidential candidate accused the judge of being biased because he was of Mexican descent.
Prior to being made a federal judge by President Barack Obama, Gonzalo Curiel was appointed to the bench in 2007 by Schwarzenegger. The former California governor took to Twitter to back Curiel with a post that read: "Judge Curiel is an American hero who stood up to the Mexican cartels. I was proud to appoint him when I was Gov."
Earlier, Trump had taken on the US District Court judge who is presiding over the case filed against Trump University over illegal business practices.
"He is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine," Trump said on Face The Nation. "But I say he's got bias. I want to build a wall. I'm going to build a wall. I'm doing very well with the Latinos, with the Hispanics, with the Mexicans, I'm doing very well with them in my opinion."
Along with Schwarzenegger, a number of other politicians have criticised Trump's accusations of bias. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said the presidential candidate's statements were "inexcusable". Texas congressman Filemon Vela, who is also of Mexican descent, was more biting with his response to Trump.
"Judge Curiel is one of 124 Americans of Hispanic descent who have served this country with honour and distinction as federal district judges," he wrote in an open letter to the real estate tycoon.
"Mr Trump, you're a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass," he stated in the letter's closing line.
Meanwhile, under pressure from the Republican Party, the New York-based business tycoon opted to tone down his criticism of the judge. During an interview with Fox New 6 June, Trump managed to steer clear of using any labels for the Indiana-born judge. "I want him to be a fair guy," Trump said, "Mexican or not Mexican: All I want him to do is to give me a fair shake."
While it seemed like he was backing down, the presumptive GOP nominee was quick to add, "I want to focus on things that we need to focus on, not a civil lawsuit that I'm going to end up winning anyway."