Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attacks on the federal judge presiding over lawsuits against Trump University, saying the judge had "an absolute conflict" because of his Mexican heritage, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 presidential election, is fighting lawsuits that accuse his school venture of misleading thousands of people who paid up to $35,000 for seminars to learn about the billionaire's real estate investment strategies.
In an interview with the newspaper, Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had "an absolute conflict" in presiding over the litigation given that he was "of Mexican heritage" and a member of a Latino lawyers' association.
Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border, the Journal said.
"I'm building a wall. It's an inherent conflict of interest," Trump said, according to the newspaper.