CHICAGO -- Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk is withdrawing his support for Donald Trump over the comments Trump made about a judge born in Indiana, saying the real estate mogul made it clear he lacks the judgment to be commander-in-chief.
Senator Mark Kirk is the first Republican seeking re-election to withdraw his support for Trump. He joins a growing chorus of Republicans bashing the candidate for his remarks about an Indiana-born federal judge whose parents came from Mexico.
Addressing supporters on this primary night from the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, New York, the Republican presidential nominee steered clear of the controversy over remarks he made, then doubled-down on questioning whether Indiana-born judge Gonzalo Curiel could fairly preside over two lawsuits against Trump University because of his Mexican heritage.
“If I’m forced to fight for something I really care about, I will never back down and our country will never, ever back down,” Trump said.
Today, that cost him the support of Sen. Kirk. In a statement, Kirk said, "After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”
Kirk’s opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, criticized the timing of his announcement.
“He came out and said he’d support Donald Trump after he called Mexicans rapists, after he called women pigs and dogs, and so, it’s about time. My only question for Senator Kirk is: ‘why’d you take so long?’” Duckworth said.
It’s not just Mark Kirk. Other leading Republicans have been lining up to denounce the words of their own party’s nominee.
“Claiming a person can’t do a job because of their race is kind of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” said Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Even Illinois’ Republican governor has stepped into the fray. Bruce Rauner already said he won’t attend next month’s Republican convention or endorse Trump for president. He says Trump’s statements, “do not reflect the values of the Republican Party or the values of America."