Hanover’s Rubens Defends Trump

  • Jim Rubens

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2016 12:22:16 AM
Modified: 6/8/2016 12:22:20 AM

Hanover — U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens on Tuesday defended his endorsement of Donald Trump, saying the presumptive Republican nominee is “not a racist” despite his public attacks against a judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University.

“His decades of hiring practices prove that,” Rubens, a former Republican state senator from Etna, said in a statement.

Under federal law, it’s illegal to discriminate against employment applicants because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Trump has been asking U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel to recuse himself from a civil lawsuit brought by former students against Trump University, which offered real estate seminars. Curiel’s Mexican heritage creates a “conflict of interest,” Trump has said, arguing his hard-line stance on immigration could be reason for bias against his company. Curiel was born in Indiana and is an American citizen.

Trump went a step further during an interview this weekend on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying it’s possible a Muslim judge would be similarly biased.

Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte soon condemned Trump’s statements.

“His comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them,” Ayotte said in a statement, according to New Hampshire Public Radio. Ayotte’s office later told WMUR she still intends to vote for Trump, but is not endorsing him.

Ryan on Tuesday said that “claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” but also indicated he will continue backing Trump.

Trump on Tuesday asserted that his comments were being “misconstrued,” but did not back down or apologize for his remarks about Curiel.

“I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial,” Trump said in a lengthy statement that repeated his claims that students at Trump University, far from being fleeced as some claim and as evidence suggests, were overwhelmingly satisfied.

 

 

 

Rubens, who is mounting a primary campaign against Ayotte, shared the sentiment that Trump shouldn’t comment on Curiel’s race, but said he too will continue to endorse him.

“I would not speak like Donald Trump. He said stuff that I would not say,” Rubens said in a phone interview. Instead, he called Curiel a “very brave man” who worked hard to investigate and prosecute cartel members as a federal prosecutor in Southern California.

“Do I agree with everything Donald Trump has said? No,” Rubens said.

He said he is supporting Trump for several reasons, such as the billionaire’s promise to self-fund his primary campaign, his willingness to keep an open dialogue with Russia and tough stance on border security.

Rubens hasn’t always been a Trump supporter, however, and wrote that he would not vote for the businessman in a July letter to Patch.com.

“Over his political career, he has said that he is pro-choice and pro-life. Like Bernie Sanders, he has advocated a wealth tax to expand Social Security,” Rubens wrote. “More recently, he has stated that the bankrupt Medicare system ($25 trillion underwater) needs no changes. He has a ‘foolproof’ plan to defeat ISIS which he won’t disclose. He believes that vaccines cause autism.”

The two do agree on some national issues, though, such as immigration.

“What we have right now is a catch-and-release program,” Rubens said of border measures with Mexico.

Trump’s campaign opposes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally, and calls for deporting immigrants who have been convicted of a felony and building a wall along the southern border.

The wall, a major focus of Trump’s campaign, could cost about $25 billion, according to The Washington Post, and even more to maintain. Rubens said construction is a worthwhile investment, however, and could lead to less enforcement and entitlement spending long-term.

Like Trump, Rubens believes the U.S. needs to “stop doing lousy trade deals.” He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations, and calls for the limiting of visas that allow companies to employ foreign workers.

 

 

Instead of pandering to large companies, Rubens said, Republicans should instead work to cut spending, simplify the tax code and replace the Affordable Care Act with a more market-driven solution.

“I’m proposing that Republicans do stuff that we’ve been talking about for decades but never seem to get done because the lobbyists who fund campaigns, including Republican campaigns, want the tax code complicated,” he said.

Rubens has been a longtime supporter of campaign finance reform, and was supported by activist and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig during his 2014 Republican Senate primary against Scott Brown.

As a former consultant for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Rubens believes climate change is man-made. He hopes to introduce legislation that would end U.S. energy subsidies and allow the free market to develop clean energy solutions. He once supported a carbon tax, but eventually called the idea “dead on arrival” during his 2014 primary campaign against Brown and former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith.

Rubens also wants the federal government to legalize marijuana. To address the state’s heroin epidemic, he proposes funding “treatment on demand” programs.

“In hours of an addict saying he or she wants treatment to deal with addiction, that treatment has to be available,” said Rubens, the former president of Headrest, a Lebanon addiction center.

Rubens also was long a opponent of casino gambling in New Hampshire, but sidestepped a question when asked how he could support Trump, a casino owner, saying it was a “state issue” in New Hampshire.

Although he’s made about 50 campaign stops since announcing his candidacy, Rubens will be challenged to break into the race between Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan, said Dean Spiliotes, a civic scholar at Southern New Hampshire University.

“It’s really being billed as a Hassan versus Ayotte matchup” by national and local media, Spiliotes said.

Spiliotes said Rubens’ attempt on Tuesday to highlight that he stands behind his endorsement of Trump could be a strategy to get much-needed name recognition and break into the race.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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