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Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Takes Back His Trump Endorsement

By Mae Rice in News on Jun 7, 2016 9:40PM

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (photo via Facebook)

Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk issued a statement Tuesday reversing his endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In the statement, published in full below, Kirk said that "Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world."

By way of rationale, Kirk cited the overall less-than-inclusive (read: virulently racist and misogynistic) rhetoric of the Trump campaign. He also called out Trump's recent decision to question whether a Hispanic judge could fairly preside over a legal case against Trump University. (That's Trump's shady erstwhile real estate school.)

Trump argued that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a Mexican-American man who grew up in Indiana, could not judge the case fairly because Trump wants to seal off the U.S.-Mexico border with a wall. (He has also said of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S., "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”)

Here's Kirk's full statement:

I have spent my life building bridges and tearing down barriers-not building walls. That’s why I find Donald Trump’s belief that an American-born judge of Mexican descent is incapable of fairly presiding over his case is not only dead wrong, it is un-American.

As the Presidential campaign progressed, I was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that was inclusive, thoughtful and principled. While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for President regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party.

It is absolutely essential that we are guided by a commander-in-chief with a responsible and proper temperament, discretion and judgment. Our President must be fit to command the most powerful military the world has ever seen, including an arsenal of thousands of nuclear weapons. After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.

Kirk isn't the first to denounce Trump's comments about Curiel. Trump's comments been called racist by people from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to U.S. House Speaker and Republican Paul Ryan. Kirk didn't go quite that far—perhaps because he and Trump have a similar style—but he did retract his support of Trump's candidacy.

Kirk's retraction comes after his Democratic challenger for his Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, called him "complicit" in Trump's hateful campaign for staying silent about Trump's comments on Judge Curiel, according to the Tribune. In fact, the URL of Kirk's statement reads, Trumpishly, "Duckworth ducks the truth."

Kirk also recently tweeted: