(The Hill) – Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder sparked backlash Thursday after he joked about “Asian food” as the court was about to take a lunch break during Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial.
“I hope the Asian food isn’t coming … isn’t on one of those boats along Long Beach Harbor,” he quipped.
His off-handed comment seemed to be in reference to the backup of numerous cargo ships at the ports of Los Angeles.
A number of critics pushed back on the comments as anti-Asian and offensive.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) said it was an example of “how not to be a good judge.”
“The selection system in Wisconsin is also badly flawed,” Dean tweeted. “They are elected after initial appointment and there is no retirement age. This is why we have intemperate and unfit judges like this all over the country.”
John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, told CNN that Schroeder lacks cultural sensitivity, adding that it is a great illustration that Asian Americans “are not immune from racial bias and discrimination in our criminal justice system.”
“It harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of microaggressions as well as actual physical violence,” he said.
Schroeder has sparked controversy since the beginning of the high-profile Rittenhouse trial.
He previously ruled that the two people shot by Rittenhouse cannot be called “victims” and has faced complaints from prosecutors that he has been unfair during the trial.
Rittenhouse is on trial after killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2020.