Judge Bruce Schroeder may not be the one on trial in Wisconsin, but he is being tried in the court of public opinion.
Shortly before the court took a lunch break on Thursday, Schroeder made a crude joke about Asian food. He seemingly made light of the supply chain backlog that is impacting ports, leaving boats idle for days and disproportionaly affecting Asian communities
“I hope the Asian food isn’t coming...isn’t on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor,” Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder said, according to NBC News.
Throughout the lunch break, a number of Asian-American activists replied to Schroeder's comments. Asian Americans Advancing Justice Executive Director John C. Yang took to Twitter to express that he felt the joke was "definitely not okay."
"Maybe I'm supposed to applaud him for not saying 'Oriental food.' Seriously, this remark can only be seen as a joke at the expense of Asians/Asian Americans. During a trial that clearly has race implications, no less. Definitely not okay," Yang tweeted.
"The biased judge in the Rittenhouse trial just made a thinly-veiled anti-Asian comment. When asked when lunch was coming he said, 'I hope the Asian food isn't on one of those boats in Long Beach harbor.' Because all Asian food comes from China like the boats haha what a bigot," Stanford University professor Michele Dauber added.
This is not the first time that Schroeder has become the focus of criticism during the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Prior to the trial, the judge was criticized for allowing the defense to refer to the people that Rittenhouse shot as "looters" and "rioters," but barring the prosecution from referring to those same people as "victims." More recently, his phone rang in court and it appears that his ringtone is "God Bless USA," a song used often by former President Donald Trump during campaign rallies.
"Schroeder has provided an example of how not to be a good judge," former Vermont Governor Howard Dean told NBC News.
"The selection system in Wisconsin is also badly flawed. 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."
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