Walker distances himself from pledge to support GOP nominee

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Walker hedges on Trump

Donald Trump's refusal to back down from controversial comments about a federal judge's "Mexican heritage" is increasingly costing him support within the Republican Party.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ended a brief bid for the GOP presidential nomination in September, distanced himself on Wednesday from his pledge last fall to support the Republican nominee and called on Trump to renounce his remarks.

SEE ALSO: Trump on God: 'Hopefully I won't have to be asking for much forgiveness'

"It's just sad in America we have such poor choices right now," Walker told WKOW-TV in Madison.

Trump has been under fire for his sustained attacks on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a fraud lawsuit against Trump University in California. The former reality television star has said Curiel's Latino heritage – the judge was born in Indiana to parents who moved legally to the U.S. from Mexico – makes him biased because Trump has proposed building a wall along the southern U.S. border.

Walker said he holds out hope the billionaire businessman will moderate his rhetoric and apologize for his comments about Curiel.

"He's not yet the nominee. Officially, that won't happen until the middle of July, and so for me that's kind of the time frame that, in particular, I want to make sure he renounces what he says – at least in regards to this judge," he said.

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Walker distances himself from pledge to support GOP nominee
Republican presidential candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, July 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during a town hall meeting, Friday, July 17, 2015, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
WAUKESHA, WI - JULY 13: Workers put up a sign outside of the Waukesha County Expo Center before Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announces that he will seek the Republican nomination for president on July 13, 2015 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Walker is the 15th candidate to formally announce intentions to seek the Republican nomination. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker waves to supporters after announcing that he is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination at the Waukesha County Expo Center, Monday, July 13, 2015, in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 02: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and possible Republican presidential candidate speaks during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the leading Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak during the event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 02: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and possible Republican presidential candidate speaks during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the leading Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak during the event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21: Republican presidential hopeful Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference May 21, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. About a dozen possible presidential candidates will join the conference and lobby for supports from Republican voters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WEST DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (L) and his wife Tonette listen to a speaker at Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart's annual Blue Jean Bash on May 16, 2015 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Several Republican presidential hopefuls are attending events in the state this weekend. Hillary Clinton, who hopes to become the Democrats choice, is expected in Iowa for events on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker walks off stage after speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, DC on February 26, 2015. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CONCORD, NH - MARCH 14: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks during a grassroots training and rally event at Concord High School March 14, 2015 in Concord, New Hampshire. Governor Walker is on a two day trip to New Hampshire as he eyes a run for president. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the American Action Forum January 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the week Walker announced the formation of 'Our American Revival', a new committee designed to explore the option of a presidential bid in 2016. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker waits backstage before speaking at the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
WEST ALLIS, WI - NOVEMBER 4: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets supporters at his election night party November 4, 2014 in West Allis, Wisconsin. Walker defeated Democratic challenger Mary Burke. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
In this photo taken Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a National Religious Broadcasters meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Walker and fellow potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke at the conference. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker shakes hands after speaking at his campaign party, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in West Allis, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic gubernatorial challenger Mary Burke. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md. The fact is, what the polls do show is that most Americans aren’t yet paying enough attention to make the horse race results worth much at all. An Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted at the end of January. It found that two-thirds of Americans were unfamiliar with two Republicans who have attracted lots of attention for their performance in polls this year, Walker and conservative darling Ben Carson. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
FILE - In a Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 file photo, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker gives a thumbs up as he speaks at his campaign party, in West Allis, Wis. Less than two years ago, party leaders solemnly declared after an exhaustive study that the GOP "must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform." It was critical for the party's survival, they said, to address an issue that was paramount to the nation's surging Hispanic population. But as President Obama issued a sweeping immigration order last week, some of the Republican Party's most prominent governors — likely presidential candidates among them — described immigration reform as little more than an afterthought. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
In this Sept. 23, 2014 photo is Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker at a campaign stop in Racine, Wis. Walker faces Democratic gubernatorial challenger Mary Burke Nov. 4 election. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Republican party of Wisconsin State Convention Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker arrives at the 2014 TIME 100 Gala held at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Gov. Scott Walker speaks during a rally for South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who announced her candidacy for a second term at the Bi-Lo Center, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in Greenville, S.C. Supporting Gov. Haley were Perry, Bobby Jindal-La. and Scott Walker-Wis. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
FILE - In this June 28, 2013 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks in his Capitol office in Madison, Wis. On Friday, July 5, 2013, Walker signed a contentious Republican bill that would require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of the fetus before the procedure and prohibit doctors from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Opponents have vowed to sue to stop the law. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gestures as he speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Green Packers all time leading receiver, Donald Driver, right, shares a laugh with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during Drivers retirement ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The governor had proclaimed the day Donald Driver day. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, second from right, walks up to the podium for a test in the Tampa Bay Times Forum at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
RNC chairman Reince Priebus , left, Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., center, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., watch Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speak during a campaign stop at Monterey Mills on Monday, June 18, 2012 in Janesville, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker kisses his wife Tonette at his victory party Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Waukesha, Wis. Walker defeated Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a special recall election. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to employees of Total Administrative Services Corp., on Monday, May 21, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Walker, who faces a recall election in two weeks, is up in the polls and appears to have the momentum in the race. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is surrounded by the news media after speaking to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Springfield, Ill. Ever since his fight to pass an anti-union bill last year, Walker has kept up a jet-setting schedule that's more akin to a candidate running for president than governor. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to soldiers of the Wisconsin Army National Guard who are preparing to deploy to Kosovo later this year, on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, in Milwaukee, Walker said Friday that he didn’t know anything more about an FBI raid on the home of one of his former top aids Wednesday beyond what he has seen reported in the press. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde)
CodePink demonstrators stand behind Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., left, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 14, 2011, prior to Walker testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the problems with balancing state budgets in a tough economy. Sensenbrenner introduced Walker to the committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) answers questions from the media after reading to Anna Greenman's third grade class at Hope Christian school Prima in Milwaukee, Thursday, March 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs a bill at a ceremonial event Friday, March 11, 2011, in Madison, Wis. At right is Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker talks to the media at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Opponents to the governor's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are in their ninth day of protests at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker acknowledges someone in the crowd as he speaks at an inauguration ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol Monday, Jan. 3, 2011, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Governor-elect Scott Walker speaks to reporters outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., following meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010 with state budget officials. Walker, a Republican, said he is working with state lawmakers on proposals to stimulate the state’s economy that can be taken up immediately in January. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker give a wink and thumbs us as he declares victory, Tuesday, Sept, 14. 2010, in Milwaukee. Walker will face Democrat Tom Barrett in the Nov. 2 general election. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
In this photo made May 28, 2010, Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker speaks at a Memorial Day service at St. John's Academy in Delafield, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Wisconsin Governor candidates Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker waits before his final debate against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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Walker is in good company, joining even some of Trump's supporters in condemning the rhetoric, which House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called "the textbook definition of a racist comment."

On Wednesday, Trump said he was "disappointed and surprised" by criticism from Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"I had just won more votes than anyone in the history of the party, so I was a little bit surprised when they said that," Trump told Time Magazine. "I didn't think it was necessary. But, you know, they have to say what they have to say. I'm a big boy. They have to say what they have to say."

RELATED: Protesters clash with Trump supporters in San Jose, Calif.

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Protesters clash with Trump supporters in San Jose
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Walker distances himself from pledge to support GOP nominee
Victor Cristobal (C), of San Jose, chants during a demonstration outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump covers his ears as he walks past a demonstrator outside a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after she was surrounded and egged by demonstrators after a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Demonstrators chant around a car during a demonstration against Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump after his campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A demonstrator burns a hat in protest of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump outside a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter (C) of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump collides with another man after he was confronted by demonstrators outside a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A police officer gestures to a supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump after he was harassed by demonstrators at a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A demonstrator (L) flips the hat off a supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump after a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump runs after being confronted by demonstrators after a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts after she was surrounded and egged by demonstrators after a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) exchange words with a demonstrator during a campaign rally in San Jose, California, U.S. June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Protesters hold up signs against a police skirmish line near where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016. Protesters attacked Trump supporters as they left the rally, burned an american flag, trump paraphernalia and scuffled with police and each other. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held an election rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Trump protesters attack a Trump supporter (C) as he tries to leave a parking garage at the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held an election rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Trump protesters confront Trump supporters as they try to leave a parking garage at the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held an election rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Police move in to disperse anti-Trump protesters as they demonstrate outside the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held an election rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside the convention center where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held an election rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / Mark Ralston (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A youth (C) wearing a Donald Trump t-shirt runs as he is chased by protesters near the venue where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was speaking during a rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters climb atop a car stopped in traffic as a crowd marches near the venue where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was speaking during a rally in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016. Protesters who oppose Donald Trump scuffled with his supporters on June 2 as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a rally in California, with fistfights erupting and one supporter hit with an egg. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman wearing a Trump shirt (C) is pelted with eggs by protesters while pinned against a door near where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016. Protesters attacked Trump supporters as they left the rally, burned an american flag, trump paraphernalia and scuffled with police and each other. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A Trump hat burns during a protest near where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016. Protesters attacked trump supporters as they left the rally, burned an american flag, Trump paraphernalia and scuffled with police and each other. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman wipes egg off her face after being pursued by protesters while leaving Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. A group of protesters attacked Trump supporters who were leaving the presidential candidate's rally in San Jose on Thursday night. A dozen or more people were punched, at least one person was pelted with an egg and Trump hats grabbed from supporters were set on fire on the ground. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Police form a line to contain protesters outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Protesters against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump chase a man leaving a Trump campaign rally on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. A group of protesters attacked Trump supporters who were leaving the presidential candidate's rally in San Jose on Thursday night. A dozen or more people were punched, at least one person was pelted with an egg and Trump hats grabbed from supporters were set on fire on the ground. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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Trump has refused to back down or otherwise apologize for his comments, saying it was "unfortunate" his words had been "misconstrued."

On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, a Republican who is facing a difficult re-election in a state that has reliably supported Democrats in presidential election years, said the Curiel remarks went too far.

"I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world," Kirk said, adding he "cannot and will not support my party's nominee for president regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party."

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt urged the Republican National Committee to change the convention rules to stop Trump or "get killed" in November.

"And if Donald Trump pulls over a makeover in the next four to five weeks, great, they can keep him," Hewitt said on his show Wednesday morning. "It would be better if he had done so five weeks ago, but it was – it's awful and it ended bad last night."

Accepting Trump because presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is worse, Hewitt said, is "like ignoring Stage IV cancer. You can't do it, you've got to go attack it."

"Right now the Republican Party is facing – the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours," he said.

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