Donald Trump has pretty much wrapped up the GOP nomination for President, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking swipes at his fellow Republicans — including the nation’s first and only Latina governor, Susana Martinez.
At a rally in New Mexico yesterday, a spiteful Trump — reportedly bitter that Martinez not only repeatedly criticized him, but also refused to attend his Albuquerque rally — exacerbated the GOP’s “Latino problem” by lashing out at her tenure as the state’s governor:
“We have got to get your governor to get going,” Trump said to a cheering audience. “She’s got to do a better job. Okay? Your governor has got to do a better job. She’s not doing the job. Hey! Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going. She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on: Let’s go, governor.”
Trump also criticized Martinez for allowing “large numbers” of Syrian refugees to resettle in the state. Although governors have limited control over these federal resettlements, Trump faulted Martinez for allowing it to happen. “If I was governor, that wouldn’t be happening,” Trump said
Martinez is also chair of the powerful Republican Governors Association, and as a rising star within the GOP, widely-touted as a possible VP pick — “aka not someone you would expect a presidential hopeful who is struggling to win over women, Latinos, and party power players alike to needlessly attack from the stump in her home state,” Salon notes.
Others responded on Twitter:
Trump attacking female Latina GOP gov at rally in her state shows impulse control issues that will doom Trump.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 25, 2016
Perhaps not the wisest decision for @realDonaldTrump to bash this country’s first Latina governor when Latinos hate him, but that’s just me.
— Gabe (@widestance) May 25, 2016
And, his attacks on a prominent, well-respected Latina within his party show his feeble attempts at Latino outreach — more recently an amateurish video to Latino evangelicals filmed from the inside of one of his planes, and then who can forget that taco bowl — must in no way be legitimized (though she herself hasn’t always been an ally to immigrants, long crusading to strip driver’s licenses from undocumented immigrants).
Martinez was given a prime speaking spot at the 2012 Republican convention because it was understood she was a model of how they could expand the reach of the party. But in Donald Trump’s GOP, she has become a heretic who must be destroyed.
[A] Republican Party where a Susana Martinez becomes a persona non-grata is not one that can win elections in the long run. By attacking her in this manner, Trump may get cheers from his core supporters but he is also ensuring a bleak future for the party that he and his backers have hijacked.
Martinez’s spokesperson responded that “the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans.”
“Governor Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her — she cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans. She didn’t hear anything about that today.”
Now the question is where Martinez — and other Republicans critical of Trump — go from here: Continue to stand on the right side of history by opposing him, or capitulate and endorse as others have done and pretend like the past 11 months of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia never happened.