New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who was once speculated to be on Donald Trump’s short list of vice presidential prospects, is now on his hit list.
“Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.”
Martinez currently serves as the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association and has been considered a rising star in Republican politics, but her latest feud with Trump shows that the two might not see eye to eye. What’s more, the Establishment — which got vanquished by Trump, who formally locked down the GOP nomination on Thursday — leaped to defend Martinez after Trump dished out a couple of disses.
Trump held a large campaign rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Wednesday evening and Martinez was notably missing. Martinez has yet to endorse the billionaire businessman, which is more than likely why she didn’t attend — but she told reporters she was “really busy.”
“I’m the governor of New Mexico and I’m really focused on what’s going on here in New Mexico — just like the announcement we just did with 100 new high-tech and research jobs, improving the education for our kids, [and] another job announcement tomorrow,” Martinez said. “Those are the things that I’m concentrating on and I’m going to keep concentrating on.”
Martinez has been publicly critical of Trump’s bombastic rhetoric, particularly when it comes to immigration, as she herself is Hispanic. But her latest offense is the fact that she is not ready to endorse Trump — something that Trump quickly made her regret.
Trump took notice of the absence and in true Trump fashion he blasted the governor for not doing her job, blaming her for the state’s economic woes. “We have got to get your governor and get going,” Trump said. “She’s got to do a better job, OK? Your governor has got to do a better job … Is it your fault or is it your government’s fault? It’s the government fault,” he said. “Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.”
In the wake of the scathing comments, leading members of the GOP such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. John Kasich, and Gov. Jeb Bush rushed to the defense of Martinez, tweeting or voicing their support for her. However, the supportive tweets have led some to think that this could be part of a larger plan to undermine Trump.
Notably, all of these supporters of Martinez have at one point been #NeverTrump, have expressed concern about Trump’s candidacy, or have yet to throw him their support. For example, Rep. Paul Ryan met with Trump on Capitol Hill recently to begin a series of conversations on how the two can work together toward victory in November — but Ryan has yet to endorse Trump. Neither Walker nor Rubio have endorsed Trump but have said that they will support him in November, as it is more important to put aside their differences to make sure Hillary Clinton doesn’t end up in the White House.
Martinez is a longtime friend of the Bush family, and Jeb Bush, a former GOP contender for the presidency, has publicly said he will not be supporting Trump in November. His father and brother have followed suit.
Is it possible that behind the scenes there is more discord around Trump as the nominee than unity within the ranks of the Republican Party?
When Trump was declared the winner of the Indiana primary, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus declared him the presumptive nominee, encouraging unity in order to defeat the Democrats in November. While the Republicans have for the most part presented a united front, it is clear there are some elected officials who are choosing to distance themselves from Trump or are refraining from endorsing him.
Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that whoever doesn’t support him or endorse him will become the target of his attacks. His criticism of Martinez sent a message to those within the Republican Party that if they don’t line up behind him, he will sink them.
“The governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans,” said Mike Lonergan, Martinez’s press secretary. “Governor Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her.”