When the chairwoman of the Republican Governor’s Association and the only Latina governor in the United States of America failed to endorse Donald Trump before he was set to campaign in her state on Tuesday night, dismayed Republican political strategists nationwide held their breath: What Would Donald Do?
Trump came out swinging.
“Since 2000, the number of unemployed people in Albuquerque has nearly doubled. Come on folks. What’s wrong here? It’s your fault? Is it your fault or is it your government’s fault? It’s your government’s fault…”
“We have to get your governor to get going! She’s got to do a better job, okay? Your governor has got to do a better job, okay? 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 got to get her moving, come on, let’s go, governor!”
“Syrian refugees are being relocated in large numbers to New Mexico. If I was governor, that wouldn’t be happening. I couldn’t care less. They say the governors have no choice? If I’m governor, I have a choice, okay? Believe me.”
Fact check: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of unemployed people in a given month in Albuquerque in 2000 was 15,052. In March of 2016, according to the most recent preliminary data, the total number of unemployed in the city was 22,562. Trump’s guess was twice as large as reality, and Gov. Susana Martinez has only been in office for five of those years.
According to factcheck.org, over Martinez’s entire term, only 10 refugees of the Syrian Civil War have been relocated to New Mexico. And if Trump was governor, he would have no legal authority to stop refugees from traveling to New Mexico. Doing so would create a constitutional stand-off.
Gov. Martinez was not having it.
“Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t realize Governor Martinez wasn’t elected in 2000, that she has fought for welfare reform, and has strongly opposed the president’s Syrian refugee plan,” Martinez’s press secretary said in a statement.
“But the pot shots weren’t about policy, they were about politics. And 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’s disappointed that she didn’t hear anything about that last night.”
Spurred by all the commotion, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio offered some encouragement on Twitter.
The truth is @ Gov_Martinez is one of the hardest working and most effective Governors in America. https://t.co/QcADopQCYe
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 25, 2016
Martinez is the exact wrong person for Trump to be bullying, in the middle of a awkward span of trying unite his supporters with establishment Republicans, and at the first signs of a long, expensive general election fight against Hillary Clinton.
Paul Ryan reiterated Tuesday, in response to reports floating around D.C. to the contrary, that he hadn’t “made a decision” about endorsing Trump yet, and though the two speak on the phone near daily, a spokesman for Ryan clarified that it wasn’t “an endorsement call.”
Ryan responded to Trump’s comments about Martinez by saying that she was a “great governor” and “a friend of mine.” Asked about pressure from the Trump campaign to endorse him, Ryan said “I don’t worry about that stuff.”
Somewhere in the labyrinthian halls of the expansive home of the suspiciously-named billionaire Los Angeles real estate investor Tom Barrack, where tickets to a fundraiser featuring Donald Trump Wednesday cost $25,000 — or $100,000 for a picture with Trump — the reality television star stared deeply into a mirror and repeated to himself:
“I will unite the Republican Party. I will unite the Republican Party. I will unite the Republican Party.”
Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory/ Gov. Susana Martinez.