I noted yesterday that the Trump campaign is signaling they are fine with Republicans keeping their distance from Trump due to election concerns. I even noted that it was surprisingly mature for the Trump campaign.
But, like all things good in the Trump campaign, it ended abruptly when Donald Trump attacked Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico.
“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.
It is a really big deal for a few reasons.
First, Martinez is now the chair of the Republican Governors Association and the Republican governors around the country like her a lot more than they like Trump. Plus, Martinez controls the purse strings to help these governors and they know it.
Second, Martinez is the first female Hispanic governor in the country and one of the first statewide elected Hispanics in the United States. For those of you who don’t remember, in 2012 at the Republican National Convention Martinez told the story of how she and her husband converted from Democrats to Republicans. It was on values and taxes that they made their decision. She has been a forceful advocate within immigrant communities to show them the Democrats do not actually share values.
Third, New Mexico is a state that has, in the past, tilted barely to the Democrats, but has been held by this popular Republican Governor. Not only does Trump risk the state going Democrat with Hillary easily, but he also puts it at risk for Republicans in general. The first rule of any candidate at the top of the ticket should be “do no harm,” but Trump seems intent on doing harm.
Lastly, Trump’s campaign had signaled a strong willingness to let Republicans keep their distance if needed. Trump’s personal reversal on this is the latest sign that Republicans cannot expect Trump to honor the obligations and promises made by his campaign.
This is a really, really big deal. Republicans headed to Cleveland should pay attention to this. The Trump campaign promises are not binding on Trump.