The meeting comes as Trump said he respects Martinez and wants her support
The new nice words about Martinez come after a week of pressure from Republican leaders
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is looking forward to meeting presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump “in the near future,” a spokesman for Martinez said Friday night.
The meeting comes as Trump – who recently made headlines when he attacked the Republican governor – said he respects her and wants her support.
“Gov. Martinez is encouraged by Mr. Trump’s commitment to protect New Mexico’s labs and bases, which are not only important to our state but also our national defense,” Martinez spokesman Mike Lonergan said in a statement. “The governor hopes to visit with Mr. Trump in the near future to discuss this issue and others that affect New Mexicans. As she has said, this has never been about her – it’s about the issues that impact New Mexico.”
Trump on Thursday told The Santa Fe New Mexican he has “always liked” Martinez – despite telling his supporters at a New Mexico rally late last month that 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 going. Come on – let’s go, governor,” he said last Tuesday.
Trump also brought up Martinez allowing Syrian refugees to settle in New Mexico, saying, “Syrian refugees are being relocated in large numbers to New Mexico. If I was governor, that wouldn’t be happening.” Factcheck.org found that New Mexico has welcomed 10 Syrian refugees out of 4,421 processed in the U.S. since Martinez became governor in 2011.
The new nice words about Martinez come after a week of pressure from Republican leaders concerned that the attack on the Republican governor only emphasized Trump’s critical weaknesses among Hispanics and women – voting blocs he must do better with if Republicans hope to win the White House.
Beyond being perhaps the most prominent Hispanic Republican, Martinez also chairs the Republican Governors Association and is a favorite among establishment Republicans Trump has been trying to woo.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – one of the earliest supporters of Trump after he became the presumptive nominee – told CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday that Trump’s fight with Martinez is an example of a broader problem that could alienate Latinos for decades.
“I think the attacks that he’s routinely engaged in, for example, going after Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico, the chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, I think, was a big mistake,” McConnell said.
A Trump spokeswoman did not return a request for comment Friday morning.
Martinez told a New Mexico television station two weeks ago that she didn’t know if she would be backing Trump but she certainly wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
“I’ll tell you one thing. I can tell you I’m not voting for Hilary Clinton,” Martinez said. “I will not be endorsing Hillary Clinton.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.