WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said Saturday she will not support Donald Trump for president after a leaked 2005 videotape showed the Republican presidential nominee boasting about kissing and groping women without consent, and getting away with it because he was a celebrity.
Martinez has been critical of Trump throughout his campaign and has never endorsed him. She joined a growing chorus of prominent Republicans on Saturday in denouncing his remarks heard on tape.
“What Trump brags about is appalling and completely unacceptable,” Martinez said in a statement. “No woman should ever be treated the way he claims he treated women. Unfortunately, there is a pattern of disturbing conduct and offensive rhetoric that raises serious questions about his fitness to be President. That’s why I have withheld my support from the very beginning, and will not support him now.”
In July, Martinez said she wanted more information from Trump about how he would support New Mexico’s nuclear weapons laboratories and military bases, and ensure other federal funding to the state before she could consider supporting him.
But the governor, who is of Mexican descent, has long been skeptical and critical of Trump and his campaign. She excoriated the New York businessman late last year after he described Mexican immigrants as “rapists and drug dealers.” She also skipped Trump’s unruly rally in Albuquerque in May, saying she had other business. In return, Trump harshly criticized the governor’s job performance during his speech.
Prominent members of the Republican establishment – including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whom Martinez had endorsed for the presidential nomination – voiced support for Martinez after the dustup.
The contents of the Trump tape, first reported by the Washington Post on Friday, threw the GOP nominee’s campaign into crisis. Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and at least two dozen other Republican members of Congress had urged Trump to drop out of the race by Saturday night. Trump said Saturday he would remain in race.
The office of Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., who has voiced support for Trump’s campaign, could not be reached for comment on Trump’s remarks on Saturday.
Martinez, the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, has also said she could not support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, or Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor who is running for president as a Libertarian.
Meanwhile, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat supporting Clinton, lobbed a verbal grenade at Trump in a statement Saturday evening.
“This is consistent with the behavior of sexual predators,” Lujan Grisham said of the behavior Trump boasted about on the leaked videotape. “It’s an assault on women of the worst kind, and it now shows that Donald Trump is not fit for the human race. For those Republicans who are still standing with Trump, they are doing so with the full knowledge that he will not change his dangerous views and behavior against women.”