New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez doesn’t often make headlines for prickly comments.
But the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, known for getting a rise out of people of all dispositions, has pushed the Republican governor out of her comfort zone.
At a Republican Governors Association dinner, Martinez, who is the group's chairwoman, told a crowd of GOP campaign donors in attendance that the presidential candidate’s rhetoric about immigrants was nothing short of insulting to her, because her grandparents came from Mexico.
At the dinner, a private event held in the Palm Beach home of billionaire David Koch, Martinez took Trump to task for his attack on immigrants, according to the Washington Post. Martinez said that as a Latina – she was the first elected governor in the U.S. – she was offended by the way Trump speaks about immigrants.
When the real estate tycoon launched his campaign last year, he did so with a vow to take a hard line against Mexico, accusing the country of dumping its worst people – criminals – on the other side of U.S. border. The anti-illegal immigration call has been a constant in his campaign, which has greatly focused on the promise of building a huge wall along the border and undertaking mass deportations.
Martinez, who was endorsed recently by the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for vice president of the GOP ticket, said that as someone who worked as a prosecutor on the border and who has presided over a border state, she found Trump’s plan to build a wall and coerce Mexico to finance its construction, irresponsible and delusional.
The Post cited unidentified sources who said they had been at the gathering.
The governor's blunt talk was a departure from the softer tone she took at a New York gala last week, with GOP presidential candidates in attendance, where she expressed confidence that a Republican would win the White House.
Martinez is not known to be a firebrand, but she has not shied away in the past from showing displeasure during political campaigns when she believes they come across as unfriendly to Latinos.
When, during the 2012 election, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's advocating "self-deportation" led to a dismal performance among Latino voters, Martinez called on her party to change its approach toward Hispanics.
Availing herself of her perch as the most prominent Latina in the Republican party, Martinez criticized Romney's campaign rhetoric and argued for passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.