After last Friday’s release of a 2005 video in which Trump talks about trying unsuccessfully to have sex with a married woman and claims to kiss and grab women “by the pussy” without their consent, State GOP Chairwoman Deborah Weh-Maestas reaffirmed her support for Donald Trump stating:
“The Republican Party of New Mexico certainly does not condone the language used nor the actions described in the video of Mr. Trump released on Friday; however, we believe Mr. Trump to be a different man than that today and that he is the better choice for president.”
Weh-Maestas’ position should come as little surprise as she recently joined her father Allen Weh at Trump Tower to raise money for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
And Weh-Maestas is not alone in her sentiments. On CNN’s State of the Union, Mayor Rudy Giuliani minimized Trump’s conduct, stating, “First of all I don’t know he did it to anyone. This is talk. Gosh almighty, he who hasn’t sinned throw the first stone here.”
Giuliani further explained, “We’ve taken it to an extra degree of what he’s said, but the fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men. But men do. He was wrong for doing it. I’m not justifying it. I believe it’s wrong. I know he believes it’s wrong. This is not the man we are talking about today.”
Fox News’s Sean Hannity got into the action on Twitter and defended Trump, explaining that “King David had 500 concubines for crying out loud.”
Women problems aside, Trump has issues with another crucial voting block in New Mexico: Hispanics. As the Albuquerque Journal recently reported, “Hillary Clinton holds a solid lead over Trump among Hispanics in New Mexico…. Forty percent of Hispanics said they would vote for Clinton while 18 percent said they would vote for Trump.”
Significantly, Governor Gary Johnson is garnering 31 percent of New Mexico Hispanics, who traditionally tend to vote heavily Democratic in the state.
Trump has not helped his outreach efforts with women or Hispanics after criticizing Governor Susana Martinez’s performance as governor at a May Albuquerque rally, “She’s not doing the job,” he said. “Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico — I’ll get this place going.”
While many in the GOP establishment came to Gov. Martinez’s defense, Weh-Maestas was noticeably absent in giving a statement on behalf of the governor. Probably, because RPNM was occupied organizing Trump’s contentious Albuquerque rally.
Last May, Trump also outraged many Hispanics by implying that Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over a class action against the for‑profit Trump University, could not fairly hear the case because of his Mexican heritage.
“He’s a Mexican,” Trump told CNN of Curiel. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can’t even believe.”
For those that may not know, Curiel is an American citizen who was born in Indiana. And as a prosecutor in the 1990s, Curiel went after Mexican drug cartels.
The New Mexico GOP has a major problem. Republicans only account for 31% of the registered vote.
Joining forces with a candidate like Trump and defending him may make sense in a state like Louisiana, but not New Mexico.
Going forward, Weh-Maestas, the Republican Party of New Mexico, and down ballot Republicans will be held hostage by any new revelations of Trump’s pattern of bad choices.
During last Sunday’s debate Trump flatly denied ever touching a woman inappropriately or kissing one without consent. Weh-Maestas had no problem pointing out that Trump is a changed man. After all, the leaked video simply captured Trump’s locker room talk ten years ago when he was just a wee lad of 59 years. A veritable youth. So, nothing to worry about right?
Well… faster than you can say Bill Cosby, four women have come forward in stories published this past Wednesday accusing Trump of touching them inappropriately.
People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff published an article accusing Trump of forcibly kissing her prior to an interview with him and wife Melania Trump at his Mar‑a‑Lago resort in 2005.
“We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,” Stoynoff recalled. “I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
Surely, there is nothing else out there?
Uh…. while writing this article two more women have come forward claiming they were sexually assaulted by Trump.
Well, there is nothing if you ignore those stories, and if you don’t look at the Telegraph’s sexism tracker documenting all of Trump’s post-2005 demeaning comments towards women.
You may also want to avoid Vox’s story on Trump’s 61 insults hurled at 39 different women.
You better just refrain from using Google and entering the terms “Trump + women.”
So, what’s the significance for New Mexico politics?
Whether it’s fair or not, a prevailing narrative launched by Democrats against the GOP is their “war on women,” and with exception of Republican Senator Rand Paul, the GOP has been skewered on its gross inability to connect with minority voters.
For better or worse, Trump is now the face of the GOP, and Weh-Maestas is falling in line like a good apprentice. Regrettably, as a woman, Weh-Maestas has lost an opportunity to stand up for the very women Trump has belittled, and if true, assaulted. How will county GOP organizations in university towns persuade female millennial voters to register as a Republican when the leader of the State GOP refuses to admonish him?
State Chairman of New Mexico’s College Republicans, Michael Aguilar, wisely denounced Trump and salvaged his organization’s future credibility with students by publicly endorsing former Republican Governor Gary Johnson at a rally held last Saturday.
And regarding race politics, the electoral cost for associating with Trump in a state where Hispanic voters comprise the majority forecasts a gloomy November 8th.
Make no mistake about it, an alliance with Trump in New Mexico is already affecting down-ballot Republicans.
Las Cruces based journalist Heath Haussamen recently reported polling showing that Trump is now dragging down legislators and that there’s a real possibility Republicans could lose control of the state House, which they’ve held the last two years for the first time in decades. This would be a major blow to the legacies of GOP leaders like Gov. Martinez and House Majority Leader Nate Gentry.
For conservatives this will serve as a crushing defeat after waiting 85 years for a seat at the table. As New Mexico Politico editor Dax Contreras reported earlier in the week, in Dona Ana county alone, “there are four Republican incumbents running in competitive districts that ultimately might determine the outcome of who controls the New Mexico House of Representatives come January: District 36 (Andy Nunez), District 37 (Terry McMillan), District 39 (John Zimmerman), and District 53 (Rick Little). The House of Representatives is divided 37 to 33, so the Democrats need to flip two seats to tie or three to take control. State Senators Lee Cotter (R) and Bill Soules (D) are also expecting serious GOTV efforts from their challengers.”
Politicos, the State GOP is in deep kimchi.
It’s not too late for Weh-Maestas to help down ballot Republicans by denouncing Trump and hitching a ride with former two term Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. With Trump’s dip in the polls by 8 to 10 percentage points, Johnson moves firmly into second place, closely trailing Hillary Clinton. (Full Disclosure – I serve as the New Mexico State Chairman for the Johnson-Weld Campaign).
A New Mexico victory by Johnson could deprive both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from winning 270 Electoral College votes. If no one reaches 270, the election is decided by the House of Representatives from any of the top three vote‑getters in the Electoral College.
And with Republicans controlling the House, Clinton loses the election. At that point, you’ve got a choice between two former Republican governors with 16 years of proven executive experience, or the Trump train wreck.
From the ashes of the Whig party in the 1850’s arose another third party contender, the Republican Abraham Lincoln.