Martinez on controversial Trump pick: ‘He gets to choose whoever he wants’

Gov. Susana Martinez continued warming up to President-elect Donald Trump by defending his controversial pick of Steve Bannon to national media outlets Tuesday. Trump’s pick of Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, the far-right news website, as chief strategist at the White House drew rebuke from anti-discrimination groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At the same time, the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan and former KKK leader David Duke praised Trump’s pick of Bannon. Bannon is under fire for his alleged anti-semitic comments as well as running Breitbart while the website published stories with headlines like, “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage,”  “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” While Democrats, including those in New Mexico’s congressional delegation, are criticizing Trump for the pick, most congressional Republicans haven’t commented one way or another on Bannon.

Pence says ‘this movement is coming together’ in Las Cruces

Mike Pence showed up in Las Cruces Wednesday for a campaign rally in an airport hangar and sounded confident that New Mexicans would vote for Donald Trump. “This movement is coming together,” Pence said according to the Albuquerque Journal. “New Mexico is coming together, and we’re going to make Donald Trump the next president of the United States of America.”

It was the third trip by Pence to New Mexico and the first to Las Cruces, as the Trump campaign seeks to put New Mexico in play after two large victories by Barack Obama in the state in 2008 and 2012. Both the Trump campaign and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign are airing ads in New Mexico. Polling has shown Clinton leading in New Mexico.

Pence headed back to NM to campaign for Trump

It appears the Donald Trump campaign really believes that New Mexico is in play. Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is headed back to New Mexico for another campaign event. Pence will be at Las Cruces for a rally this Wednesday, at Southwest Aviation, according to the Trump campaign website. It’s part of the vice presidential hopeful’s busy schedule that has him in Loveland, Colorado later that same day. Tuesday, Pence will be campaigning in Pennsylvania.

Trump to hold campaign rally in New Mexico this weekend

Donald Trump is coming back to New Mexico for a campaign rally, a week before Election Day. Trump will be in New Mexico Sunday to headline a campaign rally. The rally will be held at Atlantic Aviation, near the Albuquerque International Sunport according to Trump’s website. The doors will open at 4:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. start time. Trump has a rally scheduled for Greeley, Colorado at 4:00 p.m. that same day.

Pence rallies Trump supporters in ABQ

On his second campaign visit to Albuquerque in three months, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence repeated many of the statements he touched on during his first visit. “When I get up in the morning, I’ve got to turn on the television with a stick,” the Indiana governor said, repeating a lament he said in August aimed at perceived media bias against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. “The party in power just can’t seem to figure out my running mate,” Pence continued. “And of course, I’m talking about the media.”

Pence held the rally at the Hilton Embassy Suites near downtown Albuquerque. Saying media coverage of Trump’s scandals still hasn’t eliminated him from contention, Pence stated that the coverage is “kind of fun to watch.”

“They got one tweet and they think they got him,” Pence said, “and they get up the next morning and Donald Trump is still standing.”

Pence criticized media for ignoring “an avalanche of controversies” surrounding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Mike Pence

Trump running mate to campaign in NM

Donald Trump’s running mate is making another campaign appearance in New Mexico, days after a rally by a high-profile Hillary Clinton surrogate. Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and the running mate of the Republican presidential nominee, will appear at the Embassy Suites hotel in Albuquerque this Thursday, according to the Trump campaign website. Pence campaigned in Albuquerque and Roswell in August. In August, top Republicans, including Congressman Steve Pearce and state House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, and state Rep. and Secretary of State candidate Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, spoke at  the Pence rally. Trump himself headlined a rally ahead of the Republican primary in Albuquerque.

NM politicians backing Trump speak at Pence rally

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence spent his Tuesday Albuquerque town hall defending the character of his party’s controversial presidential nominee in wake of constant negative headlines. So did a few other local Republicans who spoke at the event, including Congressman Steve Pearce and State House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas. Pearce said he was won over during the Republican National Convention with a few “dramatic revelations of the character of Donald Trump.”

Among them was Trump’s “disarming and revealing” words about his evangelical Christian supporters. “He said, ‘I’m getting support from the evangelicals and I’m not sure I deserve it,’” Pearce said. “That’s what I am looking for in politicians who will be transparent.”

Another moment of revelation?

Mike Pence

Pence defends Trump, goes after media at ABQ town hall

Donald Trump’s running mate has a reputation for being more subdued in public than the Republican presidential candidate, but that doesn’t mean they attract different crowds. A case in point came during Mike Pence’s town hall in Albuquerque Tuesday afternoon when a person from the audience during the question and answer session asked the Republican vice presidential nominee why establishment Republicans were publicly jumping ship from the Trump ticket. He brought up Gov. Susana Martinez, who has publicly feuded with Trump and refused to endorse him, as an example. “She is one of many Republicans that are deserting,” the man said. “Why are there an unprecedented amount of people who are deserting you and Mr. Trump in your own party?”

Pence replied by saying that Martinez is “a very dear friend of mine.”

“She’s a great governor,” Pence said, as audience members gathered at Sandia Resort Casino started booing.

Dems criticize GOP VP nominee ahead of NM visit

Two Democratic legislators aired grievances against Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence one day before his scheduled visit to New Mexico. During a small press conference Monday morning in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, State Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, addressed Pence’s social conservative views by calling him “perhaps the most anti-LGBT nominee for national elected office we have seen in modern history.”

“His policies in Indiana have legalized hatred, have legalized discrimination, and at the end of the day those are the things that we do not accept in New Mexico,” Candelaria, who is openly gay, said. “That’s not who we are as a state.”

Candelaria was referring to Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law which Pence, the state’s governor, signed last year. The Indiana law prohibits the state from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion.”

The religious freedom law drew national attention after critics bemoaned it for allowing businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. Amid the backlash, Pence and legislators soon amended the law to add protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Candelaria and state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, also took aim at the economic policies of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom Pence is running with on the ticket this November.