The U.S. Senate is working its way through President Donald Trump’s nominees for key positions. Republicans have generally been supportive of Trump’s nominees, with
a few exceptions. Democrats have largely picked their battles over nominations, allowing some to sail through, while delaying others. NM Political Report will continue to track the floor votes by Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich on each of the nominees. When either of the Senators said before a vote, either in a statement or in a news story, that they would support or oppose a nominee, NM Political Report will indicate that.
Of the four votes in the U.S. Senate against confirming Nikki Haley for United States ambassador to the United Nations Tuesday, two came from New Mexico. Both Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich voted against Haley, who easily won confirmation on a 96-4 vote. Haley stepped down from her position as South Carolina governor after her confirmation. Many of the nominees put forward by President Donald Trump have been opposed by Democrats. In addition to the two New Mexico Democrats, Chris Coons of Delaware and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, voted against Haley’s confirmation.
Sen. Tom Udall questioned two of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees about climate change and the president-elect’s financial conflicts during Senate hearings Wednesday. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is Trump’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Wilbur Ross is the nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. During Haley’s confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, Udall questioned her position on climate change. Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and vowed to withdraw funding for United Nations climate programs. He has also said his administration would withdraw the U.S. from commitments made last year in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Udall asked if Haley thinks the U.S. should “maintain its leadership in the Paris Agreement in order to ensure that countries abide by their climate obligations?”
Gov. Susana will no longer chair the Republican Governors Association. Instead, the organization elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to an announcement Wednesday. The RGA, which advocates to elect Republican governors across the nation, elected Martinez at its helm last year. Before then, she served for one year as vice chair. Martinez will continue to serve on the RGA’s executive committee.
Despite calls to talk about Donald Trump by the media and, mostly, the state Democratic Party, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has largely maintained her silence since her preferred candidate, Marco Rubio, dropped out. This changed at a donor event this weekend, according to the Washington Post. The Post reported that the chairwoman of the Republican Governor’s Association “did not mince words” and slammed Trump at the event held at the “mansion of billionaire David Koch” in Palm Beach, Florida. She told the crowd of about 60 wealthy GOP backers that, as a Latina, she was offended by Trump’s language about immigrants. Noting her years working as a prosecutor on the Mexican border and now as a border-state governor, Martinez said Trump’s plan to build a wall and force Mexico to pay for it was unrealistic and irresponsible, according to multiple people in attendance.
Once again, pundits are saying that Susana Martinez is a potential vice presidential pick for the eventual Republican nominee. This time, it was Lee Carter of Maslanksy and Partners. Carter appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss possible choices to fill out the Republican presidential ticket that businessman Donald Trump. Carter outlined women as possible “counterbalances” to Trump. Trump is extremely unpopular among women.
Gov. Susana Martinez is once again receiving attention for a possible national political positions. Republican Presidential candidate and Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke in South Carolina about those he thought would be good choices for a running mate on a presidential ticket and mentioned Martinez by name. From Reuters:
Rubio said the good news is Republicans have a deep talent pool from which to pick a vice presidential running mate. One name that he mentioned in particular: the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez. Rubio said a VP choice “has to be someone who is ready to be president” and “someone you can work with.”
Some New Mexico politicians have weighed in on the controversy over flying of the Confederate battle flag. The debate was reignited after the murder of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina. Dylann Roof, who has reportedly admitted to the killings, was pictured with the Confederate battle flag in his manifesto where he spoke of white supremacy. Just days after the shooting, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said that she believed the Confederate battle flag should no longer fly in front of the State House building. Now, other states are considering actions related to the Confederate flag, including not allowing drivers licenses with the image.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hasn’t officially joined the Republican presidential nomination scrum yet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t campaigning. The Wisconsin governor who gained a national profile through a fight with unions in Wisconsin, and a consequent recall election which his governorship survived, has been traveling around the country shoring up support for a likely presidential run. And while he travels, he mentions a few Republican governors. One is New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, the first Latina governor in the United States. While in Atlanta, when speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I think that argument’s even truer now,” he said.