Donald Trump has no political reason to dislike Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico, but he does. There was no reason for Trump to pounce on Martinez, but he did. After all, Martinez is a conservative and of Hispanic heritage. She is a rare and precious Republican jewel. So why did Trump hammer her?
When Trump came to New Mexico, Martinez was too “busy” to come and bow down before the Republican nominee. Apparently, that hurt the big boy’s feelings, because Trump called her inadequate and lazy:
‘We have got to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job, okay? Your governor has got to do a better job. She’s not doing the job…. She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on, let’s go, governor.’
But the only Latina governor is a conservative, president of the Republican Governors Association, and a rising star in the party. Once Martinez heard about Trump’s comments, her press secretary Mike Lonergan released a statement saying she “will not be bullied:”
‘Governor Martinez doesn’t care about what Donald Trump says about her. She cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans.’
Pundits have considered Governor Martinez an ideal vice-president choice for Trump, because she could shore up two areas where Trump is weakest, among women and Latinos. Apparently Trump doesn’t like that idea. He prepared notes for the New Mexico speech to catapult his venomous words at the governor. So, this wasn’t just something he came up with on the spur of the moment.
Maybe Trump is trying to shoot himself in the foot. It is one thing to duel with leading Republicans during the primaries. But the primaries are done. At a time when he should be uniting the Republicans and wooing women and Hispanic voters, he did the opposite. Surely, the governor skipping his speech shouldn’t condemn her in the candidate’s eyes.
Josh Voorhees with “Slate” has some ideas about why Trump would pull such a stunt:
• ‘Trump is a bully, and his attack last night could have been an effort to force Martinez’s hand, or a warning to other party figures still on the fence.
• It could have been Trump trying to re-establish his anti-establishment bona fides now that the GOP is mainstreaming him
• Or simply him overreacting to a political slight, either because he couldn’t stop himself or because he didn’t want to.’
There is a fourth possibility, maybe the reason was a combination of all three. We know that the Republican candidate for president is incredibly thin-skinned, so Martinez skipping out was enough to make Trump feel as if she were disrespecting him. We see this in the narcissistic personality, when people consider themselves the center of the world.
So, Trump took offense. Then, the billionaire goes into his fight or flight mode, and as a bully, it is in his nature to attack. Trump is a great fighter, and he enjoys it. Plus, people tend to back down and/or leave him alone.
Jaana Juvonen, USCLA professor of developmental psychology’s research shows:
‘The bigger, stronger kids create a social hierarchy and appoint themselves the leaders. The bullies are clearly in charge, gaining power and status that translate to a bigtime ego boost.’
Then she said:
‘But bullying is not a problem of specific individuals. Bullying is a collective problem.’
Finally, can Trump help himself? He said he was going to be more presidential, but that just hasn’t happened. It makes sense, that his attack on Martinez offered him no advantage and a big down side. If Trump cannot help himself, the formula for his presidency is clear.
Any time Trump perceives an affront, he automatically will attack. He is like the story about the frog and the scorpion:
A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on his back across a river. The turtle exclaimed:
‘Are you mad? You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.’
The scorpion laughed:
“My dear turtle. If I were to sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?’
The turtle cried:
‘You’re right! Hop on!’
The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly said:
‘Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there’d be no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?’
The drowning scorpion sadly replied:
‘It has nothing to do with logic. It’s just my character.’
Trump’s attack on Martinez is just his character, and that is our collective problem.