- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

Former rivals of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump are defending New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez after Mr. Trump said at a rally in Albuquerque this week that Ms. Martinez has to do a better job.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, vice chair of the Republican Governors Association, said in a statement through the RGA that Ms. Martinez has delivered crucial tax reform, sued the EPA for federal overreach, and turned a deficit into a surplus.

“Governor Susana Martinez has effectively driven conservative reforms in a blue state won twice by President Obama, while winning re-election by the largest margin by a Republican in state history,” said Mr. Walker, a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

“Governor Martinez also has a dedicated record of helping elect conservative governors across the country, and as RGA chair this year, she is leading the charge in several states that are in dire need of real leadership, just like she has provided in New Mexico,” Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Walker’s statement did not mention Mr. Trump, but it came after an event earlier this week where Mr. Trump said Ms. Martinez has to do a better job.

“We have to get your governor to get going - she’s got to do a better job, OK?” Mr. Trump said at a rally in New Mexico on Tuesday. “Your governor has got to do a better job.”

Ms. Martinez, the country’s first elected Hispanic female governor, downplayed Mr. Trump’s comments and chalked them up to politics.

“It’s politics,” she told reporters. “It really is - it’s just politics. It doesn’t bother me what he says.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a former 2016 GOP candidate, did allude to the party’s “nominee” in defending Ms. Martinez on social media.

[email protected]_Martinez is an outstanding governor who has brought conservative reform to a blue state,” Mr. Kasich tweeted Wednesday. “She’s exactly who our party & nominee should be lifting up and supporting, not tearing down.”

And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted Wednesday: “Politicians talk. Governors lead. @Gov_Martinez is a leader and the future of our party.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, another former 2016 GOP contender, also tweeted Wednesday: “The truth is @ Gov_Martinez is one of the hardest working and most effective Governors in America.”

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