Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump confronted protesters inside the convention center where he appeared last night in New Mexico by telling security to remove the raucous protesters. Mocking them, Trump told the protesters as they were escorted out of the rally: "Go home to mommy." Of one demonstrater, Trump asked: "How old is this kid?...Still wearing diapers." Responding, his supporters chanted "Build that wall!"
According to a report by the Associated Press, police called the protest outside of the Albuquerque Convention Center a “riot” and that they fired “pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd.” Protesters inside the convention hall held up banners declaring “Trump is Fascist" and "We've heard enough." Outside, protesters took on police in riot gear by overrunning police barricades, burning t-shirts and anything else they could find that were labeled with Trump’s campaign motto: "Make America Great Again." A glass door at the entrance of the convention center was smashed. Several police officers were treated for injuries. Few arrests were reported.
This was Trump’s first campaign appearance in New Mexico. The Republican governor of the state, Susana Martinez – who leads the Republican Governors Association – was conspicuously absent from the rally. She has previously issued harsh criticisms of Trump’s immigration policies and has opposed his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Martinez told reporters this week that because she has been "really busy," she decided to miss the rally in the state capital.
"I'm the governor of New Mexico and I'm really focused on what's going on here in New Mexico -- just like the announcement we just did with 100 new high-tech and research jobs, improving the education for our kids, another job announcement tomorrow. Those are the things that I'm concentrating on and I'm going to keep concentrating on," Martinez told reporters. She has yet to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee.
Trump gave as good as he got. The New Yorker reeled off a series of statistics about New Mexico, noting that it had seen an increase in the number of people receiving food stamps. "We have to get your governor to get going. She's got to do a better job, OK?" he said. He added, "Hey, maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico. I'll get this place going."
In response, Martinez’s office said that she has worked to reform welfare. "The potshots weren't about policy, they were about politics," spokesman Michael Lonergan wrote. “And the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans, and she did not hear that today."