Election 2020

Peter King: Trump Shouldn't Attack 'Type of Republican We Want on Our Side'

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez makes final edits to her State of the State speech in her office in Santa Fe, N.M., on Jan 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), an anti-Cruz lawmaker who said he’s supporting Donald Trump simply because he’s the GOP nominee, said the presumptive GOP nominee shouldn’t have gone after New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez for reasons including “she is obviously a female” and “she is Hispanic.”

Trump extensively ripped into Martinez during a rally at her home state that the governor declined to attend. “The governor has to do a better job. She’s not doing the job. Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going,” he said in part.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — a Trump ally — said afterward that the attack was “very, very destructive.”

“I think it sent all the wrong signals. You particularly don’t want to see your candidate who needs to vote, get stronger with Latinos, and stronger with women, attacked a Latina woman Republican governor,” Gingrich said.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowki said there’s no attack on a Latino or a woman governor. “What this was, was laying out the economic perspective of what the state of New Mexico was doing and he’s saying we need to do a better job. That’s what our country needs, is we need to create jobs, we need to have more people back to work, we need to build a wall, we need to stop illegal immigration,” Lewandowski said.

A new Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found that women are planning to vote for the Democratic ticket by 54-30 percent. The poll director attributed that gender gap to Hillary Clinton’s lead.

King said on CNN Wednesday that he’s not comfortable with Trump going after Martinez. “She is a respected governor. And, you know, she’s in the same party. She is the type of Republican, type of American that we want on our side. She is obviously a female. She is Hispanic. And, more important than all of that, she is an elected governor and, by all accounts, I think she has a 67 percent approval rating,” he said.

“So, no, I — if there’s any advice I would give to Donald Trump, I would say to, you know, stop attacking Governor Martinez, because she is, again, she is a respected person in the party and rightly so.”

He also said that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) should work out the issue of an endorsement before the Republican National Convention.

“I think it’s important that Paul Ryan get — work out an agreement with Donald Trump. I think Paul Ryan is probably the key person right now and I think also senior people in the party should sit down with Donald Trump,” King said.

“Listen, he won the primary. He’s the nominee. I think it’s also important that he realizes there are some issues, that there are differences with him… I think we should be able to work that out,” the congressman added.

“But I would say right now it’s up to Paul Ryan, and I — Paul is a good friend. I think he is trying — he wants to make this work. He wants to be able to endorse Donald Trump. I think by Paul and Donald Trump sitting down more in the future we can get that resolved and get it done before the convention… Donald Trump won. That’s the reality. And if you’re in a party, you should abide by the guy who wins it, unless it’s so outside the bounds. Donald Trump is not. Again, I think that you have to work with him. It’s our obligation to make this work.”