Is the governor a role model for kids? If so, she shouldn’t be flippantly blowing off the accusations that her chief-of-staff, Keith Gardner, grabbed a young woman and growled about “the bowels of hell” in her face.
Martinez is standing by her man, which is no surprise. But the basic accusation of a huge person manhandling a smaller person should at least give her pause.
“This is nothing but politics,” Martinez told KRQE News 13. “This is politics at its worst.”
Wait. A lobbyist for the Albuquerque Public Schools says Gardner grabbed her aggressively and threatened her over school reform. Is the governor saying that woman lied? Is she saying that woman should have kept quiet? Yeah, politics could easily be motivating Sen. Linda Lopez to call for Gardner’s firing over this latest accusation, and over the leaked audio recording of Gardner offering his friend state employment and repeatedly calling Sen. Tim Jennings a bleeping bleep.
But Martinez’s office had this to say earlier in the year when then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Weiner was photographed in a Filipino red light district: “Governor Martinez is deeply troubled by Commissioner Weiner’s pattern of behavior, and is endorsing his Republican primary opponent Lonnie Talbert.”
That is both a condemnation of a “pattern of behavior” and a blatantly political statement. The difference this time, of course, is Martinez’s right-hand man is the one with the pattern of behavior.
The man who released the audio recording of Gardner’s crazy self-incrimination and swearing said “I am a Republican and voted for Governor Susana Martinez. As part of her cabinet, Mr. Gardner is a public servant and owes the public a duty of candor. I did this because it seemed like the right thing, the honest thing, to do, given the public statements which contradicted Mr. Gardner’s blatant comments made during our conversation.”
The woman who says Gardner grabbed her wrote a letter to the governor, which was ignored, that said “I am an idealistic young woman who believes in the political process and that the freedom of speech and ideas results in legislation that best serves our community. I hope that Mr. Gardner did not single me out for intimidation because of my youth and because I am female.”
One would hope these sentiments might resonate with a prosecutor-turned-governor. Martinez’s response, however, has been to marginalize these two people as politically motivated liars. And that sucks.