Michelle Lujan Grisham

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham refused Republican state senators’ calls to fully reopen the economy Tuesday, blasting their demands as “reckless” and “anti-scientific bluster.”

Thirteen of New Mexico’s 16 Republican state senators sent a letter to the governor Monday urging her to completely lift all public health orders by Wednesday morning.

They argued the impact of the novel coronavirus has not “risen to the levels initially thought by many experts.”

Lujan Grisham lambasted the senators’ demands as an “utter failure and unflinching surrender to the virus ravaging our communities” and rejected the notion the current U.S. COVID-19 death toll of approximately 90,000 people could be conceived of as a “mild or moderate outcome.”

In New Mexico, the Governor’s Office reported Tuesday that 276 New Mexicans had died from the respiratory illness.

“Your reckless demand for a full-scale ‘re-opening,’ ” the governor wrote, “serves only to inflame misinformed public opinion, which is to risk further illness and likely death, death that will be lonely and all the more tragic because it was and is within our power to prevent.”

Republican leaders and legislators since April have accused the governor of overreaching in her public health measures, charging she has unnecessarily hurt local businesses and the economy through overly strict restrictions.

Last week, Lujan Grisham announced new measures allowing retailers and houses of worship in most parts of the state to start operating at 25 percent capacity.

GOP senators said that wasn’t enough and contended the limited opening — combined with a massive budget shortfall — would have “a disastrous effect on the New Mexico economy.”

“Common sense would dictate a rational, measured response to what we now know about the spread of this virus and the data available to us,” the senators wrote.

Three Republican senators who did not sign the letter are from Albuquerque: Minority Whip William Payne, Sen. Candace Gould and Sen. Sander Rue.

Payne said he didn’t sign onto the letter because he believed the governor’s measures to partially reopen the economy were reasonable, given the continuing risk of spreading the virus.

“It just didn’t seem to be prudent,” he said about signing the letter. “Right now, this thing is still pretty problematic.”

Reached by telephone for comment, Rue asked that questions be emailed to him and then did not respond to an email. Gould did not return a call Tuesday.

In her response, Lujan Grisham criticized the senators for not citing health experts or scientists in their letter and charged “no public health expert or epidemiologist could or would or does support” the policy the Republican lawmakers advocated.

She also chided the senators for ignoring that the “strong steps” her administration has taken during the outbreak have led to what she called New Mexico’s “relative success in combating the virus.”

The governor said the Senate Republicans have not publicly supported any of her public health measures, advocated for federal support for small businesses or supported the federal disbursement of relief funds.

In addition to sharply criticizing the governor for not taking more steps to open the economy, House GOP legislators have asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr to look into a possible violation of civil rights due to the state’s public health orders.

An April 29 letter sent to Barr by state House Republican Leader Jim Townsend suggested Lujan Grisham is one of “numerous governors” who are making decisions with what he called “almost dictatorial powers by intimidating people to stay at home.”

State health officials said last week that while New Mexico’s COVID-19 crisis is far from conquered, the overall transmission rate has been kept low enough to prevent infected patients from overwhelming the medical system.

Still, Lujan Grisham has reiterated the importance of wearing face coverings to curb the spread of the virus, issuing an order last week that mandated everyone wear a mask while in public.

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Jens Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.

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(59) comments

Jeff Clark

They argued the impact of the novel coronavirus has not “risen to the levels initially thought by many experts.”

Duh. Its because the measures are working.

Jeff Clark

They argued the impact of the novel coronavirus has not “risen to the levels initially thought by many experts.”

Jack Hunter

MLG is doing what any sane, thinking person would do. Cautiously moving forward as the data dictates. Ultimately, it's about respect people. Ware your mask, keep your distance and wash you hands to protect others and this will end sooner than it would if you don't follow common sense advice. Your President, as some of you freely admit to, is the worst possible example of what to do to get past this safely and as quickly as possible. The man is a walking, talking, tweeting disaster. Can't wait until January 20, 2021 when he moves into the dust bin of history as arguably the worst U.S. president ever. Respect your family, friends and neighbors, do the right thing... What ever happened to that ethic in this country

Connie Lopez

Jack = Voice of reason

Orlie Romero

Jack and Connie, one BIG point you forgot probably on purpose, “if your sick you stay home not the other way around”. That’s respect and logic

Lupe Molina

For all those complaining about the governor's handling of this situation: are you doctors? Epidemiologists? Are any of you actually even economists? No? Then listen to them. They're the experts. You're not.

Judith Senda

Whatever happened to those bumper stickers: Question Authority?

As we saw again just yesterday, Fauci (the expert) has reversed himself again. Nevertheless people like you, Lupe, tell us: comply, obey, do as you’re told. You’re not experts, and you’re not qualified to decide anything for yourselves.

Perhaps you should consider employing a new bumper sticker: Baa. Baa.

The new normal.

Connie Lopez

Judith Senda = MAGA local chapter member

Kimberly Duran

Thank you!

Orlie Romero

Just do what your president says, he has the best experts, doesn’t wear mask, goes out, he’s telling you without telling you, stop being sheep. Many don’t realize this, but movies were being made up until this week all over NM, do you think this wasn’t known, little hard to do when 100s of people and no masks. Think logically people.

Connie Lopez

Orlie Romero = MAGA local chapter member

Kimberly Duran

Yeah Orlie!

ron deener

JUST READ YOUR RESPONSE TO THE ABSOLUTELY JUSTIFIED AND NECESSARY LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU which is only the bare beginning of what's to come, Grisham. How dare you! Absolutely unthinkable! Reckless? Anti scientific? From Ms. reckless anti scientific herself!!! I have been closely following the virologists and immunologists and other MD's who are coming forward with real science and who have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and explained so the average layman can understand every step of the fraudulent experimentation used to deceive people into believing in the existence of a virus called covid 19, let alone one with the mortality rate you would have to have to justify the violations of civil rights that you, Grisham have subjected us to. Your statistics are so far out from valid science that wishful thinking would be a closer description of your relationship with science. And even with that said, you have still only come up with 300 deaths in the whole state during this whole 'epidemic'. That does not justify asking one person who is healthy to wear a mask for one day, let alone lock down the whole state, stop almost everyone from making a living and close all the schools and businesses on which we are all dependent. That non science which produces your utterly fraudulant statistics is based soley on your power aspirations and has nothing to do with protecting anyone's health. You are an unthinkable mean spirited black soul. "You can't even run your own life, I'll be damned if you'll run mine".You will not dictate anything to me. I will not comply. I will not take a DNA altering vaccine, I will not lock down. I will support anyone who moves against you. In Grant County we have not had a new case, nor a single death ever and I believe not even a hospitalization ever and even the cases occured at least 2 months ago. And at least 10 of the 13 total positive tests for covid19 occurred while in lock down. So don't you dare take any credit for anything except serious completely unjustified violations of our civil rights. Hats off to business owners who open up ahead of state approval and/or refuse the totally unnecessary health precautions being imposed on your businesses. Especially the dangerous contact tracing requirements . It seems we need this kind of courage and integrity to show that at least many of us are not sheep to be herded into the 'new normal'.


Connie Lopez

Ron Deener = Silver City chapter President, MAGA movement

Kimberly Duran

Yeah Ron for being awake and speaking your truth!

Linda Chavez

Actually the country is ready to re-open, according to CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield.


Becca Granato

I for one, would rather have a Governor who "overreacts" to health concerns that affect everyone in our state, than one that's lazy and blows off the health concern as an overreaction and calls it another "flu" when people are dying from this disease at a faster rate than people who get the flu do. She's not kidding on the fact that people die alone, they don't get their family around them when the die, due to the fact that they could catch Covid-19 themselves. I feel for those who have lost their jobs, and have lost their ability to feed their families, and support themselves. I wish our state was in the position to support you through this tragedy, and help you get back on your feet. I wish that more federal funding was available for everyone in our state, due to it's economic loss. Instead of pointing fingers at the Governor who's just trying to keep people alive, point your fingers at your state representatives and ask them Why Congress can't seem to go the way of other countries and support people during this medical disaster/pandemic? Oh Wait! That involves people paying more taxes----Money doesn't come from nowhere folks. If you want the support, raise then ask the government for the support NOW, and when this is done, ask for taxes to be raised for Universal Health Care, and a Standard Income for all. Countries such as England, Germany, and other European Nations have a Standard income and have had that in place since the 1950s. Why can't the U.S. do the same?

Connie Lopez

"Countries such as England, Germany, and other European Nations have a Standard income and have had that in place since the 1950s. Why can't the U.S. do the same?" Answer: Try asking citizens of these countries what they pay in income tax, like 50%.

Robert Bartlett

In the end, Grisham will have to own the economic and social disaster she has created by her ill informed and specious orders. I wonder how many of her acolytes, including the ones defending this nonsense here, will be willing to go down with the ship with her.

JB Weinberg

No. Donald Trump owns this disaster. He's trying to blame it on the governors but it was, and continues to be, a failure of executive leadership at the Federal level.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Well said, the people in NM who have been ruined and destroyed by her arbitrary and capricious edicts, and there are many, will remember her and her party in the coming elections. She will of course claim tens of thousands of lives were saved, but in the end, she cannot prove who they were or how that happened. The ones destroyed have their proof.

Tom Ribe

Once again Dr. Johnson represents the anti-community, angry far right. His hero, Donny Trump is only concerned about himself and he leads people like Johnson from a position of total ignorance and selfishness. Let's vote the republicans out in November. All of them. The party is completely corrupt and immoral.

kyle renfro

If face masks really did much of anything, we’d at least see some insert in the paper with even the most basic of instructions for what to wear and how to wear it. For heaven’s sake, we seem to need instructions for how to recycle, but not for avoiding transmission of a deadly disease???

Fauci says face masks useless in 60 Minutes interviews from March 2020 (45 seconds):


Becca Granato

[unsure] why does something from March 2020 become valid for May 2020. Fauci said they were useless BEFORE The CDC came out and recommended them for everyone. Fauci later came out and said that it would probably be a good idea for everyone to wear them when out. Lawyers have to go through and find the latest case that proves their position, please try to find Fauci's latest statement on face masks before posting opinions based on others works.

Lupe Molina

You need written or drawn instructions for putting on a face mask? Who is responsible for dressing you?

Stefanie Beninato

Thanks for pointing out Chris Mechels and Ken Renfro's positions in the Liar in Chief's campaign machine. And really misinformation from them and Cassara are so boring.

As for the GOP they call themselves pro life--but only until the person is born--then the GOP becomes the party of death. These 13 senators appear dumber than dirt. I hope their constituents show they're smarter and vote them out. Or maybe they can take chloroquine just like their master and volunteer to work with COVID19 patients

Bill Cass

Sorry to bore you with facts. FWIW, I did not vote for Trump, and won't vote for him in 2020. So your assumptions are wrong.

Orlie Romero

I voted for Grisham and Trump, gotta have variety and argument, without it we have too much of one power.

Diane Gonzales

"...intimidating peope to stay home." Oh, that's rich. We're in a freaking pandemic. What part of that word do those senators not understand? Everything is taking a hit. The only thing directing our moves right now is the virus. Now they need to put their big boy/girl pants on and be responsible instead of writing some outlandish letter to the AG complaining about a governor making decisions to save lives. Stop taking orders from Trump to force openings. It all has to do with his interest so he can get back on the campaign trail sooner even if it means people's lives are at risk.

Orlie Romero

Dianne, look at your words, you say on one hand don’t listen to Trump our president but listen to Governor. In all reality who do you think knows more in all aspects? Yes your obviously scared yourself into hiding, but your weakness does not control society.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Actually, the Guv is only partially responsible for this dictatorship in progress. She is only doing what any egomaniac, power and control hungry political hack would do, if they see an opportunity to exploit a crisis and polarize and divide the people. Trump is the same under the skin, and I understand he is examining his "emergency" powers and you may soon see what he can do, beyond what he has already done. The real problem here is a legislature that creates laws that allow any one executive official to declare an emergency and seize dictatorial powers unheard of in a democracy. I'm sure many did not know this could be done, forever it seems, as it never has before. So a certain kind of politican will seize as much power as possible for themselves alone, no oversight, no checks and balances, and intimidate and threaten anyone who questions it with criminal fines and arrests, powers given her by the legislature. What needs to happen once we have learned the lessons of the broad limits on our civil rights and the Constitution given to one person during an "emergency" of their own designation, is to change these egregious laws so this never happens again. What would the left wing NM types think if Pearce had been elected Guv and he seized this kind of control, which could have happened? They would be the ones crying foul right now, this is all about politics and a ridiculous law passed by incompetent legislators who were not thinking.

Stefanie Beninato

I guess you were not paying attention. Unlike the proposed city ordinance which says the city police will issue a misdemeanor, the governor is trying positive peer pressure--with the state police going after commercial scofflaws only and if that.

Dr. Michael Johnson

This is what the SFNM reported of the Guv's face mask order: "For weeks, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has declined to require that the people of New Mexico wear face masks in public.

She repeatedly has said such an imposition would be impractical and has strongly encouraged state residents to voluntarily cover their faces. But on Wednesday, the governor changed course. Beginning Saturday, everyone must wear a mask in public, she said.

“It’s not optional,” Lujan Grisham said Wednesday.

State police and first responders will enforce the new requirement, which will appear in the next emergency public health order effective this weekend."

Tom Ribe

Dr. of reaction and ignorance.

Dan Three

The Quote “Science” showed us very early on that people under 65 with no underlying health issues were not seriously affected by this virus from Wuhan China. Yet many Governors Murphy NJ, Cuomo NY, Wolf PA, Inslee WA and our Governor Grisham all proved their ignorance of the science and their total incompetence. In fact, Pennsylvania health Secretary Rachel Levine pulled her 95 year old mother out of a nursing home early on after Gov. Wolf forced these homes to take in Covid Patients. Guess she got wind of the “Science” a little earlier than the rest of us. Please look at Florida with a large senior population as an example of a state that actually did follow the science and data. None of these governors and mayors that have made these demands to shut down small businesses has proven that the big box stores were any better at following the health guidelines. In fact the smaller businesses because of their lighter volume and customer counts were probably better equipped to handle these health rules. Santa Fe is already reporting a 100 million dollar revenue short fall, anyone think that’s going to get any smaller? As always the little people were hurt by the economic shut down imposed by people in government that were still collecting their paychecks .Ultimately, as always they will be asked to empty their pockets via higher taxes to pick up the slack.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Well said. In fact, the biggest fail here in NM was how the lessons learned in the early epicenters in February, like Washington state and NY, regarding the massive problems with nursing homes and the like, where old people with underlying conditions were concentrated, and yet NM did little to no testing and targeting of these until it was far too late. Those deaths could have been prevented if the Guv was not focused on destroying the small businesses of NM instead of locking down and massive testing and focus on those homes.

kyle renfro

they need to divide the comments into 2 sections;

1. those who either have a retirement and/or moved from another state, such as california and dont need to actively work to support their family

2. those that need to support their families via work

Barry Rabkin

Our Governor is 100% correct in her actions and in her intent to save lives. The Republicans who sent that letter are 100% wrong.

Connie Lopez

'An April 29 letter sent to Barr by state House Republican Leader Jim Townsend suggested Lujan Grisham is one of “numerous governors” who are making decisions with what he called “almost dictatorial powers by intimidating people to stay at home.”' Now this is funny!! Do you honestly believe William Barr, high-level US Attorney General, cares what a small group of NM state senators think? IF he ever even read this crazy letter, it went straight to the round file, assuredly. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Amy Earle

The Republican Party under Mr inject bleach and take dangerous, unproven drugs Trump has become the anti science party. I’m grateful daily that these people are not in charge of our state’s response to the virus. Minimizing the crisis is the republican’s mantra. I’m not at all surprised they want to stage a protest. How dare the rest of society expect them to have a social conscience and wear a mask in public. Selfish, ignorant, and anxious to please a know nothing reality TV personality POTUS. The governor is protecting public health and she’s done a great job of it. Lives have been saved. I guess these republicans don’t care that almost 92,000 lives have been lost in America to this virus. Why don’t these loudmouths complaining about their precious rights consider having a moment of silence rally instead to honor the loss? Their right to live mattered, as does the rest of our lives. These people’s petty complaints are nothing and they should just shut up and let the governor do her job?

Bill Cass

The democrats are the science deniers. Cuomo wants people inside of cramped subway cars, but won't let them on the beach. MLG told us for weeks not to wear masks, before saying we should all wear masks. The governor or PA has been an abject failure. Look at the numbers, they don't lie.

Raquel Casillas

MLG is the face of reason, sense and sensibility. Thank you Governor for helping to protect our communities during our first pandemic. More to come so let's all get our thinking caps on and for God's sake, work together.

kyle renfro

PURELY POLITICAL MLG, it more important to her that she stands with her other democratic GOVs and the DNC and begs for federal money, which is the socialist way and propagate the current mantra than to realistically get the state back. Of course she has been a govt leech her whole life also

Connie Lopez

Kyle Renfro = MAGA local Chapter Vice-President

Judith Senda

Love the ad hominem, Connie! Keep it up and post more! We need your insight on every comment like this!

Orlie Romero


Connie Lopez

Orlie Romero = MAGA advocate

David Ford

same old tired junk from Kyle too.

Bill Roth

if thats socialism- what do you call the massive government C19 handouts to large corporations? what do you call the handpicked awarding of work on trumps border wall to one of his political cronies? asking for a friend...

Jim Klukkert

Bikll Roth~ Good Point. Corporate Politicians, both Dems & Reps, believe in Partial Socialism, in the form of Socialize the Costs, Privatize the Profits! That's how they keep a comfortable margin on businesses that would be unprofitable otherwise. Use the Environment as a Sewer for Waste Disposal! Low ball Employee

Compensation, if they get sick, they'll keep working. If they get real sick, Let them go to the Emergency Room!


Connie Lopez

You go MLG! Open up a can of Whoop A** on these irresponsible senators! Connie Lopez-Lucero

Bill Cass

Aren't you the same person who wants people to pack into big corporate chains and let small business owners go out of business? I am so confused.

Chris Mechels

The Governor would have you believe that SHE makes her decisions based on science evidence. Yet she told us NOT to wear masks for 2 months, and put occupancy limits on the stores only on 6 April, only AFTER Mayor Webber of Sfe did so. Her decisions seem much more political than scientific, as appropriate for a politician/attorney with little science knowledge.

Her claims to have some special knowledge, though she was late to the tribal areas and nursing homes, while testing areas with few cases. In fact she seems rather arbitrary in her decisions, like insisting that "our" simulations are better, even though they consistently are wrong.

In summary, she seems intent of forcing us to HER direction, even though her record is poor. She's very near to just being laughed at, as a blustering incompetent.

Connie Lopez

Chris Mechels = MAGA local Chapter President

Bill Cass

He is factually correct.

Orlie Romero

Connie your showing political bias rather political correctness. Governor is a good person who I’m sure wants best outcome but at end of day constitution and President have final say, reason he was voted in, don’t be soooresentful, open up and think logically

David Ford

Bring it into the present Chris. Your rantings are well known and basically irrelevant anymore as the rant doesn't change. As I have said before I have no problem with your ilk not wearing masks as long as you only infect each other and thin your own herds and families, not the rest of us who are not babbling "Retrumplican" talking points. I other words give us a break....

Judith Senda

You know, David, at least Chris cited specific instances to make his point. Your own comment suggests to me a serious lack of compassion. What kind of person would wish people and their families to die? Not a kind person, certainly.

Judith Senda

David, at least Chris cited actual examples to support his point. Your reply suggests a serious lack of compassion. What kind of person would express indifference to any group of people and their families dying? Certainly not a kind person.

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