The Republican Party of New Mexico has apologized to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after a volunteer posted a meme on the party’s Facebook page Tuesday night that used a vulgarity to describe the first-term Democrat.
“We had given temporary editing privileges to a volunteer for a specific event,” the party wrote on its Facebook page after removing the meme. “Unfortunately, this person inadvertently posted something to RPNM’s page. Their privileges have been revoked permanently. In no way would RPNM post something so inappropriate. We want to apologize to the Governor and anyone else who is offended by this.”
The governor’s spokesman, Tripp Stelnicki, said he appreciated an apology from the Republican Party on its official Facebook account.
“I have no doubt they wish it hadn’t been posted from there,” Stelnicki said via text Wednesday. “I wonder whether they agree with the unbecoming sentiment and I would hope they do not, but that’s for them to answer.”
A spokeswoman for the Republican Party said the statement posted on Facebook was the party’s official position and declined further comment.
The meme, which was posted just after 7 p.m., depicts a “Now Leaving” New Mexico roadside sign.
“Leaving so soon?” it reads.
“Was it something we taxed?
Governor an [expletive]?”
The volunteer who posted the meme, Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo, a Santa Fe native who lives in Corrales, also apologized. She wrote on a Facebook thread that she didn’t realize she had posted the meme on the Republican Party’s page nor did she know she had been given administrative privileges.
“I live streamed the Pro Life Rally yesterday and never used this page because I didn’t understand how it was set up,” she wrote. “I manage other conservative sites and posted a meme by accident on this page.”
In an interview Wednesday, Mendonca-Trujillo said she manages more than 20 Facebook pages and inadvertently posted the meme on the party’s page thinking it was one of her own accounts.
“They all have Republican elephants as their icons,” she said. “It’s just a really big misunderstanding.”
Mendonca-Trujillo said she didn’t have to apologize but did because she “felt bad” about her mistake.
“I totally agree with the meme,” she said, adding Lujan Grisham meets the definition of the expletive — “and more.”
“When she got voted in as governor, she’s supposed to represent everybody, not just a designated group,” she said.
Mendonca-Trujillo also said she didn’t understand the uproar over the meme when a recent tweet in which the governor called New Mexico sheriffs “rogue” and “childish” had generated little attention. As she continued to try to build support for gun control laws, Lujan Grisham tweeted Feb. 26 that she was “not daunted by obstacles, whether it’s NRA propaganda, rogue sheriffs throwing a childish pity party or bad-faith critics.”
“It’s OK for them to dish it, but then something like this comes out and it’s blown out of proportion, especially when it’s a mistake as far as where it was posted,” said Mendonca-Trujillo, who was involved in the campaign to defeat a proposed sugar tax in Santa Fe, as well as a group that led a disastrous effort to try to recruit candidates to run for City Council. The group had difficulty recruiting candidates and then faded away after two of its members shared racist memes online.
On the Republican Party’s Facebook page, many people defended Mendonca-Trujillo, saying there was no reason to apologize.
“Why should I care if I offend the DemocRat governor,” Danny Moralez wrote. “She’s the one that should be apologizing to the state of new Mexico [sic] for her inept actions!!”
Zia Roulston asked why Mendonca-Trujillo — who spells her last name Trujhero on Facebook — would apologize to the governor, who she called a “baby killer looney bin.”
“She has lied, she has schemed, she has spent money like crazy, she is challenging our rights, she is EVIL!” Roulston wrote.
Others were critical of the Republican Party.
“Did this site just go PC crazy?” asked Seth Birde, referring to political correctness. “Facts are facts! The governor needs to be impeached.”
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.