Martina White knew this was coming.
Less than two weeks before the most shocking presidential election in modern history, the Republican lawmaker was sitting at a gym in Northeast Philadelphia, debating Matt Darragh, a Democrat trying to unseat her from the General Assembly.
Then, just as expected, Darragh said the words that have followed White since day one: Donald Trump. He accused her of exploiting the “same sentiments” as Trump and embracing his “direction for the United States.” An activist in the audience saw a connection, too: Standing between two basketball hoops, she waved a sign that read STOP TRUMPMARTINA.
White, a bottle-blond 29-year-old who could pass for a Fox & Friends host, tried to change the subject as quickly as possible, dodging a question from the event’s moderator about whether she’s “in the basket of deplorables.” Then she unleashed the cutting ferocity for which she’s known. She attacked Darragh as selling an “extreme agenda.” She accused him of spreading lies, insisting that she sees eye-to-eye with Trump only on certain issues. “I support our law enforcement protecting our communities,” she said. “I do support getting rid of sanctuary cities.” She even mocked her opponent by touting her labor endorsements: “The fact that Matt does not have the full support of our local unions and he is the Democratic candidate is really shocking, right?”
To this day, White won’t say whether she voted for Trump. But she’ll talk about sanctuary cities till Ivanka’s 2024 campaign comes to fruition.
White is a household name in the city — and Republican elites are eying her as a candidate for statewide office — because she’s leapt into the middle of two big hot-button issues: immigration and police reform. She’s proposed a bill to strip Philadelphia and 18 other counties of $1.3 billion annually because they refuse to cooperate…