Gov. Charlie Baker typically shies away from weighing in on controversies involving President Donald Trump.
On Monday, he didn’t.
“I heard what the president had to say today about dominating and fighting,” Baker mentioned, unprompted, throughout his each day COVID-19 press briefing, referring to a convention name earlier within the day throughout which Trump urged governors to make use of pressure in opposition to the latest wave of protests — together with in Boston — within the wake of George Floyd’s demise.
“I know I should be surprised when I hear incendiary words like this from him — but I’m not,” Baker mentioned throughout his opening remarks Monday afternoon.
“At so many times during these past several weeks when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found,” he continued. “Instead, we got bitterness, combativeness, and self interest. That’s not what we need in Boston. That’s not what we need right now in Massachusetts. And it’s definitely not what we need across this great country of ours either.”
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Baker, a Swampscott Republican, mentioned he missed the weekly coronavirus response convention name between the White House and the nation’s governors for the “first time” for the reason that starting of the outbreak — “mostly” as a result of he was busy engaged on the phased plan to reopen the Massachusetts economic system.
Trump’s name Monday got here simply hours after a big, peaceable protest in opposition to police brutality in downtown Boston on Sunday broke into looting and clashes with legislation enforcement, as comparable scenes performed out throughout the nation. Multiple shops reported that Trump took the chance to berate governors for not cracking down extra forcefully and urged utilizing army pressure in response to unruly demonstrators.
“Someone throwing a rock is like shooting a gun,” Trump advised the governors, in keeping with audio obtained by The New York Times. “You have to do retribution.”
Baker mentioned Monday that the president ought to as a substitute be selling empathy. Whether it’s addressing a pandemic or points round race, the governor added that “we are all in this one together.”
“If one community really does feel — based on incidents and events time and time again — that they are being hindered from actually being able to get somewhere, that affects their sense of their stake in what’s going on here,” he mentioned. “And I think that America is at its greatest and at its best, when its leaders promote the notion that he all have a stake in everybody else’s success, because frankly we do.”
Since taking workplace 5 years in the past, Baker has been selective in his most direct criticism of Trump and largely avoids nationwide partisan disputes. During the briefing Monday, he was additionally requested if he regretted not talking out in opposition to his fellow Republican’s latest incendiary social media feedback concerning the protests.
“I think my comments today speak for themselves, and I’ve spoken out more than once — and probably more than many of my colleagues,” he mentioned.
Before the protests throughout the nation escalated over the weekend, Baker mentioned he was “outraged” by Floyd’s demise by the hands of Minneapolis police final week and mentioned he understood why protesters in Minnesota set hearth to native buildings in anger.
“We hope people protest peacefully, but honestly, it’s — a moment like that and an event like that, I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t want to get out on the streets and make a point about it,” he mentioned final Friday.
After a day of protests Sunday in Boston, the governor recommended the “vast majority” of people that peacefully demonstrated, however blasted the “the individuals whose violent actions, looting and property destruction was criminal and cowardly — and distracted from the powerful statement made today by thousands of Massachusetts residents.”
Baker reiterated that sentiment throughout his opening remarks Monday. While he mentioned the “criminals and cowards” who “tarnished that night’s peaceful protest” would see their day in courtroom, Baker condemned all “shapes and sizes” of injustice, from each day offenses to the nation’s historical past of “discriminatory federal housing policy.”
“They’re all unacceptable,” he mentioned. “Every instance of discrimination. Every attempt to use race as a tool. Every offhand slant among community members or in a workplace. But injustice experienced at the hands of a public institution that’s supposed to be rooting this out, that can often be the most despicable act of all.”
Baker mentioned the cumulative impact of experiencing such injustices can rob folks of their hope, destroy their sense of security, and over time incite anger.
“Fear, anger, and hopelessness experienced alone is a dead end,” Baker mentioned. “But there are avenues that do lead to progress. Last night, I saw tens of thousands of people unite to continue the work to build a way forward for everyone who feels trapped in that dead end. By an order of magnitude, we can add up the number of people who want to build on progress and do well for one another [and] dwarfs those who want to do the opposite.”