Gov. Baker: People Didn’t Hire Me to Talk Presidential Politics
BOSTON — His home-state U.S. senator is among the leading candidates for the nation's highest office, trying to bring the presidency's power and prestige to Massachusetts and running on a platform that would steer the country in a totally new direction.
His mentor, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, is hanging in there with his longshot bid to upset the powerful and controversial Oval Office occupant.
And President Donald Trump, who leads the party that Gov. Charlie Baker also represents, is battling to win a second term, facing a tide of subpoenas and investigations, furious opposition in blue states like Massachusetts and headwinds in blue states like Massachusetts and swing states where voters gave Trump the edge he needed over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The president exercises immense powers over economic policy, climate change, civil rights, health care, the environment and foreign affairs.
Still, Gov. Charlie Baker would rather talk about storm recovery, or almost anything else, to keep away from the topic that's the talk of the nation.
Why? It's not because the presidency is not important. It's because Baker just doesn't want to answer a steady stream of questions about the race.
Appearing as a guest on Greg Hill's morning radio program on WEEI, Baker early Thursday morning took a call from Nick from Scituate who asked the governor, on the heels of this week's Democratic presidential debate in Ohio, "why you think Elizabeth Warren would be a bad president."
Seemed like a softball, and while many Republicans would have used that as an opening to compare and contrast ideologies, Baker chose a neutral route.
"I've been very particular and specific ... about staying out of presidential politics and I continue to plan to stay there because the one thing I do know is the minute I get into talking about presidential politics that's all anybody's going to want to talk to me about every single day and I would much rather talk about issues that I was hired by the people of Massachusetts to work on," Baker said.
Baker then said he would like to know whether Nick's power was out or if he had issues with downed trees or heavy winds during the overnight storm.
"Plymouth County was one of the parts of Massachusetts that got whacked pretty good," Baker said, before Hill switched the topic to storm recovery without another word from Nick from Scituate.
In the last presidential race, Baker in February 2016 endorsed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie days before the New Hampshire primary, in which Christie finished sixth and soon after dropped out of the race. Baker then blanked the presidential field on his general election ballot, he said. Christie went on to help Trump get elected.
While serving as governor, Baker has frequently criticized Trump, and said before the 2016 election that Trump didn't have "the temperament or seriousness of purpose to be president of the United States."
The governor last month declined to comment on whether he was comfortable with the idea of a second term for Trump, while simultaneously acknowledging that "presidential politics are going to be really important to the people of Massachusetts and the people of the country."