After Donald Trump told a conference call full of local mayors and governors from across the country that they were “weak,” “fools,” and “jerks” if they didn’t respond to the violence and destruction that has been the collateral damage of the outpouring of anger and grief following the police murder of George Floyd with repressive strongarm tactics of domination, it wasn’t surprising to see Democratic governors like J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan to condemn the president for his wrong-headed authoritarian solutions to the legitimate grievances of the demonstrators.
It was, however, fairly astonishing to witness the Republican president being strongly condemned for his stance by one of the nation’s top GOP governors.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) didn’t restrain himself in the least in when he spoke with The Boston Globe after listening to the president push a right-wing-baiting law and order agenda that would have made Richard Nixon proud.
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“I heard what the president said today about dominating and fighting,” Baker told The Globe. “I know I should be surprised when I hear incendiary words like this from him, but I’m not. At so many times during these last several weeks, when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it simply was nowhere to be found. Instead, we got bitterness, combativeness, and self-interest. That’s not what we need in Boston, it’s not what we need right now in Massachusetts,” he said, appearing to choke up, “and it’s definitely not what we need across this great country of ours either.”
Unlike the president — whose inability to express empathy for other human beings has been linked to his malignant narcissism personality disorder —Governor Baker reacted to the blatant murder of an unarmed black man by four Minneapolis police officers with the compassion that one would expect from any decent human being, calling Floyd’s death a “horrible tragedy.”
“The injustices that Black Americans experience every day and their devastating cumulative effect don’t care about state boundaries,” Baker said. “We all have an obligation to see and address these issues.”
The governor’s words of understanding of the righteousness of the protestors’ grievances do not mean that the few people who instigated the violence and looting during the protests will have free reign in his commonwealth.
“To the criminals and cowards that tarnished that night’s peaceful protest, I expect your day in court will come soon,” he said.
Asked by a reporter if he regrets not having spoken up about Trump’s shameful comments and tweets earlier, Baker defended his record in letting his views be known when he disagrees with the president.
“I think my comments today kind of speak for themselves,” Baker explained. “I’ve spoken out more than once, and probably more than many of my colleagues.”
America’s Republican governors have been mostly supportive of Trump and his political patronage, but they certainly have a better track record than the obsequious GOP Senators who have tripped over themselves to protect and serve the president no matter how outrageous and heinous his statements may be.
Let’s hope that more members of the Republican party can overcome their reluctance to criticize Trump when he says or does something so outlandishly beyond the pale. Otherwise, they will find themselves consigned to the dustbin of history where the president and his criminal cabal are soon likely to find themselves.
Original reporting by Jaclyn Reiss at The Boston Globe.
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