scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Will Governor Raimondo speak again? Her office has no comment

Neither the governor nor Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh have taken questions from the media since they were nominated to President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo delivers remarks after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced her as his Commerce Secretary nominee at The Queen theater on January 08, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden announced he is nominating Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as his commerce secretary, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh his labor secretary and Isabel Guzman, a former Obama administration official, as head of the Small Business Administration.Chip Somodevilla/Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/G

PROVIDENCE – Have Rhode Islanders heard the last from Governor Gina Raimondo?

Aides to Raimondo aren’t saying whether the governor intends to speak publicly between now and the time she is confirmed as President-elect Joe Biden’s commerce secretary, but they have made it clear that she will no longer appear the state’s weekly press conference on COVID-19, which airs across every local television station and on several radio stations.

Instead, Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott will lead the COVID-19 press conferences, and Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee’s staff is handling questions related to the transition from Raimondo to McKee.


“During this time of transition, Dr. Alexander-Scott and her team at the Department of Health will continue to hold press briefings multiple times each week on our state’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout,” Raimondo spokeswoman Audrey Lucas said. “Lieutenant Governor McKee will continue providing updates on the transition, as he did yesterday. Governor Raimondo is focused on ensuring a smooth transition and continuing to manage the public health response.”

Lucas declined to say when or if Raimondo will speak in public again as governor.

Raimondo did speak at Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference, offering brief comments about joining the Biden administration before addressing testing and schools, but she declined to take questions from members of the media.

It’s unclear whether Biden’s transition team has ordered all cabinet nominees to stop speaking publicly, but Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who Biden has tapped to be labor secretary, declined to answer questions at a pandemic-related press conference on Thursday. A spokesperson for the mayor said in an email Friday that they are working with Biden’s transition team to determine how Walsh’s nomination changes his availability to the press.

Walsh, after going over the city’s COVID-19 case numbers and the need for continued pandemic-related vigilance, said he would not be taking questions before turning the podium over to Boston’s schools superintendent, Brenda Cassellius, and the city’s health and human services chief, Marty Martinez.


It is not uncommon for presidential transition teams to ask soon-to-be cabinet members to avoid making public statements before they are confirmed, but Raimondo and Walsh are among the most prominent elected officials in the region and had front-facing roles throughout the pandemic.

Raimondo said Wednesday’s press conference marked the 125th time since the beginning of the pandemic that she held a press conference. It was the first time she declined to take questions.

Raimondo’s decision to not take questions on Wednesday drew a harsh rebuke from Rhode Island Press Association James Bessette, who noted that Raimondo hadn’t held a press conference since before Christmas.

“It’s one thing to say ‘no comment’ about her new role in Washington,” Bessette said. “But ‘no comment’ does not apply to COVID-19, and the governor unfortunately chose that route with the press.”

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan. Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.