Governor Charlie Baker has made a practice of cautiously answering questions about the rise of Donald J. Trump, as part of his strategy to avoid getting drawn into the caustic arena of national Republican politics.
But in a radio appearance on Thursday, the Republican governor went beyond his usual bland assessments of the bombastic businessman and sharply denounced Trump, the front-runner for his party’s presidential nomination.
Appearing on WGBH-FM, the Boston public radio station that hosts a monthly “Ask the Governor” segment, Baker was asked, as a husband and as the father of a teenage daughter, how he would respond to Trump’s crude remarks about women.
“I find a lot of those comments to be reprehensible, outrageous, and ridiculous, and I wish he would take them back,” Baker said.
A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to messages seeking comment.
The co-host of the radio show, Jim Braude, was apparently referring to comments that Trump has made over the years in which he has described women as “fat pigs,” “dogs,” and “slobs.”
The comments have been in the national spotlight since last week, when Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Trump about them in a GOP debate.
After the debate, Trump stirred further controversy by saying that Kelly looked so angry at the debate that “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Many viewed that as a reference to menstruation, which Trump has denied.
Baker, for his part, has tried to ignore the spiraling Trump phenomenon and stay focused on the moderate nuts-and-bolts agenda he is pursuing in Massachusetts.
Last month, for example, Baker demurred when asked if Trump is welcome to do business in the state after he called Mexican immigrants rapists.
“It depends,” Baker said. “I think there’s a certain level of decorum that should be expected of public officials and also of public people who lead big organizations.”
At the same time, he said, “I’m not one of those people who thinks one mistake, one mis-phrase, and you’re out.”