An angry Governor Charlie Baker slammed Donald Trump’s call to temporarily stop Muslim people from coming into the United States.
“I think that’s ridiculous and I would never support a policy like that,” Baker said speaking to reporters at the State House Monday evening. “I have no idea what the motivation is on that. First of all, it’s unrealistic. Secondly, it’s inappropriate. And third, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Baker asked a reporter to see a printout of Trump’s press release. The governor grew visibly perturbed after he read it, whacking the paper with his hand.
Baker had just finished participating in an event celebrating Chanukah, the Jewish holiday, and used the festival and Revolutionary-era history as a prism through which to see Trump’s push.
“I just sat here and celebrated the miracle of Chanukah, which is about religious freedom. And the fight of the people of Jerusalem to ward off a bully who was trying to take away their right to peacefully practice their faith,” he said.
“I’m standing in a State House that’s less than a mile from the Warren Tavern, which is where the patriots of this nation began their initial conversations about how to secure their freedom out from under the British crown,” the governor continued. “And I’m standing in the State House, which is probably the most significant symbol in this city of the original fight for freedom, which goes all the way back to why people came here in the first place, which was to have a chance to practice their faith and their religion.”
Baker, a moderate Republican in a heavily Democratic state, paused.
“And I can’t believe that I’m reading this, which is basically directly in contrast and in conflict with most of the most important values that people in this country hold most dear,” he said. “Among them, the right and the ability to practice your religion peacefully.”
The governor paused again and then said: “Yeah, I think this is a really bad idea.”
Baker has made a consistent effort to avoid talking about GOP presidential politics. But the statement by Trump seemed to pull Baker away from his standard nonresponse to questions about the tumultuous presidential race.