Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that he would not accept a position in Donald Trump’s administration if offered one, but was not worried that his lack of support for the president-elect would hurt Massachusetts politically.
In a radio interview on WGBH, the Republican governor said he reached out to Trump before Thanksgiving to congratulate him on his victory. The two had a cordial five-minute call, he told Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.
“It was fine,” he said. “It was polite and it was cordial, and that was kind of that.”
Baker said the call was social in nature but that he offered the state’s assistance “if appropriate.”
Asked by a caller what he would have said if Trump had offered him a job, Baker said:
“I would have said I was flattered but I really like the job I have. I’m incredibly grateful that the voters of Massachusetts on my second try gave it to me, and I plan to continue to do it to the best of my ability.”
After months of edging away from Trump, Baker declared in March that he would not vote for him. Baker said he did not cast a vote for president, but does not expect Trump to hold that against Massachusetts, traditionally a Democratic stronghold.
“He did not cast any aspersions on Massachusetts,” Baker said. “Nor on me.”
Braude asked Baker why he thought Trump might be different from Richard Nixon, the president who shut down the Charlestown Navy Yard after the 1972 election. Massachusetts was the only state not to vote for Nixon.
“Everybody’s worried about all kinds of things,” Baker said. “We should remember it’s a big, complicated federal government.
Baker said he did not think Trump’s election would threaten $1 billion in federal funding the state is seeking for the Green Line extension project in Somerville, or reverse a $52 billion, five-year deal on Medicaid funding the Baker administration recently negotiated with federal officials.
Two weeks ago, Baker sat next to vice president-elect and Indiana Governor Mike Pence in Orlando at a meeting of Republican governors. Baker said they talked about infrastructure, not the Medicaid waiver. “I’ve known Mike Pence for a long time; he treated me fine,” Baker said.
Baker’s comments come as Mitt Romney, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, is reportedly under consideration to be secretary of state, despite his sharp public criticism of Trump.
Romney, governor from 2003 to 2007, was the Republican nominee for president in 2012.
Romney lambasted Trump during the campaign, calling him “a phony, a fraud” in a speech in March.
Over the weekend, Trump’s transition team appeared to distance themselves from Romney when Trump’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, attacked him on national television. But on Monday, Politico reported that Trump will have dinner Tuesday with Romney.Material from the State House News Service was used in this report. Laura Krantz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.