Donald Trump was the prime target at the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston Sunday, but Governor Charlie Baker didn’t escape without suffering more than a few jokes about his awkward relationship with the president.
With the federal government in near-constant turmoil, the state, local, and federal pols who prepare speeches designed for a laugh had plenty of material to work with at the breakfast, known for its groan-inducing humor.
Breakfast host Linda Dorcena Forry, a state senator whose district includes South Boston and Dorchester, kicked it off with a jab at Trump. She said she considered inviting him to the breakfast but didn’t. Instead, she said she got a new executive order.
“Good luck on your stupid breakfast,” it said. “Sad!!”
Next Dorcena Forry took a shot at Baker, seated to her left on the stage. She said he must be looking around the room at the many female politicians and wondering what that was all about.
“You must be thinking, huh, so this is what a women’s march looks like, because you’ve never been to one,” she joked, referring to the fact that the Republican governor has been notably absent from anti-Trump protests since the inauguration.
Others piled on, and later the governor even joked about how Trump’s election has put him in an awkward spot.
Baker is not sitting on the fence, joked Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “It’s more like a wall.”
Attorney General Maura Healey made light of the many calls for her to challenge Baker in 2018. Healey said she still isn’t running, then proceeded to distinguish herself from the governor.
“For instance, I actually voted in the presidential election,” Healey said. “I backed Hillary, he was backed into a corner.”
She showed a series of photos of Baker, with Vice President Mike Pence, with people protesting the MBTA that Baker has pledged to fix, and at the January women’s march. Oh … wait ... that was a blank screen labeled “photo unavailable.”
Healey joked that US Representative Stephen Lynch, seated next to Baker, was in Ivanka’s seat, a reference to a recent governors dinner in Washington, D.C., where Baker sat next to the president’s daughter.
Baker took the jabs in stride with a self-deprecating video about the strange situation he has found himself in since the election.
A pre-recorded video showed a pre-Trump Baker chummy with other politicians in the state, but lonely post-election.
“Who can I talk to? Who’s going to talk to me?” Baker griped.
The only one who answered his call? City Councilor Tito Jackson, whose fledgling campaign against Walsh was also the butt of many jokes.
But back to Trump.
In a hit on his fake tan, Dorcena Forry joked that the president should have known not to wear orange on St. Patrick’s Day. D’oh!
US Senator Ed Markey said Saint Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland and they all landed jobs in the White House.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren made light of Trump’s self-consciousness about his small hands. The nuclear football would be better off in the (much larger) hands of New England Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman, she said.
Warren rattled off a list of fake news headlines that included:
“State Department negotiates cease-fire in space saver war” (laughs).
“Trump to rebuild Green Monster and make Yankees pay for it” (lots of laughs).
And “Charlie Baker takes bold stand against Trump” (awkward silence).
Because of the way Trump’s presidency has divided the nation and taken aim at women, immigrants and other marginalized groups, many politicians took a break from laughs to sound messages of inclusivity and welcome.
That went farthest in jokes about Walsh’s invitation earlier this year to invite undocumented immigrants to take sanctuary against federal officials in City Hall.
A video prepared by Walsh’s staff showed that promise taken to the extreme.
Women, scientists, judges, and even the Statue of Liberty herself took refuge from the president’s angry tweets in the mayor’s offices. The video showed Walsh cooking eggs and tucking his guests into sleeping bags on the concrete floors.
Lynch sang a “Beauty and the Beast” song with lyrics about the promise.
“Be our guest, be our guest, grab your suitcase and some toothpaste, City Hall will do the rest,” Lynch sang.
“We even take Sri Lankis who don’t cheer for the Yankees,” he went on. “But if you’re looking for a parking spot go West.”
There were also a few shots at the Legislature’s recent move to raise its own pay.
Healey showed a photo of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, each in his own glittery Mercedes.
“Voting for your own pay raise on a roll call, that takes a lot of courage,” Walsh said.
“Hey, we deserve it, that’s all I’m saying,” Dorcena Forry replied.