Governor Charlie Baker Responds to Critics of Secret Sea Island Trip

'That won’t happen again.'

Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker participates in the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Forum on Mental Health in Boston, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, sponsored by The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. The intent of the forum was to create a dialogue around issues of mental health, focusing on veterans, teen suicide, the social impact of casino and marijuana legalization, and mental health care. Gretchen Ertl/AP Images for Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

Charlie Baker Photo by Gretchen Ertl / AP

Governor Charlie Baker is taking some heat for an unannounced trip he took earlier this month to a secretive gathering of bigwig conservative leaders off the coast of Georgia.

According to the Boston Globe, Baker traveled to Sea Island for a conference set up by the American Enterprise Institute, a powerful, right-leaning think tank. While the governor has tried not to get too involved with this year’s presidential election, the off-the-record meeting allegedly included discussions on how to curb Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party.

During Baker’s trip on the weekend of March 4, the Globe noted that power was temporarily shifted to lieutenant governor Karyn Polito, even though the public had no knowledge of the transfer. Also, taxpayers usually end up footing the bill for security related to the governor’s out-of-state travel. However, the Secretary of State’s office informed the Globe that no official rules were broken.

Baker responded to critics of his secret trip on Thursday, telling Boston Public Radio that he’s travelled outside of Massachusetts without telling people a “number of times” because “we didn’t think we were supposed.” The governor brought up trips to New York to watch his son play football as an example.

“That won’t happen again,” he said. “From now on if I leave Massachusetts, we’ll tell everybody.”

Baker, who spoke on a panel at the conference, revealed that the forum was attended by over 350 people. According to an agenda obtained by The Huffington Post, the conference included appearances by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican strategist Karl Rove.

Although discussions reportedly surrounded the topic of how to deal with Trump, Baker told Boston Public Radio that he had no part in those talks.

“If there were conversations going on about Donald Trump, I wasn’t in them,” Baker said.