Is It Still Too Early to Judge Donald Trump, Charlie Baker?
Upon his return to Massachusetts after cozying up to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence at the Republican Governors Association in Orlando, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters that folks have been a tad too quick to judge Donald Trump.
“There is way too much pre-judging going on here,” Baker said. “And I think it’s important for all of us to take a page from what the president had to say the other day, which is, let’s see what happens here. Let’s judge people on the totality of their work and what they say and how they pursue what they’re up to.”
These remarks from Baker—who not only blanked his ballot on Election Day, but felt as recently as last month that the former Wrestlemania 23 guest star lacked the “temperament” to president—came on Wednesday.
That’s three days after Trump, in an interview with 60 Minutes, not only refused to close the door on his campaign promise of appointing a special prosecutor with hopes of jailing his political opponent, Hillary Clinton, but called for the mass deportation of up to 3 million people and dismantling of Roe v. Wade.
That’s two days after Trump named Steve Bannon, his campaign director and architect of the racist, misogynist, anti-LGBTQ, antisemitic site Breitbart News, to a senior adviser and strategist role in the White House, tantamount to chief of staff.
That’s one day after NBC News reported that Trump wants top-secret security clearance for his son-in-law, New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner—an unprecedented degree of access for someone who isn’t even a member of White House staff.
That’s the same day Trump surrogate and former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie said the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II would justify a registry of Muslims Americans, and “if that means having people that are not protected under our Constitution have some sort of registry so we can understand, until we can identify the true threat and where it’s coming from, I support it.”
But let’s grant Baker’s proposition and reset the clock. When, pray tell, would dismissible pre-judging become cause for legitimate concern in the Swampscott Republican’s eyes?
How about when the president-elect said he saved a Ford assembly plant from leaving Kentucky for Mexico, like he did Thursday night, and his de facto Pravda of fake news sites boisterously echoed this outright lie?
Or when he tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions—whose former colleagues, in sworn testimony, say he made racist remarks and called the NAACP and ACLU “un-American”—for Attorney General, the country’s most powerful law enforcement officer? How about his selection of retired Lt. General Mike Flynn, who retweeted a message that read, “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore,” and sits on the board of what the Southern Poverty Law Center considers the largest anti-Muslim group in America?
Baker still has to govern, sure. But in times like these, we aren’t afforded the luxury of pragmatism, of the same political calculation that let Baker emerge from the flaming wreck of Boston 2024 and this year’s scandal at the DCR with approval numbers virtually unscathed. If the Bay State is to lead, let it produce a Republican with the courage to stand up to Trump.
Perhaps the question isn’t when these daily embarrassments will amount to something more than, in Baker’s own parlance, nothingburgers. It’s when the kakistocratic grease fire of a Trump administration starts sticking to the Guv’s signature teflon shell—and whether or not he can scrub it clean by 2018.