BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who did not endorse or vote for Donald Trump, urged the president-elect’s critics on Wednesday not to prejudge the incoming administration or key appointees to federal posts.
Returning from the Republican Governor’s Association meeting in Orlando, Baker said he was encouraged by the tone of a private meeting the group had Tuesday night with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana.
Pence agreed that states would have a “significant voice” in shaping domestic policy in the new administration, Baker said.
Among the first prominent elected Republicans in the U.S. to publicly declare he would not back his party’s presidential nominee, Baker repeatedly said during the campaign that Trump lacked the proper temperament for the White House. Since last Tuesday’s election in which the first-term governor said he blanked the presidential race, Baker has struck a more conciliatory tone toward Trump and has dismissed speculation that his lack of support could invite retribution from the new administration.
Amid reports of discord within Trump’s transition team, the governor pointed to President Barack Obama’s suggestion Monday that Americans give the president-elect time to rise up to the job.
“There’s way too much prejudging going on here,” Baker told reporters. “I think it’s very important to take a page from what the president said the other day and let’s see what happens here. Let’s judge people on the totality of their work, on what they say and how they pursue what they’re up to.”
One potential flash point between the Trump administration and Massachusetts could come over immigration.
Trump vowed during the campaign to halt “sanctuary cities” and withhold federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with deportation efforts by U.S. authorities.
Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson told the Boston Herald this week that he planned a push to declare Boston a sanctuary city and not cooperate with any mass deportations. Mayor Marty Walsh has been supportive of helping immigrants without documentation find pathways to citizenship.
Several other Massachusetts communities, including Somerville, Cambridge and Amherst, also consider themselves sanctuary cities. On Wednesday, Baker reiterated his position that municipalities are well within their rights to make such determinations.
“I’ve said many times that the way local communities choose to ensure harmony and public safety in their own communities should be up to them,” he said, adding that he would join with the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation in fighting any future cuts in federal funding to cities and towns.