Baker: Ask Warren why she hasn’t made an endorsement

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STATE HOUSE — Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated that he is “unlikely” to endorse a candidate in the Republican presidential primary and encouraged reporters to put the same question to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat and an influential voice in liberal politics.

“I’m going to focus on my day job, because this is going to be a long, grinding, torturous process between now and the end of it, and I don’t want to be distracted by it,” Baker said Thursday on his way from an event back into the governor’s office suite when a reporter asked him about Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Earlier in the cycle, Baker had some pointed criticisms of Trump and earlier this month the Republican governor endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary preceded Christie’s exit from the race.

Baker said he was influenced to publicly back Christie because of the results of the Iowa caucuses, where U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, an outspoken conservative from Texas, and Trump, a controversial real estate developer from New York, took first and second place. Trump appears poised to win the Massachusetts Republican primary by a healthy margin.

A column published by Politico floated Baker as a potential Trump running mate, along with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others.

“Several hundred thousand people sent that to me, mostly with smiley faces next to it,” Baker said Thursday. “People know that my interest and my focus is Massachusetts. I’m not interested in Washington. I’ve never expressed an interest in Washington. I’m interested in Massachusetts.”

On Boston Herald Radio on Thursday, Sen. Dan Wolf, a Harwich Democrat, said Trump is “scary” and bases his campaign on “fear and anger and xenophobia.”

“I think when people from the business world get into politics, you really have to sit down and say, ‘OK what’s my role, what’s the difference between running a corporation and serving the public,'” said Wolf, who opted against running for re-election to the Senate this year. “I’m not sure that Donald has had that conversation with himself because he seems to think he’s going to run the United States of America like he runs a corporation. It’s very different.”

Wolf said he thinks of democracy as “the civic expression of our collective will,” and believes that “in Donald’s mind it’s the civic expression of the Trump will.”

“Donald Trump is a scary person,” Wolf said. “I’m a guy all about inclusion. Donald Trump is somebody who is all about exclusion and his campaign is based on fear and anger and xenophobia.”

And though he supports Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Wolf said he will certainly support Hillary Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee and would “do anything to stop the Trump juggernaut.”

Baker, who has maintained he does not know who he will vote for in Tuesday’s Massachusetts primary, also said “it’s unlikely” he would endorse again. Elected Republicans in Massachusetts have generally been split between U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Trump picked up his first endorsement from an elected official in Massachusetts this week when Whitman Rep. Geoff Diehl threw his support behind the poll leader.

The Swampscott Republican also steered inquiring reporters toward Warren, a Cambridge Democrat, who has yet to throw her weight behind either candidate in the Democratic contest.

“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do and I certainly hope you’re going to ask every other elected official in Massachusetts the same question,” Baker said. When told that people value his opinion on the matter, Baker said, “They value U.S. senators’ opinions, too, but nobody seems to be asking them.”

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.

— Written by Andy Metzger and Colin A. Young

Copyright State House News Service