DeLeo says Trump win shows ‘disgust’ with government

Printed from:

BOSTON – Donald Trump’s decisive Republican primary victory shows Bay State voters are “disgusted with government,” according to Speaker Robert DeLeo, the House of Representatives leader who said Friday it’s unclear whether that distaste for Washington will trickle down to the state level.

The New York billionaire won Tuesday’s primary with 49 percent of the vote, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich taking second with 18 percent. During an appearance on Boston Herald Radio, DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, credited Trump’s win to his status as a political “outsider.”

“People are disgusted with government and he really is the poster child for those people who are disgusted with government,” DeLeo said about Trump. “Now is he really saying anything in terms of foreign policy or domestic policy and say, you know what, that’s a great idea? No, no he’s not, but he’s just speaking in plain English and he’s speaking in terms of ‘I’m going to be the guy that’s gonna clean this mess up in Washington.'”

DeLeo said that one of the first things he looked for in the election results was how his constituents voted.

In his hometown, Trump and Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont who has also styled himself as an outsider candidate in the Democratic race, came out on top in their respective races.

“You saw that and you say, you know, it’s got to give you pause,” he said. “That anger, is it starting to come down to the state level as well? I don’t know, I don’t know. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised.”

Asked if the victories of non-establishment candidates gave him pause, DeLeo said, “I think about that.”

“Obviously it’s a lot different for a local representative,” said DeLeo, who is in his eighth year as speaker. “Some of those people maybe think I’m too liberal, some may think I’m too conservative or whatnot, the people on both sides, but they still might like me because of my support for you know school sports or whatever it may be.”

With 49 percent of the vote, Sanders lost the statewide race to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who captured 50 percent. DeLeo told the Boston Globe in January that he supports Clinton and felt “much more comfortable with her campaign than Bernie’s” in this week’s Super Tuesday primaries and beyond.

On Friday, the speaker said he is “proud to say” that the political system in Massachusetts has avoided the partisan bickering and gridlock that leads voters to become frustrated with Washington.

“I am very proud of the fact that both in the House, obviously as speaker, I’ve had a great relationship with the Republican members and also I’ve got to say working with Gov. (Charlie) Baker, he and I have gotten along very well.”

While DeLeo has gotten along with GOP House members, Republicans have on occasion blasted Democrats for their routine use of so-called “inoculator” amendments to prevent floor votes on Republican policy proposals.

Baker, speaking on Thursday, said he counts himself among those who lament the state of the federal government.

“I’m as frustrated and as disappointed with Washington as anybody and I think the fact that we’ve managed to chart a different course here in terms of both our political dialogue, our behavior and our ability to work together is a testament to the public leadership we that have here in the commonwealth and it stands in many ways in stark contrast to what’s going on in D.C.,” Baker told State House reporters.

Massachusetts Republicans are coming off competitive elections for seats on the party’s governing state committee and contemplating ways to foster more competition for legislative seats on Beacon Hill, where Democrats have long dominated with large majorities in both the House and Senate.

Written by Katie Lannan