Baker Skips VP Pence’s Boston Visit, Dem Guv Candidate Calls Him Out

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Governor Charlie Baker was nowhere to be found when Vice President Mike Pence visited Boston on Tuesday evening for a fund-raising gala, and now one of his Democratic challengers is criticizing the Swampscott Republican for missing out on an opportunity to “talk some sense” into President Donald Trump’s second-in-command.

Ahead of Pence’s arrival in the Hub, Somerville Democrat Bob Massie released a statement haranguing Baker, who has said he had already committed to attending a chamber of commerce event in New Bedford at the same time as the swanky $500,000 Trump team fund raiser at the Langham Hotel.

“Our Republican governor should seize every opportunity he gets to try to talk some sense into Vice President Pence about the Trump agenda, and at the very least advise him of the grave consequences of any obstruction of justice in the investigation headed by Robert Mueller,” Massie said in his statement, obtained by State House News Service. “Instead, Governor Baker is avoiding Vice President Pence while continuing to use his position given to him by the people of Massachusetts to raise funds for the RNC, which used a large percentage of the money to help elect Republicans who support the Trump agenda.” 

Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito is likewise skipping the Langham Hotel event and has said she “wasn’t asked to attend.”

Baker on Tuesday morning told reporters he’s “not worried” about any political repercussions.

Massie is one of three Democrats angling for the party’s nod to challenge Baker in November. The others include Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Jay Gonzalez, who served as finance secretary under former Governor Deval Patrick.

Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Kirsten Hughes did greet Pence at Logan Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

During the 2016 presidential election’s primary season, Baker walked a fine line in terms of candidate endorsements but made it clear he was no supporter of Trump’s campaign. Baker instead endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, only to watch Christie days later drop out of the race and publicly back Trump’s surging campaign.

Since then, Baker has taken steps to distance himself from Trump, beginning most notably with his decision to skip the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Mary Lou Daxland, who heads the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, a conservative-leaning wing of the state party, told the Boston Herald that Baker’s absence from Pence’s visit is “insulting.”

GOP state committee member Steve Aylward of Watertown told the newspaper he thinks Baker’s absence is “horrible” and called Pence a “good man, good Republican.”

Baker has continued to maintain high approval ratings from Massachusetts voters.