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Charlie Baker Apologizes for Calling Ayanna Pressley Speech a ‘Rant’

January 22, 2020

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker offered an apology after calling a speech by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester) a “rant” at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event on Monday.

Baker and Pressley both participated in the 50th annual breakfast that took place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston. Speaking to a crowd of more than 1,000 people, Pressley, who is African-American, said she would continue to fight for civil rights

“I’m still an abolitionist because my people still are not free,” Pressley said, according to WBUR. “And I mean that in every way, not only because of the new Jim Crow and mass incarceration but because we don’t have economic justice.”

Pressley also praised identity politics.

“I am so tired of people saying that what is ruining this country is identity politics. No it isn’t. It is hate and white supremacy that is codified through legislation,” Pressley said.

Following Pressley’s speech, Baker joked about his position on the panel next to Pressley and referred to her talk as “that rant.”

Baker went on to speak about how he thinks diversity should be celebrated. He praised Pressley’s remarks about the importance of identity in politics, calling her point “absolutely so spot on.”

However, Baker’s spokesman Lizzy Guyton said that Baker apologized to Pressley after the breakfast. She also issued a statement on Baker’s word choice later in the day.

“The governor agreed with Congresswoman Pressley’s remarks today and believes her speech was moving,” Guyton said, according to The Hill.

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