Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker went out on a political limb Monday, blasting President Donald Trump's handling of the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
Trump on Monday derided many governors as “weak” and demanded tougher crackdowns on burning and stealing among some demonstrations in the aftermath of violent protests in dozens of American cities.
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"I heard what the president said today about 'dominating' and 'fighting,'" Baker said at the end of his remarks about Sunday's looting and vandalism in Boston. "I know I should be surprised when I hear incendiary words like this from him, but I'm not."
The days of protests were triggered by the death of Floyd, a black man who died when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. The demonstrations turned violent in Boston and several other cities, with looting and mayhem, and fires ignited in historic park Lafayette Park across from the White House.
"At so many times during these past several weeks, when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found. Instead, we got bitterness, combativeness and self-interest," Baker said. "That's not what we need in Boston, it's not what we need right now in Massachusetts, and it's definitely not what we need across this great country of ours either."
Despite the fact that they are both Republicans, Baker has been critical of the president in the past. But his comments Monday might be his most harsh criticism yet.
Baker described Floyd's death as "a horrible tragedy," while also criticizing those who looted and vandalized and threw rocks and bricks at police officers on Sunday night in Boston.
Thousands had gathered in the city for two protests over Floyd's death. But as the sun went down and the crowds began to disperse, some protesters threw rocks, bricks and glass bottles at officers. The National Guard was ultimately called in to help disperse the crowd.
"Destruction of property, looting and criminal attempts to injure law enforcement are unacceptable," Baker said.
"How we move forward is up to us," he added. "There are no easy answers, but there is opportunity -- opportunity to make progress and improve."
"The public rightly expects public officials to be humble enough to admit their flaws and open enough to seek and find better answers. It's up to those of us who serve to understand that and make it happen."