|Baker: Trump's Transfer of Power Answer 'Appalling and Outrageous'|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
01:19PM / Thursday, September 24, 2020
|Gov. Charlie Baker, with Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, strongly condemns the idea that a president would reject the peaceful transfer of power. The governor was reacting to President Trump's insinuations that he may not accept an election loss. |
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday called President Trump's comments on the possibility of peaceful transfer of power in January "appalling and outrageous."
Baker was given a chance at the end of his regular press availability to comment on Trump's Wednesday response to a question about what he would do if he loses the November election.
Baker pulled no punches in reacting to the comments from the commander in chief and leader of Baker's own Republican Party.
"That peaceful transfer of power is what the people of this country rely on when they go to vote," Baker said. "It is appalling and outrageous that anyone would suggest for a minute that if they lose an election, they're not going to leave. Period."
On Wednesday, Trump, who as far back as 2016 refused to commit to the idea of accepting electoral outcomes not in his favor, was asked about the idea of a peaceful transfer of power in January.
"We're going to have to see what happens," Trump said. "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster."
Trump was referencing his oft-stated claim that the expanded mail-in balloting many states have instituted in the COVID-19 pandemic somehow are less legitimate than the traditional ballot box.
Baker minced no words about his feelings on that subject as well.
"I voted mail-in in the [September] primary," Baker said. "It was, what I would describe here in Massachusetts pretty similar to the way mail-in balloting works in most states, which is, it's basically absentee balloting on steroids. Part of the reason we put that that program in place in Massachusetts was because we weren't really sure where COVID was going to be for the primary or the general election, and we wanted to make sure people who were concerned about going to polling places had an option.
"And it worked just fine, the same way it worked across the rest of the country."
Baker went on to point out that in 1860, when the country was on the verge of Civil War, the members of the Electoral College "did their job" and made the votes that allowed Abraham Lincoln to become the 16th president.
On Wednesday, Michael Beschloss, a noted presidential historian and Williams College alumnus, also invoked Lincoln, tweeting out the following: "In a private memorandum, Abraham Lincoln wrote on August 23, 1864 [while the Civil War raged], '… [I]t seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to cooperate with the President-elect, as to save the Union.' "
Lincoln, of course, was re-elected that November, delivered perhaps his greatest oration in his March 4 Second Inaugural Address, and successfully prosecuted the end of the war.
His victory also came with the first instances of absentee voting as Union soldiers cast ballots from wherever they were located.
Baker was asked what he could do as a governor to help ensure that a peaceful transfer of power takes place in Washington, D.C., should Trump's re-election bid fall short.
"One way or another, the people are going to speak in November — up and down the ticket for all those races that are out there," Baker said. "Those of us who serve in public life will do everything we can to make sure that the people's will is followed through and executed on.
"Because that is fundamentally why there is a United States of America in the first place."