Gov. Baker apologizes to Congresswoman Pressley for calling MLK speech a ‘rant’

BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charles D. Baker apologized to Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley after referring to her speech at the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast as a “rant.”

At Boston’s annual breakfast honoring Martin Luther King, Pressley said the civil rights movement is not over and said institutionalized white supremacy is destroying the country.

RELATED: Pressley blasts white supremacy at Boston MLK breakfast

Pressley, the first black woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts, said people need to fight racism in their government.

“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 codified through legislation,” Pressley said. “One of the things that bothers me about when we talk about the civil rights movement is when we bookend it as if we’re not still in it.

“The same is true when we talk of abolition. I’m still an abolitionist because my people still are not free,” Pressley said.

Baker spoke immediately after Pressley and jokingly commented on having to follow “that rant.”

Baker quickly stated that he agreed with Pressley’s points saying in part, “That point that the Congresswoman just made about the fact that every life is individual and every life should be celebrated and that there’s an identity associated with every life and that that identity needs to be a part of the conversation that we have as we make policy and we make decisions- that is absolutely so spot on.”

Attorney General Maura Healey and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins both criticized the governor’s word choice on Twitter:

A spokesperson for Baker said that he agreed with Representative Pressley’s message and apologized to her in a conversation after the event.

Other elected leaders attending Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day event included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)