BOSTON (AP) — That chilly wind descending on Beacon Hill isn’t just a sign of the approaching winter.
For the past eight years, Massachusetts enjoyed a special rapport with the White House, fueled by the friendship between former Gov. Deval Patrick and fellow Democrat President Barack Obama.
Those days are fading fast.
Many political leaders in Massachusetts were among President-elect Donald Trump’s fiercest critics during the campaign. Even fellow Republican, Gov. Charlie Baker, rejected Trump.
Now those politicians are wrestling with how to move past the election and protect the state’s relationship with the federal government come January.
At the top of that list is Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren who savaged Trump during the campaign as “a small, insecure moneygrubber.” Trump hurled his own insults, labeling Warren “Pocahontas,” a reference to her claim of Native American ancestry.
During a speech to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in Washington on Thursday, Warren sounded torn — not ready to give Trump a pass, while also offering an olive branch of sorts.
“Donald Trump ran a campaign that started with racial attacks,” Warren said. “He encouraged a toxic stew of hatred and fear. He attacked millions of Americans. And he regularly made statements that undermined core values of our democracy.”
But the former Harvard Law School professor also acknowledged Trump spoke of an economy rigged against workers and the sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them — a critique that echoes Warren’s.
“When President-elect Trump wants to take on these issues, when his goal is to increase the economic security of middle class families, then count me in,” Warren said. “I will put aside our differences and I will work with him.”
Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey said her priority is guarding the gains the state made under the Obama administration. Healey said she’ll fight to protect affordable health care, push for an end to gun violence and make sure woman have control over their own bodies.
“We will work to reject in the most direct ways, the racism, sexism and xenophobia we witnessed during the campaign,” Healey said in an email to supporters Wednesday. “While I respect those who backed President-elect Trump, let me be clear: I will forcefully oppose any effort by him or Congress or anyone else to roll back the progress we’ve made under President Obama.”
Even among the top ranks of the state’s GOP, there was little love for Trump.
Baker publicly declared he would not support Trump’s candidacy, questioned whether he had the temperament to be president and refused to cast a vote for any candidate in the presidential contest.
But Baker may be the state’s best chance for a pipeline to the White House. Baker had briefly endorsed New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie for president before Christie dropped out of the race and backed Trump.
On Wednesday, he told reporters he was looking forward to forging ties with the Trump administration, and was optimistic that the animosities of the campaign can be put aside.
“He and Hillary Clinton both spoke to the notion that it’s important to unify a divided country,” said Baker. “I think that’s where it starts.”
Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg is also looking to keep bridges to Washington clear of partisan debris.
Rosenberg said that while he opposed Trump, he shares some of the concerns raised by both Trump and Clinton — from paid family leave and minimum wage to early childhood education.
Rosenberg also said that Massachusetts — with one of country’s highest per capita incomes — carries economic and political weight regardless of which party occupies the White House. The state is home to a major innovation and life sciences economy, world-class research and teaching hospitals and some of the world’s top colleges and universities.
“As a candidate (Trump) did not send us in the right direction and it worries me, a lot of what he said and how he said it,” Rosenberg said. “It’s now time to govern and recognize in that process that Massachusetts is a major contributor to the success of this country and therefore we will expect to be taken seriously and seen as partners with the federal government and not an outlier.”
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