Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker plans to meet with Vice President Mike Pence this weekend on Nantucket to discuss the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, but will not attend a pricey island fundraiser where the Indiana Republican will be raising money for his and President Donald Trump's reelection campaign, according to an aide to the governor.
Pence will be flying to the island on Saturday for the $25,000-a-head lunch at the home of Robert Reynolds, CEO of Putnam Investments, according to Politico. Baker intends to meet with Pence, who has been leading the White House's response to COVID-19, to "discuss the pandemic and how the federal government can support Massachusetts' response efforts," according to a spokesman.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The same aide said Baker would not be attending the fundraiser, which is expected to draw about 30 guests and raise $1 million for Trump and Pence's campaign.
Baker did not vote for Trump in 2016 and has said that nothing the president has done while in office has changed his mind about that decision as Trump runs for another term this year.
The governor has also been critical at times of the administration's response to the pandemic, expressing frustration early on about the federal government outbidding states on orders of personal protective equipment and more recently criticizing Trump's threat to withhold funding if schools don't open in the fall.
Still, Baker has met with and worked with members of the administration including Pence, on issues of importance to Massachusetts, and met with Pence multiple times, including on Nantucket last summer when the vice president was also on the island for a fundraiser.
Last year, the August tete-a-tete between Baker and Pence centered around the stalled Vineyard Wind project and the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement negotiated by the administration that Baker supported.