‘Focus on the Pandemic': Baker Scolds Washington Over Supreme Court Fight

He called the role reversal from where Republicans and Democrats stood four years ago "classic Washington behavior"

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker lashed out at lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Wednesday, criticizing them for focusing their attention on the fight over the next Supreme Court justice instead of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 200,000 people in the United States.

"So four years ago, just about this time, the Democrats all said it was incredibly important to move forward to appoint another person to the bench," he said. "Republicans all said, 'No, that's a really bad idea.'"

But now, Republicans say the nomination of a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week, should move forward now, while Democrats argue it should wait until after the election. Baker said Saturday that he thinks it should wait until after the election.

"One hundred percent ends justify the means, classic Washington behavior, and it's a big part of why most people in this country think Washington is a problem, period," a clearly agitated Baker said Wednesday. "And I sit here as the governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where we've basically been playing this hand around COVID as best we can, with a really uneven response from the federal government, which has far more tools in their toolbox than any state's ever going to have to manage their way through this."

"And they are now going to wrap themselves up in conversation about the Supreme Court, which is important, but nobody looks good with respect to how they've chosen to position themselves over the course of the last four years on this issue," he added. "At a point in time where what I would really like to see them focus on is the pandemic, which has killed 200,000 people in the United States of America so far and continues to wreak havoc on our economy and our communities across not just the Commonwealth but the country. So yeah, I'd like to see them focus on the pandemic."

Republicans are charging ahead with plans to confirm President Donald Trump's pick to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat before the Nov. 3 election.

Baker also defended his recent decision to endorse Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is locked in a hotly contested re-election campaign.

"Susan Collins, for the past five years, has been a phone all away every time I've had to talk to anybody who has a lot of standing in Washington," he said. "She doesn't represent Massachusetts, but she's always been there to support the Commonwealth as a member of the New England region."

He said she has been a key ally when talking about issues like wind energy, healthcare or more recently the push to remove tariffs on lobsters.

"My calculus was based on the fact that I think Susan Collins has been a terrific senator for Maine and a terrific senator for the region," Baker added.

Contact Us