Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday joined a sizable group of Republicans who have refused to support President Trump for reelection as he struggles to tamp down growing dissent from members of his own party ahead of the election.
After Baker dodged a question on whether he would support Trump at a press conference on Wednesday, his spokesperson Lizzy Guyton released a statement announcing Baker “cannot support President Donald Trump for president.”
Instead, the statement says, Baker is “focused on seeing Massachusetts through the pandemic,” adding, “He’ll leave the election analysis to the pundits.”
As Baker is a well-known moderate who represents one of the most Democratic-leaning states in the country, his announcement is far from surprising, but it represents a shift from 2016 when he ruled out voting for then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as well as Trump.
Baker’s announcement comes at a time when GOP opposition to Trump is proliferating, with a broad apparatus of anti-Trump Republican groups fighting to elect Biden, wrest the party from his control and reshape it in their post-Trump image.
Several sitting GOP officials, including Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have said they won’t vote for Trump, while scores of former officials such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, went one step further and endorsed Biden.
Asked for comment on Baker’s anti-endorsement, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Forbes, “Who?”
Baker has been an increasingly outspoken GOP detractor of Trump in recent months. Last month, he called Trump’s refusal to commit to the peaceful transfer of power “appalling and outrageous,” and his signature was also notably absent from a letter signed by two dozen GOP governors earlier this month recommending the confirmation of Judge Barrett, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
Trump hit back at Baker on Twitter in September, calling him a “RINO,” which stands for Republican-in-name-only, accusing him of “unsuccessfully trying to defend Mail In Ballots,” which he has often railed against.
16%. That’s the share of Republican registered voters who said in an Economist/YouGov poll they wouldn’t vote or would back a candidate besides Trump, with 3% saying they plan to vote for Biden. 11% of Democrats said they wouldn’t vote for Biden, though just 1% of those said they would back Trump.
Even a number of former Trump officials have come out in favor of Biden, including former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, former Homeland Security officials Miles Taylor and Elizabeth Neumann and former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye. The latter three have made numerous allegations against Trump since departing the administration, with Taylor even claiming Trump promised pardons to officials who broke the law.