Baker once again refuses to criticize DeSantis

Says he doesn’t want to engage in ‘presidential debate’

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER once again declined to criticize Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for airlifting Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, saying he doesn’t want to get caught in the crossfire between Republicans and Democrats running for president.

On GBH’s “Boston Public Radio” show on Monday, host Jim Braude said he understood Baker declined to criticize DeSantis on September 18, but wondered whether he had changed his mind after the Republican Florida governor accused Baker of deporting the immigrants from Martha’s Vineyard to a military base on Cape Cod. Braude called DeSantis’s statement “total BS.”

Baker refused to get drawn in. “I’ve been watching Republicans and Democrats that are running for president tee off on each other. That doesn’t help solve the problem, OK? I know it helps everybody deal with their base and all the rest, but what we really need is immigration reform in this country,” he said

“It means Republicans and Democrats would have to compromise and they would probably lose some edge that they currently have with this issue,” Baker said. “But the vast majority of the country would like to have this issue dealt with. I think the way it’s being dealt with now gets us nowhere.”

Braude pressed the governor on whether he would respond to DeSantis.

“I’m not running for president. Why engage in what is obviously a presidential debate?” he said.

Braude asked Baker whether he was aware that Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is one of those standing in the way of immigration reform.

“He’s not alone,” Baker said. “There’s a whole bunch of people in both parties who benefit tremendously from the fact this issue isn’t being solved.”

Asked who the Democrats were, Baker didn’t name names. “We could start with some of the more progressive members of the House, absolutely, and some of the more progressive members of the Senate who would not be willing to compromise on immigration reform, whose basic position is that we shouldn’t have a border to begin with. I don’t believe that,” Baker said. “We should have real borders. Our immigration policy should be enforceable. Canada, many other countries that we consider to be moderate on this issue, have figured it out. There’s no reason that we can’t, if we want to.”