As Republican Donald Trump prepares to take over as president, Massachusetts is fashioning itself into a hub of resistance, with politicians and advocacy groups vowing to battle what they see as the extremes of a Trump agenda.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who once likened herself to “Star Wars” rebel leader Princess Leia – is helping lead the opposition.
In a letter sent to Trump Tower this week, the Massachusetts Democrat excoriated the incoming president for relying on what she described as “insiders, lobbyists, and other special interests” to help shape his administration.
She called on him to replace them with advisers who will fight for the interests of the American people.
“Should you refuse, I will oppose you, every step of the way, for the next four years. I will champion the millions of Americans you will fail to protect,” Warren wrote. “I will track your every move, and I will remind Americans, every day, of the actions you take that fail them.”
Warren wasn’t alone.
Since Election Day, the state attorney general has set up a hate crimes hotline, local officials have pledged not to cooperate with stepped-up deportation efforts, and abortion rights and health care advocacy groups have vowed to fight any Trump-led effort to curb access to both.
It’s a dramatic shift for a largely Democratic state whose political leaders have enjoyed strong relations with Democratic President Barack Obama and who nearly uniformly rejected Trump, including Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who refused to vote for his party’s nominee.
On election night, Massachusetts backed Clinton by about a 27-point margin.
While some leaders, Warren included, acknowledged the economic pain that helped drive some of Trump’s support, they said they were concerned by the tone Trump set during his campaign and by his pledges to eliminate Obama’s health care law and to deport millions living in the country illegally.
Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat and a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, set up the hate crimes hotline just days after the election following reports of harassment and intimidation of “racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants.”
“Such conduct has no place in Massachusetts,” Healey said.
Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg stuck a similar note, warning of what he called the “repeated expression of bigoted views” during the campaign, which he said targeted women, racial minorities, people of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and people with disabilities.
Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl, co-chairman of the Trump campaign in Massachusetts, said Trump won’t hold a grudge against Massachusetts, noting the state gave him one of his most decisive primary wins.
“Donald Trump knows that great minds and great states are valuable to him,” Diehl said. “It may take some time with Massachusetts, but the Legislature will come around and appreciate what he brings to the table.”
Trump’s election has renewed efforts at the Massachusetts Statehouse to pass legislation that would bar local law enforcement officers from detaining suspects for possible deportation unless they were charged with serious or violent crimes.
Some sanctuary cities – including Cambridge, Somerville and Amherst – already largely refuse to cooperate with deportation efforts. There’s been a push since the election to add Boston to that list.
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said he’ll defend the city’s decision.
“We are not going to stand voiceless and in silence and let a Gestapo-like atmosphere be cultivated in this nation and come to our communities and break families apart,” the Democratic mayor told The Boston Globe. He said his city risks losing $6 million in federal funding.
Christian Miron, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, called Trump’s election “nothing if not a call to action in the movement for reproductive freedom” Brian Rosman of the group Health Care For All said Trump’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act puts coverage for 22 million people at risk.
Amid the heightened passions, the state’s governor tried to inject a note of calm.
Baker, who said during the election that Trump didn’t have the temperament to serve as president, urged critics adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
“There’s way too much prejudging going on here,” Baker told reporters this week.
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