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Baker Fails The Bannon Test

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Gov. Charlie Baker has declined to criticize the appointment of Steve Bannon as President-elect Donald Trump’s chief White House advisor.
Gretchen Ertl/AP Images for Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

This is what slipping into authoritarianism looks like: The popular governor of the bluest of blue states refusing to condemn the appointment of a racist white nationalist to the most influential staff job in the White House.

That’s what Gov. Charlie Baker did on Wednesday when asked about the appointment of Steve Bannon as President-elect Donald Trump’s chief White House advisor. There’s “too much pre-judging going on,” Baker said, adding that folks just needed to wait and “see what happens here.”

Bannon served as Trump’s campaign chairman and is the CEO of Breitbart News, a racist propaganda website. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has praised the news of Bannon’s new job as “excellent.”

Baker was the first Republican governor to say that he was offended by Donald Trump’s racist campaign rhetoric and would not support him for president. So why is he hedging on saying whether or not it is a bad idea to employ a white nationalist in the most powerful job in the White House? Easy — he’s thinking he will be punished if he speaks the truth.

Will Baker duck questions about the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general? Sessions was appointed to a federal judgeship in 1986, but the Senate refused to confirm him when his “former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan,” as the Washington Post reports. The office of the attorney general oversees the Department of Justice, which prosecutes hate crimes.

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