At Boston City Hall, Mayor Marty Walsh reacted to Donald Trump’s win with a mix of conciliation and defiance—saying America needs to give Trump a chance, but also telling Trump not to mess with Boston.
"I am not letting anybody change the policies of the city of Boston," said Walsh, who endorsed and campaigned for Hillary Clinton. "When we talk about undocumented immigrants, we have our Office of Immigrant Advancement that’s helping people on pathways to citizenship. I’m not changing that, regardless of what the federal government says.
"If they come out and say, 'We’re building a wall around America,' we’re not doing that in Boston, Massachusetts."
Asked about those jabs, Walsh shrugged them off.
"I think the hard part is going to be, who hasn't had a back-and-forth with Donald Trump?" he said. "I think that’s going to be a very short list across the country.
"You’re in the heat of the battle, and you say things back and forth, and then when the government is voted on and elected... you have to work together."
Still, given Trump’s tendency to hold a grudge, it’s worth asking whether he might seek some sort of retribution on Boston—and on Massachusetts as a whole. After all, Governor Charlie Baker refused to vote for Trump. Senator Elizabeth Warren called him a thin-skinned, racist bully. And Congressman Seth Moulton compared him to Hitler.
So if Trump does decide to exact some revenge, how might he do it?
"In 1972," says BU historian Tom Whalen, "Richard Nixon won in a landslide, [and] the only state to vote against him was our Commonwealth. And what’d Nixon do as revenge? He closed the Charlestown Navy Yard, costing a lot of people jobs."
Today, Whalen adds, Massachusetts would have other tempting targets for a vindictive president, including healthcare and higher education.
"Universities, part of their life’s blood is federal money rolling in to support various experimental programs or research initiatives," he says. "Because of the quality of our higher education institutions here in Boston [and] Cambridge, we’ve always had an advantage over the rest of the country. If [Trump] really wants to stick it to this region here he can basically pull the plug on it, or cause it to go down to a very thin trickle."
But Whalen also says that while Trump might take a step like that out of sheer malice, strategic retribution seems more likely.
"If you ever read The Art of the Deal, [Trump] likes to use such things as leverage," Whalen says. "If he thinks he can get Elizabeth Warren or [Senator] Ed Markey to cut a deal with him on other initiatives, he might hang this over their heads."
Of course, the million-dollar question is whether Trump’s M.O. will change once he becomes president. Judging from his conciliatory speech on election night, and strikingly cordial comments after meeting with President Barack Obama, that’s at least a possibility.
It's also possible Trump will look to settle old scores, however. And if he does, Massachusetts could be at the top of his list.