Gov. Charlie Baker sharply criticized President Trump's phone call to the widow of a slain soldier during an appearance on Boston Public Radio today.
"I think the exchange that he had with this family and the follow-up was incredibly disgraceful and discouraging and depressing," said Baker.
Trump has come under fire after he called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was killed in Niger in an ambush on Oct. 4, and reportedly said her husband "knew what he signed up for," according to Johnson's mother and a Democratic congresswoman who overheard the call.
Baker mentioned the president's interaction with the Khan family on the campaign trail, as well as the most recent controversy surrounding Trump's call to Johnson's widow, while talking about the importance of providing support and respect for grieving families.
"I said from the beginning, way back when Trump was a candidate, that his interaction with the Khan family bothered me a lot — gold star family, lost their son," he said. "Frankly, whether that person agrees or disagrees with me on politics, who cares?"
Baker talked at length about the decorum he feels should be upheld with the families of members of the military who have died in action. He said one of the hardest parts of his job has been to meet families of the deceased, saying it's "brutal."
"You try and follow their lead ... You need to give them as much room as you possibly can to take this in any direction they want,' he said. "They have sacrificed everything on behalf of this country."
Trump accused the Democratic congresswoman who overheard the call of "politicizing" the issue, despite the fact that Johnson's mother confirmed her account.
Baker criticized his handling of the fallout, and called families of the fallen "special."
"If you're a public official, the reason you are able and allowed to be a public official is because some person in uniform stood up for this country at some point in its history and preserved our freedom and our security and our opportunity to continue to be a great democracy," he said. "They deserve our love and our appreciation, our respect and our support, period."
Gov. Charlie Baker joins us every month for Ask The Governor. To hear his interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above