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A disgusted Gov. Charlie Baker blasted Republican presidential contender Donald Trump on Monday evening over the candidate's proposal to bar all Muslims from entering the country, calling the idea "ridiculous" and antithetical to the "values that people in this country hold most dear."
Baker, speaking to reporters after helping to celebrate Hanukkah and light a menorah at the State House, grew increasingly animated as he learned exactly what Trump had said in a statement proposing a ban on all Muslims, including tourists and American Muslims living abroad, until "our country's representatives can figure out what's going on."
"As I've said before, I don't like getting into presidential politics. That's not what I got elected to worry about. But I think that's ridiculous and I would never support a policy like that," Baker said initially, hearing the substance of Trump's comments read to him for the first time.
Asked whether he thought Trump was simply trying to get attention, Baker said, "I have no idea what the motivation is on that but first of all it's unrealistic, secondly it's inappropriate and third it doesn't make any sense."
Trump, in his statement, cited research from the Pew Research Center and others that he said showed "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population."
"Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again," Trump said.
After giving his initial reaction, Baker asked to read a copy of the full statement released by the Trump campaign. As he finished reading, the governor flicked the paper forcefully and returned to the group of reporters to expound on what he thought.
Baker noted that he had just celebrated the "miracle of Hanukkah" to commemorate the fight of the people of Jerusalem for religious freedom. That celebration took place in the State House, which he described as a mile from the Warren Tavern in Charlestown where "the patriots of this nation" held early conversations about securing freedom from the British crown. He said the earliest settlers, in fact, had come to America for the chance to practice their religion freely.
"I can't believe that I'm reading this, which is basically directly in contrast and in conflict with most of the most important values that people in this country hold most dear, among them the right and the ability to practice your religion peacefully," Baker said. "Yeah, I think this is a really bad idea."