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Baker Mum On Whether State Troopers Sent To NYC To Protect Medical Supply Shipment

Gov. Charlie Baker wouldn't say for sure Tuesday whether Massachusetts State Police troopers were sent to New York City to protect a shipment of masks and other medical protective equipment bound for the Bay State.

Baker was asked about a tweet from the official state police account, which said troopers were escorting the Patriots tractor-trailer to JFK Airport to bring more medical supplies back to the state.

"If they get here, I'll tell you about them when they get here," Baker said during a news conference at Joint Base Cape Cod, the site of a new field hospital. "But as we said many times before, we don't talk about this stuff till we actually see it."

A WBUR reporter asked Baker if the troopers were being sent to protect the supplies from being confiscated.

Baker paused for a few moments before saying, "maybe."

Last month, a 3 million mask order the state made through BJ's Wholesale Club was impounded at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Why that delivery was halted is unclear. The Port Authority has told WBUR it has no knowledge of the shipment, and the Boston region's federal COVID-19 chief couldn't explain the missing shipment.

Already the Kraft family, owners of the Patriots, helped Massachusetts secure more than a million masks. The Krafts sent the Patriots plane to China to make the delivery.

After the event, a Baker spokesperson said the masks arriving in New York were part of the original China order the Krafts helped secure.

“A portion of the order that the Krafts helped deliver to Massachusetts arrived in New York today and will be inspected and counted by Massachusetts state officials," communications director Lizzy Guyton said. "The Baker-Polito Administration is grateful for the teamwork of the Kraft Family and several partners who worked incredibly hard to get masks to the commonwealth to be distributed to our front line workers to keep people safe.”

A state police spokesman said the request for a police escort came from the Patriots.

This article was originally published on April 14, 2020.

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Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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