Governor Charlie Baker says MassGOP chairman Jim Lyons should step down

Politics

The governor’s comments come after the party chairman publicly backed a Boston city council candidate who openly made anti-Asian statements.

Jacques Lyon Handout

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said on Friday that Jim Lyons, Chairman of MassGOP, should step down after Lyons openly backed a candidate who was running for a Boston city council seat last month while making anti-Asian posts on the media. social.

Recently filed campaign finance records show that the Republican State Committee – via Lyon – spent $ 3,697 on Facebook ads for candidate Donnie Palmer ahead of the September 14 preliminary election, The Dorchester Journalist first reported earlier this week.

On social media, Palmer, who failed to get past the preliminary race, attacked mayoral hopeful Michelle Wu, the Chicago-born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants.

In an August 29 article, Palmer wrote, “ARE WE ON THE NEXT OF ELECTING A CHINESE CITIZEN TO CONTROL THE CITY OF BOSTON?” The words were accompanied by a photo of Wu alongside a photo of Chinese head of state Xi Jinping.

Palmer has targeted Wu in other positions and, at times, spread lies, such as saying that the 2020 US election has been stolen.

On Thursday, Boston.com reported that Jaclyn Corriveau, a Republican State Committee member who is Asian American, informed Lyon of Palmer’s August 29 post two days after it was posted.

She implored Lyons to rescind her approval and “denounce Asian hatred,” to which Lyons, as evidenced by an exchange of messages provided by Corriveau, repeatedly responded by only suggesting that Corriveau speak to Palmer herself. .

Baker, a moderate who has repeatedly taken the heat out of his own party, has previously clashed with Lyons, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump.

But Friday appeared to mark a new stage in tensions between the party chairman and the party’s top elected official when Baker explicitly told the Journalist that Lyon should withdraw.

“First of all, I have already expressed my concerns about the level of vitriol and racism of a number of committee members,” Baker told the newspaper following an unrelated event at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston. “I’m not familiar with this particular incident but unfortunately I’m appalled but on some level I’m not surprised. It is the continuation of a practice that has no place in life, let alone in public life.

“And I said previously that I thought, based on some of the previous incidents that had taken place, particularly with regard to the gay and lesbian community, that I thought Jim Lyons should step down. I continue to believe in it, ”added Baker.

The MassGOP did not return a request for comment from the Journalist, nor responded to requests from Boston.com and the Journalist earlier this week regarding Lyon’s support for Palmer’s candidacy.

But Lyons indicated later on Friday afternoon that he would not resign and criticized Baker in a statement, claiming in part that Baker “is abandoning the principles of the Republican Party.”

“Maybe it’s time for Governor Baker to reconsider his party affiliation,” Lyons said in the declaration.

In May, Baker was part of a chorus of Republican officials who spoke out against anti-gay comments made by Republican State Commissioner Deborah Martell and called for her resignation.

Martell, in emails and allegedly in conversation with Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, who is running for the seat of the 2nd Congressional District, said she was “sickened” by her decision to adopt two children with her husband.

Party members called on Lyon to intervene, but he refused to do so, citing party statutes that “freedom of speech and religious freedom are inflexible and uncompromising values,” he told the time.

Lyons only said he admitted “that she wrote in an offensive way.”

What happens next for the GOP, if anything, is up to the state committee, Baker said on Friday.

The governor noted that he had previously said that members should vote on these kinds of issues.

“They are for all intents and purposes the organization that oversees the operations of the party apparatus, which is what we are talking about here,” he told reporters. Journalist.


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Larry Struck

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