MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Three Republican leaders of blue states who opposed President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign have been talking among themselves about how best to work with the incoming administration.
Vermont Gov.-elect Phil Scott told The Associated Press he’s been talking with Govs. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland at recent national governors’ meetings about how to pursue common interests in Washington.
“They are two of the most popular governors in the country, and they’re Republicans, and they come from blue states as well,” said Scott, who will be the junior member of the trio when he is sworn in on Jan. 5. Both Baker and Hogan began their first terms in January 2015 and come from states supported Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
“I’ve found, particularly in the Northeast, (there are) other governors who share my vision of improving the economy, doing what we can to work together and to try and pull together people in our state (and) across the nation in terms of this deep polarization that seems to exist,” Scott said.
“I believe I can learn a lot from them and I believe we can find ways of working together, so that we can pull the country together,” he said.
Baker’s aides did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Hogan spokeswoman, Amelia Chasse, issued a statement saying Hogan “shares the common goals of advancing pragmatic, bipartisan solutions at the state level with Governor Baker and Governor-elect Scott. … He looks forward to working with their administrations to exchange ideas, facilitate open lines of communication, and share helpful resources.”
Chasse declined to detail the issues on which the states hope to work together in lobbying the Trump administration or to provide details on what Hogan’s hopes or concerns might be.
Scott said a top issue in his talks with Baker and Hogan has been what might happen to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation, which both Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal.
“If there is some sort of replace and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and it’s replaced with some model where there are block grants issued, maybe there’s an opportunity for us to work together,” he said.
Both Baker and Hogan made clear before the Republican National Convention that they did not support Trump. Scott was outspoken both before and after Trump won the nomination about his disdain for the billionaire businessman.
After release of an Access Hollywood tape showing Trump making comments about women that many deemed abusive, Scott sharply criticized Trump in an Oct. 9 interview with The Burlington Free Press.
“Nearly a year ago, long before he was the nominee, I said I would not vote for Mr. Trump because of the laundry list of offensive insults he had already made about people with disabilities, prisoners of war, minorities and women,” he said. “These revolting remarks reaffirm my decision not to support him.”
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