Massachusetts governor apologizes after calling Pressley speech a 'rant'

Massachusetts governor apologizes after calling Pressley speech a 'rant'
© Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday apologized after using the word "rant" to describe a speech by Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyGOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' Pelosi faces caucus divisions in Biden era Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event.

Pressley presented a speech to a crowd of more than 1,000 people about inequality and the continuing fight for civil rights after the 50th annual MLK Memorial Breakfast in Boston, according to Time.

"I'm still an abolitionist because my people still are not free," Pressley said. "And I mean that in every way, not only because of the new Jim Crow and mass incarceration but because we don't have economic justice."


Baker spoke after Pressley and told the crowd jokingly that he would have to follow "that rant." He then said he agreed with Pressley's comments about celebrating diversity, according to Time. The magazine noted that there were groans in the audience after the comment was made, and the sentiment was echoed afterward on social media. 

The governor apologized for his choice of words after the breakfast, according to his spokeswoman, Lizzy Guyton.

"The governor agreed with Congresswoman Pressley's remarks today and believes her speech was moving," Guyton said.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) commented on Baker's remark on Twitter saying, "It was thoughtful, personal, and anything but a rant. Language like that is dismissive and perpetuates the very harm we seek to end.”