Watch CBS News

Keller @ Large: Republican ad suggests Maura Healey condones street violence

Keller @ Large: Republican ad suggests Maura Healey condones street violence
Keller @ Large: Republican ad suggests Maura Healey condones street violence 03:01

BOSTON - Attorney General Maura Healey has to win her primary contest with Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz before she becomes the Democratic nominee for governor.

But that isn't stopping local Republicans from going after Healey with a TV ad suggesting she condones street violence. 

On June 2, 2020, eight days after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and two days after a spasm of looting and violence in downtown Boston following a round of peaceful protests, Healey gave an emotional speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce calling for an end to racism in American life.

But as the ad from the Massachusetts GOP notes, street violence was dominating the headlines. "Our cities were under attack," intones the narrator as video of violence and looting in Boston and elsewhere unspools. And they seized on the final line of Healey's speech.

"And how does Maura Healey respond? 'America is burning, but that's how forests grow.' Maura Healey? Really?" A statement from the party later that day claimed Healey had "appeared to cheer on the destruction of American cities at the hands of leftist mobs." Party Chairman Jim Lyons was quoted as saying: "No matter what else Democrats like Attorney General Healey say, they will always condone mob tactics."

In a statement to WBZ News, a Healey campaign spokesperson says: "It's clear Maura was expressing her optimism about building a better future together and has acknowledged using a poor metaphor in a speech to the Boston Chamber. She was not condoning violence in any way."

And earlier in that speech, Healey said this: "I support calls for a revolution, but not the revolution of violence in our streets. Instead, I'm calling for a revolution in mindset, a fundamental change to our ingrained assumptions."

So can this tactic work here?

Fear of crime is a very real issue, and as the state's top law officer any evidence that Healey is soft on crime would be problematic for her campaign. But outside of this ill-conceived remark there is no such evidence. 

We reached out to the state GOP spokesman, to Lyons and to both Republican candidates for governor for comment on this ad, but none of them got back to us. And with the cash-strapped GOP spending very little money to run the ad, it seems as if even they lack some enthusiasm for the message.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.