HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf on Thursday said he would shoulder some of the blame for Democrats' election losses in Pennsylvania, but also said Donald Trump's victory reflects the anger, frustration and worry of voters who feel their elected leaders have not been hearing them.
"There's a great deal of anxiety out there," Wolf told reporters at a Capitol briefing, his first public comments since the election. "And I think all of us in public life, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, have to acknowledge that we have work to do."
After Trump won 56 of 67 counties statewide, some Democrats have privately grumbled about Wolf's low-profile presence during the campaign, even with the state cast as a key battleground. Republicans' victory in the presidential contest was the first time they won Pennsylvania since 1988.
Asked about his own efforts, Wolf said: "I am, I guess, the leader of the party in Pennsylvania, and so I have to take responsibility for not doing as well as we should have done."
Wolf said he wanted to assure Pennsylvanians that he will defend the rights of minorities and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as access to women's health care and to health care in general. Trump has pledged to ask Congress to repeal President Obama's health care law.
"We have almost 700,000 people who are taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act, who now have health insurance, and I hate to think what might happen is they lose that health insurance," Wolf said.
He said, however, that the nation has to give Trump a chance.
"And I hope he does well," the governor said, "because he's going to be the leader of our country, and he's going to be the leader of our military."
The governor also congratulated his fellow Democrats on their successful races for state attorney general, treasurer and auditor general. And although GOP victories expanded its dominance in the state legislature, Wolf downplayed the significance, saying he has already been working with GOP-led legislative chambers.