Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday that the state may send “a few hundred” members of the National Guard to Washington, D.C., to boost security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration following last week’s deadly violence at the US Capitol.
Baker, speaking at his regular State House news conference, told reporters that “we have had, and I would imagine this is true for many states, especially those on the East Coast, we’ve had an ask from Washington to support a fairly significant request for guard personnel in our nation’s capitol and we’re currently processing that.”
He, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Thomas A. Turco III, the state’s public safety secretary, had a call Wednesday morning with federal officials about the security situation in Massachusetts. The call came amid reports that further violence is possible at capitol buildings across the country.
“The answer here remains that there are no, at this point in time, what we would call known or credible threats in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “But we are talking about a request from D.C. with respect to guard personnel supporting their efforts around the inauguration.”
With an impeachment debate playing out in Congress Wednesday, Baker was asked if he felt President Trump should be removed from office in the waning days of his term. Calls for Trump’s removal have snowballed after last week’s violence, which followed a rally where Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell” and walk to the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of Biden’s November victory.
As he has stated before, Baker said he believes “Vice President Pence should be empowered to manage the transition to a new administration.”
“And I continue to believe that. I also said that there were a number of means and mechanisms that were available to deal with that at that point in time. Since then several have been taken off the table, and the only one that’s left at this point is to move forward with an impeachment proceeding.”
But Pence still has a role to play, Baker said.
“I still want Vice President Pence to be worried about the day-to-day between now and the transition and anything that might have to occur after that as the two of them, two administrations try to figure out how to make these handoffs, especially the handoffs around all the stuff associated with COVID, as clean as possible,” Baker said.
Asked if Trump should be barred from seeking the presidency again, Baker reiterated that he didn’t vote for him in 2016 or 2020.
“The rules of the game associated with” presidential candidates “are not something that I make decisions about,” he said. “My preference would be, obviously, for other candidates.”