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Governor Baker talks about impeachment vote in radio interview

Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Charlie Baker.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Sidestepping the question of whether the US House made the right call in impeaching President Trump, Governor Charlie Baker said in a radio interview Thursday that he would have liked to have seen more bipartisanship and hopes for a “fair trial” in the Senate.

After hours of debate, the Democrat-led House on Wednesday night approved two articles of impeachment without a yes vote from any Republican member of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she's waiting for more information about plans for the Senate's trial before she sends the articles of impeachment to that branch and appoints impeachment managers.

Asked during a Boston Public Radio interview Thursday for his take on the third presidential impeachment in American history, Baker reiterated his stance that the interactions between Trump and the Ukrainian president merited investigation.

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"They have executed on their role and their responsibility there, and obviously it now moves over to the Senate, and I hope they do their job, which I think is what I said when the Senate didn't take up Merrick Garland's nomination to the court some years ago when he was nominated by Obama," Baker said.

Asked if he thinks the Senate should convict Trump, Baker said, "I think the Senate should try to create a fair trial."

"I think it's unfortunate that some of the Senate folks have already basically said what they're going to do before the thing even starts, and that's on both sides, and I think if you're going to be a juror in one of these things, the most important thing for you to do is to say nothing and actually let the process and the House managers who pursue this do their work, and as I said, I think a lot of the language that's played out in this whole thing makes it sound less like the solemn occasion that it is, and I think that's unfortunate," he said.

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Co-host Jim Braude pressed Baker on whether the House made the right decision, asking him four times. Each time, Baker did not give a direct yes or no answer.

"Look, that's the decision they made," he said. "I wish it had been a little more bipartisan, but unfortunately we're never going to get that out of this Washington."

The Republican governor did not vote for Trump in 2016, saying he didn't think Trump had the temperament for the job. "There's nothing that's happened over the course of the past few years to change my mind," Baker said Thursday.

Co-host Margery Eagan asked Baker if he's considered changing his party affiliation.

"Look, I joined the Republican Party when I got out of college because I was a big fan of Ronald Reagan's, and I stayed there because I was a big fan of Bill Weld's and Paul Cellucci's, and I'm still a big fan of my brand of Republicanism, which I believe is a better way to think about this stuff than many of the others that are out there these days," he said. "I have no trouble being a Republican defined the way I want to define it."

The governor's father, Charles Duane Baker III, worked in the administrations of Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Reagan.

Baker said he never met Reagan, but went to Nixon's White House Christmas party when he was around 12 years old.

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“His wife was awesome,” Baker said. “Pat Nixon was really cool.”