The Slatest

Maryland Governor Decries GOP “Circular Firing Squad” in Trying to Appease “Dear Leader”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris at a Covid-19 vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, April 29, 2021.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris at a Covid-19 vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, April 29, 2021. SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wishes all the infighting in the Republican Party would just stop so its members can get back to winning votes. “We’ve got to get back to winning elections again. And we have to be able to have a Republican Party that appeals to a broader group of people,” Hogan, a Republican, said on NBC News’ Meet the Press. “Successful politics is about addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division.” Right now though there is a “battle for the soul of the Republican Party” going on, he added.

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Hogan, one of the harshest critics of Donald Trump within the GOP, said he is surprised more Republicans haven’t criticized the role the former president played in the Jan. 6 riots. But he said he recognized many Republicans are afraid of criticizing the former president out of fear that they’ll face “retaliation,” like House Conference Chair Liz Cheney has experienced. “It just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you get kicked out of the party. It just doesn’t make any sense,” Hogan said. “It’s sort of a circular firing squad where we’re just attacking members of our own party instead of focusing on solving problems, or standing up and having an argument, that we can debate the Democrats on some of the things the Biden administration is pushing through.”

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Hogan spoke up about his desire for the party to break with Trump a few days after Sen. Lindsey Graham said the Republican Party “can’t grow without” the former president. The events of the past week showed how even though Trump has lost his social media platform, he still has a strong hold on the GOP. “The former president has not only managed to squelch any dissent within his party but has persuaded most of the G.O.P. to make a gigantic bet: that the surest way to regain power is to embrace his pugilistic style, racial divisiveness and beyond-the-pale conspiracy theories rather than to court the suburban swing voters who cost the party the White House and who might be looking for substantive policies on the pandemic, the economy and other issues,” notes the New York Times.

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