Maryland Democrats are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to rescind his endorsement of a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania who criticized billionaire liberal donor George Soros as a “Hungarian Jew.”
State Democratic party Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Hogan’s decision to align himself with Sen. Scott Wagner, a conservative supporter of President Donald J. Trump. Wagner, who represents the York area, is seeking the GOP nomination in a contested primary.
Wagner drew criticism last week after he called Soros, an American citizen, a “Hungarian Jew” who has a “hatred for America” despite earning a fortune in the United States. Soros, the 87-year-old founder of the Open Society Foundations and backer of former President Barack Obama, is a favorite target of the right-wing media.
Maryland Democrats initially criticized Hogan last month over his decision to endorse Wagner and to be the headline speaker at a fundraiser for the Pennsylvania candidate. They based their criticism on Wagner's staunch support of Trump, from whom Hogan has kept a distance, and policy positions well to the right of the Maryland governor.
A spokesman for Hogan’s campaign said at the time that the governor considers Wagner, who supported him in his 2014 race, a personal friend.
Though several Pennsylvania clergymen called on Wagner to apologize for remarks mentioning Soros’ religion, Wagner has refused. The York Daily Record quoted him as saying Monday that "everybody's getting their knickers around their ankles over this.”
Wagner denied any bias against Jews and said that if Soros were Catholic he would have identified him as a Hungarian Catholic.
Matthews rejected that explanation.
“These latest anti-Semitic remarks make Gov. Hogan’s decision to prioritize party loyalty over Maryland values even worse,” she said. “Governor Hogan needs to immediately withdraw his endorsement of Scott Wagner.”
The Hogan re-election campaign did not reply to a request for a response.