Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous both issued statements Friday condemning the plans of white supremacists to hold a Unite the Right rally this weekend centered on Washington.
Hogan put out a statement early in the morning calling the rallies “despicable” and offering the District of Columbia and Virginia the assistance of Maryland agencies including the Maryland State Police.
"Hate has no place in our society, and these white supremacists and the racism and bigotry they spew are not welcome in our state – today, this weekend, or ever,” the Republican governor said. “As we face this invasion of vile and perverted ideology infesting our region, we stand united in our conviction that a diverse and inclusive Maryland is a stronger Maryland.”
Jealous, the Democratic nominee, followed with a statement in which he condemned the rallies marking the anniversary of the first Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“As racist white supremacists prepare to descend on Maryland's doorstep this weekend, we must remember it takes incredible courage to love one another in the face of hate and bigotry," said Jealous. "From the abolitionist work of Marylanders like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, Maryland has always been a state of courageous leaders fighting to push our nation forward.”
Confrontations last year in Charlottesville between white supremacists and opponents over the proposed removal of a Robert E. Lee statue left one woman dead and about 20 injured. An alleged member of a supremacist group was charged with murdering counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, by running her over.
The Charlottesville clash has been the topic of lingering controversy because of President Donald J. Trump’s suggestion of an equivalency between the white supremacists, including members of neo-Nazi groups, and their opponents. The president was criticized for saying there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the confrontation.
This year’s Unite the Right gathering is expected to take place Sunday in Lafayette Square from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Multiple counter-protests are expected.