Maryland Democrats: Hogan's claim of being a Reagan Republican signals 'dog whistle' white nationalism

The Maryland Democratic Party on Tuesday argued that Gov. Larry Hogan’s claim of being a Reagan-style Republican, as he continues to position himself as a moderate alternative to President Trump in 2020, instead signaled that he is a “dog whistle white nationalist.”

Hogan is far more in tune with the Republican party’s long-held values and worldview than the president, he told The Washington Post last week, adding: “I come from the Ronald Reagan school of politics.” Hogan responded to a question about whether he shares Trump’s nationalism by “shaking his head in disapproval,” The Post reported.

But the state Democratic Party said in a statement that Reagan “infamously used derogatory terms like ‘welfare queen’ to play on racist imagery and stereotypes in order to draw support for his political platforms.”

“With this, Larry Hogan promises to be a dog whistle white nationalist instead of a Trumpian white nationalist,” party chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said in the statement. “This is a cold comfort when what the world needs is love & Unity.”

In the statement, the Democrats drew a parallel between Hogan calling the Democratic-controlled legislature “the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen” and Reagan’s rhetoric. The party said Hogan has “channeled Reagan in both rhetoric and deed by his track record of public hostility toward underserved communities.”

The Maryland Democrats called on Hogan to apologize.

“Hogan’s comments yesterday were insensitive and irresponsible, and like Reagan’s derogatory comments before him, will only exacerbate negative stereotypes, divide Marylanders, and contribute to a more toxic political culture,” the party said in the statement.

In response, Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci called Rockeymoore Cummings’ comments “ridiculous and dangerous” and said they “hurt our discourse and are surely beneath us.”

“But what else do you expect from political operatives more interested in getting attention than getting things done?” Ricci said. “Ms. Cummings should be ashamed of herself and she should apologize for her shameful, baseless accusations which have no place in our state.”

Brian Griffiths, editor-in-chief of conservative website RedMaryland.com, lambasted Cummings’ comments as “gaslighting” and said the party chairwoman’s calls for unity were disingenuous, given that, he said, another member of the Democratic party had recently referred to pro-gun activists in Annapolis as “homegrown terrorists.” Those comments, attributed to Maryland Democratic Party Secretary Robbie Leonard, were reported on FoxNews.com.

“It’s hard to take calls for unity seriously from someone whose party is engaging in this kind of disunifying and dangerous behavior,” he said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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