Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he would be in favor of President Donald Trump’s resigning or being removed from office after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
“There’s no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office,” Hogan said Thursday in response to a question from a reporter. “If that’s going to happen or how that should happen, I don’t know.”
“But we need leadership right now,” Hogan added, “and we need to stop all of this craziness.”
The Republican governor condemned the president and the violent mob of his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in opposition to the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election as president.
“Over the last two months, this sacred tradition has come under attack from our own president, who has chosen to fan the flames of hate and mislead millions of voters through lies and conspiracy theories, rather than face the reality of his own defeat,” Hogan said at a news conference at the State House in Annapolis.
Hogan said federal defense officials repeatedly turned down the state’s initial offers to send Maryland National Guard troops to the District of Columbia over the course of 90 minutes Wednesday, until he got a call from U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.
Before that authorization came, Hogan said, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, called him and said U.S. Capitol Police were overwhelmed and that there was no federal law enforcement presence. Hoyer was with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in an undisclosed location for safety reasons, Hogan said.
Hoyer told him congressional leaders were “pleading” for the governor to send in the Maryland National Guard and seemed baffled to hear permission was being denied, Hogan said.
After McCarthy’s call, the state sent 200 troopers and 500 Maryland National Guard members to Washington. Hogan said they will remain there through the rest of January.
Hogan became emotional as he described his reaction to watching the riot unfold.
“It was an attack on the rule of law, the foundations of self-government and who we are as Americans,” he said. “The mob may have shattered glass, but they did not and they will not shatter our democracy.”
The storming of the Capitol, which left four people dead, prompted a national outcry. Rioters fought with police, broke into the U.S. Senate chamber and looted Pelosi’s office. Trump appeared to praise the rioters in several messages Wednesday on social media.
The short-lived insurrection came as Republican Vice President Mike Pence presided over a joint session of Congress to certify Biden’s victory over Trump. Although the riot forced members to evacuate for several hours, they returned to finish the formal counting of electoral votes.
Hogan has long been among Trump’s Republican critics and was among the first to congratulate Biden. But despite frequent barbs, the governor has supported some close to Trump. On Thursday, Hogan called Pence a longtime friend and someone for whom “I have tremendous respect.” Pence broke with the president Wednesday, acknowledging he didn’t have the power to unilaterally throw out Electoral College votes.
Hogan also supported Georgia GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in their unsuccessful runoff campaigns. Perdue backed Trump’s voter fraud claims (although he wasn’t eligible to vote for the Electoral College objections because his term ended last weekend) and Loeffler only dropped a plan to join in the objections after the mob attack on Congress.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis offered praise for Hogan’s remarks Thursday, but urged the governor to go further in his condemnation of Trump and other Republicans.
“While there is much we disagree with Governor Hogan on, in this instance, he is right,” she said.
But Lewis said Hogan should “not only express mild trepidation,” but actively support calls for Trump’s impeachment or removal from office under the 25th Amendment.
Lewis also said Hogan ought to “denounce the Republican Party for their encouragement of this terrorist attack” and join her call for U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’ resignation after the Maryland Republican voted to reject electoral votes from several states.
A spokesperson for the governor did not respond Thursday night to a request for comment.