State Watch

Larry Hogan makes pitch for GOP to move on from Trump

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will use a high-profile appearance at Ronald Reagan’s presidential library on Tuesday to lay out a vision for the future of a bigger-tent Republican Party, one that does not include former President Trump.

In prepared remarks shared with The Hill, Hogan will accuse Trump of leaving the GOP in its worst position since the 1930s, an era when Franklin Roosevelt consigned Republicans to deep minorities in both the House and Senate.

“Trump said we would be winning so much that we would get tired of winning. Instead we lost the White House, the Senate, the House, governors, and state legislative bodies,” Hogan will say. “I am tired of our party losing.”

“A party that lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections, and that couldn’t even beat Joe Biden is desperately in need of a course correction,” he will say. “The truth is the last election was not rigged and it wasn’t stolen. We simply didn’t offer the majority of voters what they were looking for.”

In an interview Monday, Hogan said he hoped to point his party in a new direction. He said Republicans would not win a national election by offering Trump as their nominee or a “cheap impersonation” who tries to emulate the defeated former president.

“I think there certainly are people that are trying to be the next Donald Trump. And I just, as I said, doubling down on failure doesn’t seem to be doesn’t seem to be the right strategy for me,” Hogan told The Hill. “The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So I think we ought to go back to the first time Republicans were really successful, and that was when Ronald Reagan won landslide victories and 49 states and got to change the future of America and the world.”

Hogan, 65, is nearing the end of his second term as governor. He won reelection in 2018 with 55 percent of the vote in a state that gave Trump just 32 percent of the vote a year later. Recent polls show about two-thirds of voters approve of the job Hogan is doing, a remarkable approval rating for any politician in a polarized environment.

“I ran 45 points ahead of Trump and I won not only the base Republican votes and conservative voters, just as he did, but I also won suburban women and minorities and young voters, and that’s what the party has to do nationwide if we’re going to be able to be a majority party and win national elections and be able to govern,” Hogan said.

Hogan was a frequent critic of Trump, for whom he never voted.

“Enough of the angry rhetoric and the grievance politics. Enough of the narcissism of small differences,” Hogan will say in his speech Tuesday. “Excuses, lies, and toxic politics will not win elections or restore America.”

Voters “are unhappy with the Democratic Party they think has moved far to the left,” Hogan said in the interview. “They think that Republicans are focused on things that they don’t think they should be, and they don’t like lies and conspiracy theories. The average American really just wants commonsense, bipartisan solutions.”

The Reagan library has become a customary stop on the path to a potential Republican presidential campaign. This year, the museum has hosted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), all potential presidential aspirants.

Hogan said he has not yet decided on entering the race and that he would not make any official announcements until after his term expires in January. But he said he hoped that by speaking up, he would inspire other Republicans to make their own voices louder.

“I do believe very strongly that I want to be a voice of reason in the party. And I’ve been speaking out for quite a while now, most of my life actually, but my positions have never changed. I just happen to believe that there aren’t enough people standing up and speaking out,” he said.

Hogan said too many members of his own party parrot Trump’s lies about the 2020 election that President Biden won, even if they know better.

“Some people know it’s not true, but they continue to lie about it anyway, because they think they have to. And so I think the more people speaking out the better,” he said. “I know that a lot of my colleagues and I know that many of my fellow governors and many members of Congress and U.S. senators feel exactly the same way and then just don’t come out and say it. And I’m hoping that maybe by me standing up that maybe others will join in and try to come out and tell it like it is.”

Tags Franklin Roosevelt Joe Biden Larry Hogan Ronald Reagan Trump

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