Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan harshly criticized President Donald Trump over the findings released in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, telling reporters Tuesday that “it certainly did not completely exonerate the President as he said.”
“There was some very disturbing stuff found in the report and just because aides did not follow his orders,” the Republican governor said Tuesday in New Hampshire. “That’s the only reason we don’t have obstruction of justice.”
The Republican governor, who’s publicly been considering a primary challenge to the President since winning re-election in 2018 by a double-digits margin in deep blue Maryland, told reporters that Republican reluctance to criticize the President was “very frustrating.”
“I know that there are a number of my colleagues, both governors and senators, members of the House who will say privately they’re very concerned, that they won’t say anything publicly, and I think it’s because, you know, they’re afraid,” he said. “There’s no profiles in courage here. They’re afraid of being primaried. They’re afraid of being tweeted about and very few of us are willing to say what we really think.”
However, the governor was careful to tell reporters he didn’t support impeachment proceedings for Trump, like some of the 2020 Democratic field.
“I don’t think they should begin impeachment proceedings; I don’t think it would be productive, I think most people in America are sick and tired of this whole two-year investigation, I don’t think there should be Democratic overreach,” Hogan told reporters, before adding, “I also don’t think there should be a cover-up from the administration, I don’t think we should be whitewashing the thing.”
Hogan was less explicit in describing his own plans for 2020, though he admitted he was giving a run serious consideration, citing “very strong concerns for the future of my party and the future of the country.”
“People have asked me to give this serious consideration, and I think I owe it to those people to do just that, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m listening, coming to New Hampshire, and listening to people is a part of that process,” Hogan told a voter at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Politics and Eggs” Breakfast.
As for his path to the nomination, Hogan was circumspect, admitting steps taken by the Republican National Committee meant challenging Trump was an uphill battle. Earlier this year, the RNC said it was giving its “undivided support” to Trump. In February, committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said any primary challenger to Trump would “lose horribly.” And last week, the RNC announced it had merged operations with Trump’s re-election campaign.
Hogan told CNN, “That kind of stuff is gonna make it very difficult, but here in New Hampshire, for example, they like to be independent. They like to look at the candidates and kick the tires and meet people one on one, and I’m pretty good at retail politics, and that’s how I won my state with no money.”