Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday praised Senate Republicans who broke with the party ranks and voted against former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, saying if he were a senator, he would have done the same.
“I’m proud of them because sometimes it’s not – it’s not easy to go against your party and the base of your party and the former President and – but it’s hard to do the right thing sometimes, but I think I’m proud of those folks that did take that decision and put the country ahead of party or personal affection or whatever,” Hogan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
The comments from the Republican governor come in the wake of Trump’s Saturdya acquittal and as Republicans grapple with divisions over the future of the party. Seven GOP senators joined 50 Democrats in voting to convict the former President of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, and 10 Republicans had sided with House Democrats to impeach Trump a week after the deadly riot.
Many Senate Republicans made the constitutionality argument in their votes to acquit, allowing them to avoid casting judgment based on Trump’s conduct. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Trump’s actions on the Senate floor after the vote, but said said he voted to acquit because he did not believe convicting an ex-president was constitutional.
Hogan, who has been outspoken critic of the former President, also told Tapper there will be a “battle for the soul” of the Republican Party for years to come.
“I think the final chapter of Donald Trump and where the Republican Party goes hasn’t been written yet, and I think we’re going to have a real battle for the soul of the Republican Party over the next couple of years,” Hogan said.
“And we’re going to say, ‘Are we going to be a party that can’t win national elections again, that loses the presidency, the House and the Senate in a four-year period and loses governors and state legislative bodies? Or are we somehow going to get back to a real traditional Republican Party, common sense conservatives that want to argue and put up – you know, to push for the things that we’ve always believed in and to try to compete with Democrats?” Because I think a competitive two-party system is so important to our democracy and we’re losing. There’s no question about that.”
CNN’s Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.