WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan expected to brief House and Senate leaders on his budget for the next fiscal year, but Wednesday’s breakfast date was broken when Democrats were a no-show.
And later in the day, an angry state Senate president accused the governor of breaking with protocol.
On the Senate floor, Sen. J.B. Jennings, the minority leader, said he was disappointed that the Democratic leadership — including Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch — skipped out on the breakfast.
“We have big issues before us,” Jennings told Miller. “We all need to be rowing the boat the same way, and not having some people there made it a little tougher.”
That brought a sharp reaction from Miller, who said, “You’re my friend, but you’re not Sean Spicer,” referring to President Trump’s former press secretary. “It’s impossible to defend the indefensible.”
Jennings asked what was indefensible about his observation, and Miller explained that the governor had broken with protocol.
Miller insisted that, in the past, governors invited members of both parties for the breakfast.
Then the Senate president injected race into the issue, saying, “He has Democrats as well as Republicans. He does not have five white men at the breakfast when he explains the budget! He has a diverse group. This is the Senate of Maryland.”
In a statement released after the Senate adjourned, a Hogan spokeswoman issued a statement: “Ultimately, we’re not really interested in bickering over a breakfast,” it read. “Our team stands ready to brief legislative leaders on the governor’s budget anytime.”
She added that the governor’s team looks forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Hogan briefed reporters on budget priorities Tuesday. He released the budget briefing books, with details on the $44 billion budget, Wednesday after holding the breakfast meeting.