Maryland’s Republican governor strongly criticized President Donald Trump for his recent controversial comments about four freshman congresswomen of color, but he stopped short of using the word “racist.”
In an interview with WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan said “I thought the comments were terrible and very unbecoming of a president and totally inappropriate.”
Hogan has been critical of Trump in the past and even considered challenging him in a Republican primary in 2020, although he announced in June that he would not make that move.
Trump intensified his attacks on the women at a North Carolina rally Wednesday, putting racial polarization at the center of his call for voters, a move that hasn’t been seen by a presidential candidate since 1968.
Few Republicans have denounced Trump’s recent remarks, but the Democratic-led U.S. House voted Tuesday to condemn his “racist comments” in which he suggested that the congresswomen should go back to their own countries.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump said on Twitter.
The women — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — all were born in the U.S. except for Omar, who became a U.S. citizen after fleeing Somalia as a refugee with her family.
Democrats eased the resolution through the chamber by 240-187, joined by four Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent congressman.
All four Republicans in Virginia’s congressional delegation voted against the measure.
Maryland’s only Republican in Congress, Rep. Andy Harris, also voted against it and defended Trump publicly saying his comments were “clearly” not racist.
Republican operatives swiftly dispatched their own attacks on nearly 30 of the House Democratic freshmen who helped take the majority in 2018 by winning seats from areas that Trump also won in 2016. They are seen as the front-liners needed to retain control of the House, and many face tough reelection races in 2020.
Democrats believe Trump’s attacks will have the opposite effect, turning off the suburban voters, particularly women, who helped elect Trump but also turned out for Democrats last fall, giving Democrats control of the House.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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