Hogan’s comments during a speech and interview at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute signal how the Maryland Republican will look to cast himself as a leader willing to take on his own party and move it in a different direction after four years of Trump.
“Tomorrow will be two weeks since we haven’t seen anything. The time has come,” Hogan said of when Trump should accept the result of the election. “More and more people, very close supporters and friends of the President are all giving him that advice. He is just not listening.”
Hogan has been a frequent Trump critic, but his decision to decry the Republican leader’s brand of politics in a speech just days after the President was defeated indicates how some Republicans, like the Maryland governor, are eager to move on from the outspoken President, even as it remains unlikely that the President will cede his role as a Republican leader in the years to come.
“We are not going to make up for five million votes in all of those states,” Hogan said of Trump continuing to make baseless claim of fraud. “It was a pretty overwhelming victory (for Joe Biden) at this point.”
Hogan used his prepared remarks on Monday to describe Republicans as a party in decline and unable to win over a majority of Americans with the current brand of conservatism in the White House. The Maryland Republican lamented the “angry divisive politics” practiced by Republicans.
“The truth isn’t always easy to hear,” Hogan said, but “divisive rhetoric and toxic politics are alienating large parts of the country and no one will listen to our message if they don’t believe that we are listening to them.”
The Maryland governor knocked the “political virtue signaling or preaching to the choir” that happens on the right, adding that his party is at a time for choosing, a nod to the speech Reagan gave on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964.
“Are we going to be a party that can’t win national elections again or are we willing to do the hard work of building a durable coalition that can once again shape our nation’s destiny?” Hogan asked.
Hogan had plenty of criticism for Democrats, as well. He described the party as one that “wants to impose radical solutions” and is just as much to blame for the heated rhetoric in Washington.
But his most biting criticism was for his own party, describing it as one that “all too often offers no solutions at all” and believes the only way to get elected is to “feed the extremes, to fire up the base.”
The thesis of Hogan’s argument was that leaders in Washington — notably those in the House and Senate — are not well positioned to chart a different course for the Republican Party because many have tied themselves closely to Trump.
By urging his party to look outside Washington for a new leader, Hogan, who explored the possibility of challenging Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, is essentially holding himself up as the possible leader of the Trump-less Republican Party and degrading the numerous Senators with eyes on that same role.
Hogan’s speech builds on a complementary opinion piece published on Monday, where the Republican leader wrote, “The Republican Party can once again come back stronger than ever before. But, just like in 1980, we need to look outside of Washington to do it.”
Hogan, unlike Reagan, is barely from outside Washington — Annapolis, the capitol of Hogan’s Maryland, is roughly 30 miles from downtown Washington, DC.
Hogan has been a frequent Trump critic throughout his presidency. The Maryland governor wrote in Reagan’s name for president in 2020 and most recently calling the President’s baseless claims of fraud in the election “really dangerous.”
“In the middle of this pandemic, this economic collapse, people dying across the country, to not know if we’re going to have a transition,” he said this month.
“There’s no transition, and how long is this going to go on?” he continued. “With no stimulus package getting done with, with no additional virus relief with, you know, it’s crazy. We’ve got to move on.”
Hogan decided in June 2019 that he wouldn’t run against Trump in 2020, after publicly considering it. When asked by CNN about running in 2024 this week, Hogan punted and said, “Let’s get beyond the 2020 race first.”
Hogan was first elected governor in 2014 and reelected in 2018. He is unable to run for governor again in 2022, due to term limits.