Maryland Democrats guarded, Republicans angry in wake of Trump conviction

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

A day after former President Donald Trump’s historic convictions, Maryland Democrats were calling for trust in the system Friday while most Republicans were calling the case a travesty.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-1st) called the verdict “a travesty of justice and a blatant attempt by the Biden Justice Department to jail a political opponent in the middle of an election year.”

But Democrats said Trump got his day in court, and lost.

“Donald Trump’s unanimous conviction on 34 counts proves that our system of justice is not a respecter of position, power, or privilege,” Rep. Kweisi Mfume  (D-7th) in a statement. “Even if it is the former president of the United States on trial, this case proves that no one is above the law.”

At least four other Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation used the phrase “no one is above the law” in their defense of the trial and verdict.

Trump was convicted Thursday on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to cover up an affair with adult film actress, Stormy Daniels.

The conviction, in a Manhattan court on New York state charges, marked the first time a former president has been convicted of criminal charges.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee, vowed to appeal the ruling that he called a politically motivated “scam.”

That language was echoed by many Republicans in the state.

Maryland Republican Party Chairwoman Nicole Beus Harris called the jury decision the product of “a two-tiered justice system which is broken and corrupt.” A letter from seven GOP delegates – Matt Morgan, Brian Chisholm, Kathy Szeliga, Lauren Arikan,  Mark Fisher, Ryan Nawrocki and Robin Grammer – did not mince words, calling it a “political prosecution” from a “kangaroo court” and a “left-leaning prosecutor” that is turning the U.S. justice system into a “third world parody of law and order.”

Not all Maryland Republicans agreed. Notably, former Gov. Larry Hogan, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate this fall, parted sharply with other state Republicans.

“Regardless of the result, I urge all Americans to respect the verdict and the legal process,” Hogan said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “At this dangerously divided moment in our history, all leaders – regardless of party – must not pour fuel on the fire with more toxic partisanship.”

Few of the responses to Hogan’s post were kind. Trump’s campaign adviser, Chris LaCivita, responded simply to Hogan that, “You just ended your campaign.”

An official with Hogan’s campaign said the former governor, who has long said he will not vote for Trump, did not have reaction to LaCivita’s comment.

Jason Johnson, a political science professor at Morgan State University, said Hogan’s position is hot surprising, given his difficult position of running for Senate as a Republican in a blue state like Maryland.

“He was always going to have trouble, right, like … Maryland is a reliably blue state during presidential elections,” Johnson said. “And so he was always going to have this challenge of, how do I get you to only look at me as a candidate while not paying attention to what’s happening over there at a national level?

Johnson explained that, in Maryland at least, the Republican Party’s image is tarnished by Trump.

“If you are a Republican and you’re running in Maryland, right now, you don’t have a lot of pathways to victory, because the people don’t like what the Republican Party has become under Trump,” Johnson said.

– Maryland Matters reporters Bryan P. Sears and William J. Ford contributed to this report.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up