Gov. Hogan Is In Trouble After After Call To ‘Respect’ Trump Verdict

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan faces a tough challenge in his bid for the U.S. Senate, a challenge made more difficult by his recent remarks on Donald Trump’s New York trial. To regain footing, Hogan needs to clearly oppose the politically charged prosecution against Trump.

Hogan recently stated that Americans should “respect” the verdict from Trump’s New York trial, a statement that many Republicans see as a significant blunder. The trial has been widely criticized for its partisan nature, with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg bringing 34 felony charges that were initially viewed even by some Democrats as weak and inappropriate.

Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the trial, has been accused of running a biased court. His rulings allowed questionable prosecution testimony while excluding key defense witnesses, leading to a quick guilty verdict from a jury in a heavily anti-Trump jurisdiction.

Hogan’s path to the Senate requires maintaining Republican support while appealing to independents and some Democrats in a predominantly Democratic state. His recent ad emphasized his independence, claiming that neither party could count on his vote. However, his perceived support for the Trump trial verdict risks alienating Republican voters.

To recover, Hogan must denounce the political motivations behind the trial. While he has been a vocal critic of Trump, he must show that he stands against using the legal system for political purposes. This would demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law and align him with broader Republican values.

In 2016, politicians like Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Joe Heck lost support by distancing themselves from Trump after the Access Hollywood tape release. Hogan should avoid repeating this mistake by not endorsing politically motivated legal actions.

The Republican Party can accommodate figures like Hogan, who oppose Trump, but it cannot support those who endorse what many see as show trials. Potential Hogan supporters value the rule of law and equal justice, and Hogan must reflect these values to gain their support.

In 2024, defending politically motivated trials is unwise and unprincipled. Hogan must decide if he aims to be a moderate voice in the Senate or if his goal is to damage Republican chances by echoing Democratic narratives. If he wants to win, he must oppose lawfare.

Hogan doesn’t need to be as fervent as Trump defenders like Sen. Mike Lee or Sen. Marco Rubio, but he should at least match the tempered critiques from figures like Mitt Romney. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his potential successor Sen. John Thune have criticized politically motivated prosecutions.

Hogan must assert that elections should be decided by voters, not through politically motivated trials. If he cannot do this, Republicans should reconsider their support for his campaign, as his current approach offers little hope for success.