Maryland’s Republican governor said Thursday there was “no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office.”
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. made the remarks at a State House press conference in which he decried the mob siege of the U.S. Capitol building a day earlier as a “heinous and violent assault.”
Hogan said he was not sure what should happen logistically but that Donald Trump had proven himself unfit to remain in office and that Vice President Mike Pence should oversee an orderly transition of power.
“Over the last two months, the sacred tradition [of a peaceful transition of power] has come under attack from our own president,” Hogan said. “…Who has chosen to fan the flames of hate and mislead millions of voters through lies, and conspiracy theories, rather than face the reality of his own defeat.”
Hogan said that Trump had also abandoned his oath of office and fomented chaos.
“What we saw in the nation’s capital was not just an attack on the people’s representatives, our historic buildings, and our law enforcement. It was an attack on the rule of law,” Hogan said. “The foundations of self government and who we are as Americans. The mob may have shattered glass. But they did not, and they will not, shatter our democracy.”
Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) tweeted earlier in the day that Trump should resign from office.
Hogan also detailed on Thursday the state’s attempts to deploy National Guard members in Washington, D.C., which was delayed by a lack of authorization from federal authorities.
Hogan said he was in a video conference with the Japanese ambassador to the United States when his chief of staff came in to inform him that the U.S. Capitol was under attack. Hogan said he immediately called a meeting of his Unified Command Team, which includes Maryland’s top law enforcement, military and emergency response officials.
During that meeting, Hogan said he got a call from a panicked U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who said the U.S. Capitol Police was overwhelmed, that there was no federal law enforcement presence, and that the leaders of Congress were pleading with him for assistance.
“However, we were repeatedly denied approval to do so,” Hogan said at the State House press conference, flanked by Rutherford, Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard Major General Timothy Gowen, and Colonel Jerry Jones, superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
Under federal law, Maryland must receive approval from the U.S. Secretary of Defense before guard members can be sent over the border to respond to incidents in the District of Columbia.
“General Gowen was repeatedly being told by the National Guard at the national level that we did not have authorization,” Hogan said, detailing calls coming and going from his administration to D.C.
In the end, “none of us really spoke to the Secretary of Defense,” Hogan said, and it was the Secretary of the Army who called his cell phone and requested immediate assistance.
It took about 90 minutes before the state got that authority to move into the city, Hogan said.
“The initial contingent of Maryland National Guard members were the first to arrive in Washington from out of state,” Hogan said.
The governor announced Thursday that the Maryland National Guard’s mission in D.C. ― to protect and secure federal buildings ― will continue through Inauguration Day, which is Jan. 20, and the end of the month. About 500 state guard members remain in the city.
“I just want to assure all Americans that the state of Maryland will do anything and everything we possibly can to continue to secure the core of our nation’s capital,” Hogan said.
In light of political extremism, Hogan said security was also being increased around the Maryland State House complex as a precaution.
Hogan did not vote for Trump in either of the last two elections, and faced criticism in 2020 after casting a write-in vote for the deceased former President Ronald Reagan.
By Danielle E. Gaines
Letters to Editor
Nancy McNary Smith says
Failure of the Capital Police is a strong argument for DC statehood. Citizens of DC need and deserve protection and autonomy.