The following is a transcript of an interview with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan that aired Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back. We are joined now by Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Governor, good to see you. Good morning.
MARYLAND GOV. LARRY HOGAN: Morning.
MAJOR GARRETT: So, you heard my conversation with the DNC Chair Harrison about "semi-fascism" as a label that President Biden has applied to Republicans. What do you think of that?
GOV. HOGAN: You know, I think it's that kind of divisive rhetoric on both sides that's really bad for America. And, you know, I've been talking about the toxic politics and when- if Republicans are calling Democrats, socialists and communists and we have the President United States calling Republicans fascist, I don't think it adds to the you know, the- the overall discussion, we all just talk about the differences we have on the issues and- and focus on the problems that most people in America want us to focus on.
MAJOR GARRETT: Real quickly, do you see any strains of authoritarianism in the Republican Party?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, there's no question we see some- some signs of that. And I'm, you know, one of the ones speaking out.
MAJOR GARRETT: Very good. Governor Hogan, thanks so much. Please stay with us. We will continue our conversation after a quick break. Here's a promise we will be right back with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and will also have a preview of the Artemis launch. Please stay with us.
MAJOR GARRETT: Welcome back to Face The Nation. I'm Major Garrett in for Margaret. We continue our conversation with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Governor, we started the show talking about not only the FBI search at Mar a Lago, but the affidavit that was released late this week. Many Republicans believe this is a political effort to harm and tarnish the reputation of former President Trump. Do you agree with them? And do you think the government has been transparent enough in this extraordinary set of events?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, it is an extraordinary set of events. It's never happened before with a former president and so the very first day I- I called for more transparency. And I thought it was a good idea for- for the Attorney General to finally come out and make comments, I thought it was a good idea for them to release some of the information on the affidavit. But we still don't know a whole lot. I mean, most of it was redacted. It didn't give us a lot of color. And so I think some Republicans are saying without you showing us more to it, we don't- we think it may be political.
MAJOR GARRETT: Are you satisfied?
GOV. HOGAN: No. I mean, I'd like to see more transparency.
MAJOR GARRETT: What would you like to see that you haven't seen yet?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, it's hard to tell, because in a- in a federal investigation, they've got to keep some things confidential--
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you want to know more about what the documents were?
GOV. HOGAN: We want to know whether or not it was justified or not. And so on the one hand, it could be, as some Republicans think, just, you know, just a political witch hunt. On the other hand, it could be really serious, you know, federal felonies. We don't know that yet.
MAJOR GARRETT: Where do you come down on that question: witch hunt or legitimate exercise of the federal government's legitimate, not only curiosity, but prosecutorial interest in the handling of sensitive documents?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, it's hard for me to imagine that--
MAJOR GARRETT: You haven't made up your mind on that?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, I think- I don't know that we have enough information yet. I think- it's hard to believe that the Justice Department, the FBI, would take steps unless they had something pretty serious that they were investigating. We just don't know the facts yet.
MAJOR GARRETT: Do you think there's any Republican hypocrisy, remembering the 'lock her up' chants from 2016 about Hillary Clinton and her email server?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, I think so. But I think there's also, you know, some of the argument that Republicans are making is that they didn't really take these kinds of actions- these steps--
MAJOR GARRETT: Then- they're taking them now.
GOV. HOGAN: Yeah.
MAJOR GARRETT: So you- so you side with Republicans who are still very deeply skeptical about this?
GOV. HOGAN: I understand why it's dividing the country and why Democrats and Republicans view it differently.
MAJOR GARRETT: As I understand your travel schedule, Governor, you're heading to New Hampshire again. You've been there before. You've been to Iowa. When you are announcing your 2024 bid?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, maybe this morning? No, I'm just teasing.
MAJOR GARRETT: Go right ahead. Governor.
GOV. HOGAN: I'm just gonna finish my term as governor.
MAJOR GARRETT: Why are you going to Iowa New Hampshire?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, I'm going to New Hampshire to help the Republican caucus, House Republican caucus up there. I'm helping candidates across the country but you know, it's great to get out and see--
MAJOR GARRETT: You are looking at it very seriously, true?
GOV. HOGAN: I think it's- that's probably an exaggeration. I think we're gonna finish the term as governor--
MAJOR GARRETT: Lukewarm looking at it?
GOV. HOGAN: Lukewarm, maybe lukewarm.
MAJOR GARRETT: Very good. In that context, as you think about what you may or may not do on the national stage, how either alarming or maybe giving you moment for pause, was it to see your preferred Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schultz lose in Republican primary for governor in your own state of Maryland? What does that tell you?
GOV. HOGAN: Well it was really sad. It was really sad, and it's what I've been talking about for two years that, you know, this should be a really huge year for Republicans just because of the failures of the- of the Democrats and who are in control of everything and Biden's low approval ratings, but we could blow it by nominating unelectable people and that's exactly what's happening across the country and why the wave is- is going to be more of a- of a ripple rather than a tidal wave.
MAJOR GARRETT: You called the winner in that Republican gubernatorial primary Dan Cox a 'Qanon whack job' and 'a nut.' I take it you're endorsing the Democratic nominee Wes Moore?
GOV. HOGAN: No, I'm not endorsing anybody in the race.
MAJOR GARRETT: Why not?
GOV. HOGAN: What I'm doing is helping--
MAJOR GARRETT: But you're bashing on the Republican nominee, isn't that the same thing?
GOV. HOGAN: I just told the truth. I- you know, when people ask me a question, I usually give them a direct answer. And I you know, made it very clear that this guy should not be the nominee and he shouldn't be governor. I would- I'm not getting involved in endorsing in the race. But this is not just Maryland. This is happening across the country. This is something that- it's why Mitch McConnell is saying that we may not win the Senate. It's why we were hoping to pick up seats in governor's races and now we're not. It's why we're- we're the margin in the house is so much smaller.
MAJOR GARRETT: It's curious to me, though, Governor, I mean, you won election and then you won reelection with a good number of Democrats in a blue state supporting you. They look to you in this question. You're gonna sit out and not tell them who you think the next governor of Maryland should be?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, I think they already have mind- I think they already have their mind made up. But yes, Maryland's only got 23% Republican. You know, and I had to win, you know, big- almost all the Republicans and independents and 25% of the Democrats to win but that- this- this candidate is not going to do that.
MAJOR GARRETT: So is for you, Governor Hogan, for the remainder of your active political life election denialism a litmus test?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, it's certainly something that we shouldn't be focused on. Look, I think the voters are going to decide on issues like inflation, like the out of control price--
MAJOR GARRETT: Would you endorse someone who denied that Joe Biden won the 2020 election?
GOV. HOGAN: No. No, I would not.
MAJOR GARRETT: Would you actively campaign against that Republican?
GOV. HOGAN: It depends on who they're running against, whether it was a primary or not. But I've been supporting folks all across the country and Republican primaries that we're running against candidates like that, because I think if the Republicans are to get any power back, we're going to have to start talking about the issues people care about and not re-litigating what happened in 2020, or denying things that are fact.
MAJOR GARRETT: So I want to talk about something that's somewhat topical in Pennsylvania and the governor's race there. GOP nominee Doug Mastriano posed for a picture in 2017 wearing a Confederate uniform, and this was part of a faculty photo at the Army War College. Mastriano has a PhD in history, the district he represents in the legislature includes Gettysburg, is this disqualifying in your estimation?
GOV. HOGAN: Well it's the first I've heard the story and I don't know the circumstances around it. But these are the kinds of problems that I think we're having. We have a similar situation in Maryland with an attorney general candidate a successionist.
MAJOR GARRETT: Not disqualifying, problematic?
GOV. HOGAN: It's very problematic, and it could be disqualifying.
MAJOR GARRETT: Could be disqualifying. Why? Explain to voters who are like what's the big deal? What would you say?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, again, I said, I don't know the facts regarding that. But this is just not the kind of way that Republicans are going to win races. That's for sure. And that's my big concern, and what I've been talking about for two years.
MAJOR GARRETT: So what is your assessment as Governor of Maryland, of the President's decision on student loan debt relief? Did he have the authority? Is it inflationary? Support? Against?
GOV. HOGAN: Well I'm not sure whether he had the authority or not, but I think it was the wrong solution to what is a real problem, but the wrong solution at the wrong time, because I agree, it's like throwing gasoline on a fire. Inflation is out of control. And it's a- it's an issue we've tried to solve in Maryland by holding the line on tuition by giving scholarships to community colleges, by removing the requirements for four year degrees, by trying to make interest deductible on your student loans off of your taxes. But just handing out money to people and being unfair to the people who worked hard to pay off their debt and put- pouring that money into the inflationary economy is really bad.
MAJOR GARRETT: Back to politics. If Republicans underperform in this midterms, how much of that will be credibly attributed and blamed on former President Trump?
GOV. HOGAN: Well, I think the focus away from the issues and on to President Trump and away from the future and back to the past is going to hurt Republicans. It's a matter of how bad it's going to be.
MAJOR GARRETT: What are your fears?
GOV. HOGAN: My fear is that we don't we don't win the Senate, that we don't pick up the gubernatorial seats and potentially lose them. And that I think will still take the House, but it's going to be closer than people think.
MAJOR GARRETT: Republican Governor Larry Hogan. pleasure, sir.
GOV. HOGAN: Thank you.
MAJOR GARRETT: Thanks for being with us and we'll be right back.
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