Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan isn't ruling out a primary challenge to Trump

Why Larry Hogan might challenge Trump in 2020

Larry Hogan isn't ruling out a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020. The Maryland governor known for his straight-talking style was re-elected in November by double digits in a blue state with one of the largest minority populations in the country.

In recent months, the 62-year-old has renewed his concerns about President Trump and earlier this week his state became the only one led by a Republican governor to sue the Trump administration over the national emergency over border security.

"You know, I think the president made some real mistakes here and I don't think declaring this, using the declaration of emergency powers is the right thing to do and I think it should be challenged," Hogan told CBS News correspondent Ed O'Keefe. "We've exaggerated what's going on at the border … but we do have some issues down there."

Hogan is being encouraged by some anti-Trump conservatives to mount a Republican primary challenge against the president – encouragements he's hearing out.

"I was just sworn in a month ago for my second term … I've got a lot of work to do here in Maryland … I would say I'm being approached from a lot of different people and I guess the best way to put it is, I haven't thrown them out of my office," Hogan said.

Standing up to a president of his own party is something the governor learned from his father, Lawrence Hogan, who in 1974 became the first Republican congressman to publicly call for Richard Nixon's impeachment.

"Republicans were mad as heck at him for decades and the White House was pretty furious … but, in retrospect, people say, 'man, what courage,'" Hogan said. "I probably learned more about integrity in one day from watching my dad during that crisis than most people learn in a lifetime."
 
Hogan believes many in today's Republican Party have forgotten his father's lesson.

"I do believe that there are people in Congress and other leaders in the Republican Party who have not stood up when they disagree or when they think that the president is doing something wrong. I've not been afraid to do that," Hogan said.

Asked if President Trump is fit to be president, Hogan said, "Look, I'm not in any position to judge the fitness of the president … I've been pretty clear, I don't like the tone that the president uses. I think there are times where he acts irrationally, and makes decisions and ... does things in a way that aren't great for the Republican Party, or for the country, or for him and his agenda, for that matter. I mean, I think sometimes he can be his own worst enemy."  

In 2016, Hogan was one of the most high-profile Republicans to withhold support for then-candidate Trump's nomination. Little has changed since then for Hogan who said, "I haven't become more supportive than I was four years ago."

Hogan also issued a warning of sorts – what he called "friendly advice" – if Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report were to come back with troubling evidence.

"I think you would see a number of potential challengers in the Republican Party consider jumping in."

Hogan is set to take on a far more prominent role in the coming months as head of the National Governors Association. As part of that job, he is scheduled to visit Iowa early next month.

As we like to say in this business, nobody in politics visits Iowa by accident.