Annapolis — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was sworn as the first Republican in nearly 50 years to win gubernatorial re-election in the state, which leans Democratic. Hogan, who is being encouraged by some anti-Trump conservatives to mount a Republican primary challenge against the president, focused heavily on national themes during his inaugural address.
Hogan had high praise for the late former President George H.W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and his own father, former Maryland Congressman Larry Hogan Sr., who also recently passed away. And while he lauded the way the three Republicans conducted themselves with "integrity" during their careers, he also seized upon the moment to decry the divisiveness just 30 miles away from the Maryland state capitol.
"Let's repudiate the debilitating politics, practiced elsewhere including just down the road in Washington, where insults substitute for debate," he said. "Recriminations for negotiations and gridlock for compromise — where the heat, finger pointing, and rancor suffocate the light," Hogan said to several hundred people gathered outside of the state house. "And the only result is divisiveness and dysfunction, where getting something done for the people no longer seems to be the priority."
During his speech, Hogan did not mention the head of his own party, President Trump, by name, but he did seem to allude to both Mr. Trump and to the impasse with Democrats over a government shutdown in its 26th day, and which has shown no sign of ending.
"People on both sides of the aisle refuse to give up even a little to get a lot done. And neither side wants to make progress. They just want to make demands, and win arguments. That is not governing. That is just political theater," Hogan said." And most of us are just sick and tired of all that drama."
Hogan was introduced by former Florida governor, and former 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush who said that the Maryland governor was " at the top of a list of leaders that I admire today, because what is happening here in Annapolis is the antithesis of what's happening in Washington, D.C., these days. Washington is not just our nation's capital, it's also the capital of gridlock and dysfunction."
"And with a divided Congress, it doesn't look like things are going to get much better any time soon. But life outside of DC isn't always that way," Bush added, referring to Hogan.
Hogan spoke last month to a conference of anti-Trump Republican moderates, an event which fueled speculation that he was considering presidential aspirations. Hogan was re-elected in November by double digits over Democratic opponent Ben Jealous.