Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley led a chorus of Democratic governors who on Thursday chided their Republican counterparts for not playing a more constructive role in the federal debt-ceiling negotiations.

“The silence is deafening from the Republican governors,” O’Malley said. “We need our Republican colleagues to stand up and say, ‘Enough’s enough.’ ... The dinosaur wing of their party is silencing the more moderate wing of their party.”

O’Malley’s comments came on the opening day of a summer gathering of the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City.

O’Malley, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, held a news conference with three colleagues from his party just prior to the NGA’s evening “welcome reception.” At the event, the Democrats warned of dire consequences for states governed by both parties if the United States defaults on its debts.

“They all know what this would do to their own bond ratings,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said of his Republican counterparts in other states.

The news conference was the start of a busy few days in Utah for O’Malley, who is trying to build his national profile.

He is booked as the keynote speaker at the Utah Democratic Party’s annual Jubilee dinner on Friday night and is leading an NGA panel on homeland security and public safety on Saturday.

Besides Malloy, O’Malley was joined at Thursday’s news conference by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D) and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D).

Perdue voiced concern that federal budget cuts that are part of a late-hour debt-reduction agreement could also be damaging to states and said she and her colleagues are closely monitoring the situation.

O’Malley left Maryland early Thursday morning on a flight with his wife and an aide, and he plans to return Sunday.