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Md. governor hopeful Dan Cox says he would use state police against Biden

The Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee calls the FBI search of Trump’s residence ‘nothing short of communist stasi police state tactics’

Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox on Tuesday called the FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s residence “criminal” and said if elected he would use the full force of government — including the state police and Maryland National Guard — to oppose President Biden.

“As governor I will use the 9th and 10th Amendments, the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights, the MSP and Maryland Guard to stand against all rogue actions of this out of control tyrannical Biden administration with fierce tenacity,” Cox (R-Frederick) said in a fundraising email to supporters, describing the government’s actions as “nothing short of communist stasi police state tactics.” “Our children, families and loved ones and the freedom we cherish and is our birthright as Americans demand we oppose these criminal acts of this current administration.”

Cox, who was endorsed by Trump, won the Republican gubernatorial primary last month against Kelly Schulz, a protege of term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R), in what was viewed as a proxy war between Trump’s and Hogan’s divergent views for the Republican Party’s future.

Cox, an attorney and one-term state delegate, extensively fought against Biden’s 2020 victory. The day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Cox called then-Vice President Mike Pence “a traitor” on social media but later apologized for his choice of words.

In his email Tuesday, Cox accused Biden, Vice President Harris, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland of “using their offices for their own political weaponization against Republicans” and against Trump, whom he described as “our greatest President of the United States.”

Late Monday, the FBI searched a safe at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, apparently in connection to an investigation of the potential mishandling of classified documents. Many Trump supporters have lashed out over the search, labeling it as an abuse of power and calling for an investigation of the Justice Department.

White House officials said Tuesday afternoon that Biden was not aware that a warrant had been issued for the search.

Cox’s response stands in contrast to that of Hogan, a prominent GOP Trump critic, who on Tuesday afternoon implored the Biden administration to document how the search was authorized. “Even before yesterday’s events at Mar-a-Lago, America was already dangerously divided,” Hogan said in a statement.

“These are unprecedented circumstances that require unprecedented transparency and accountability from our government institutions. The American people deserve to know all the facts as soon as possible, and I call on the Biden administration to release — at a minimum — the documents authorizing the FBI search.”

Failing to “provide overwhelming evidence that action was absolutely necessary,” Hogan warned, will further undermine Americans’ faith in democracy.

Hogan, as he weighs a potential presidential bid, has sought to woo disaffected Republicans to his brand of pragmatic conservatism that he likens to President Ronald Reagan’s approach.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) — who presents himself as a moderate while also throwing red meat to the Trump base of the Republican Party — also weighed in on the search at Mar-a-Lago, posting a hard-right take that called it a “stunning move.”

“This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists and failed to enforce federal law to protect Justices in their homes. Selective, politically motivated actions have no place in our democracy,” Youngkin posted on his personal Twitter account, invoking two other topics that appeal to conservatives beyond Virginia. First was the Biden administration’s effort last year to investigate reports of threats and harassment at school board meetings in Loudoun and other parts of the country after a letter from the National School Boards Association referred to the incidents as “domestic terrorism.”

Youngkin also made reference to protests earlier this year outside the Northern Virginia homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices when a draft version of a decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked to the public. At the time, Youngkin drew criticism from some conservatives for failing to deploy the state police to halt protesters, but the governor said the state had no power to intervene and called on federal authorities.

In Maryland, Cox’s win has exposed the divisions within the state GOP.

In the last two election cycles, voters embraced Hogan at the ballot box, but Cox, with his Trump-aligned views, faces an uphill campaign to be Maryland’s next governor. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in the state, which votes deeply blue in presidential elections but in recent cycles has swung between the parties in governor’s races.

Maryland Democrats were quick to pounce on Cox’s comments, calling them evidence he’s not ready to lead the state.

“Marylanders want a responsible leader who is focused on the issues that affect local families and communities, but Dan Cox blindly puts loyalty to Donald Trump and his harmful MAGA agenda above all else,” Maryland Democratic Party spokesperson Ernest Bailey said in a statement. “He has repeatedly shown that in times of crisis, he will seek to inflame tensions and feed into partisan divisions. That does nothing to solve the problems facing working families and is wrong for Maryland.”

Gregory S. Schneider in Richmond contributed to this report.

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