OCEAN CITY, MD — Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday that it is not his place to tell cities across Maryland how to deal with statues of historical figures who, for many, represent a legacy of slavery and racism.
“We’re not going to tell every jurisdiction what to do,” said Hogan (R). “They have to make the decision for themselves.”
Before dawn Friday, the 145-year-old statue of former U.S. chief justice Roger B. Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision supporting slavery, was hoisted from its perch outside the State House in Annapolis. Hogan and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) had called for its removal after the deadly violence in Charlottesville last weekend.
The Maryland State House Trust, a panel that oversees the capitol grounds, voted to take it down. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who sits on the board with Hogan and Busch and was opposed to the removal of the statue, did not cast a vote.
Earlier this week, Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president and a candidate for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, called on Hogan to push for the removal of all Confederate statues across the state. Hogan said that as a member of the Maryland State House Trust, he has a role in what stands on the public grounds of the capitol, but that it is not up to him to decide whether other monuments should be removed.
Hogan said earlier this week that he changed his mind about the Taney statue after he watched white nationalists rally in Charlottesville against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee there. The demonstrators chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans, and one of them is accused of fatally striking a counterprotester with his vehicle.