Hogan, who was just months into his first term as governor when riots erupted in Baltimore over Freddie Gray’s death at police hands in 2015, boasted on the call about his efforts to defuse that violence by dispatching thousands of guardsmen and state troopers.
“I think showing those troops, people start to scatter,” Hogan said.
Some top Democrats on Tuesday said the governor’s private comments to the president stand in contrast with his public statements.
Earlier this week on CNN, Hogan said protesters have “legitimate concerns and frustrations” and called George Floyd’s death “murder in a police uniform.”
He added that the president’s threats of violence against protesters was “the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House,” and said that “kind of escalates the rhetoric.”
On Monday’s call, though, Hogan said protesters in Baltimore “may be afraid” to respond the way they have in other cities across the country because of the show of force he demonstrated during the riots that followed the death of Gray.
While protests over Floyd’s killing have turned violent in the District, protests in Baltimore have remained largely peaceful.
On Tuesday, however, in a Baltimore radio interview, the governor credited the peaceful protesters, who he said learned from “the pain of 2015,” with stopping “agitators” from destroying their city.
House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) said Tuesday that Hogan’s comments are the antithesis of how he portrays himself — “as being above politics.”
“What he says to the residents of Maryland is vastly different from what he says to President Trump when he thinks no one back home is listening,” Jones said in a statement.
Hogan is widely popular among Democratic voters in Maryland, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin. He won a second term in 2018, a year when a blue wave swept across the country.
A spokesman for Hogan did not comment on the criticism Tuesday.
Jones said Hogan’s reaction to the Floyd protesters also stands in contrast to his lack of response to those who rallied at state houses across the country calling for governors to lift pandemic restrictions.
“I didn’t hear Governor Hogan calling for military force when armed white protesters demanded that other states reopen,” she said.
Hogan said on the call that he agreed with U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr’s suggestion to file federal charges against protesters.
“It’s difficult holding some of these cities with the prosecutors and the judges we have, to get convictions even on violent crimes, let alone these kinds of things,” Hogan said.
While Hogan said that there were “a lot of peaceful demonstrators” in 2015, there were also “organized and professional agitators” who appeared to have “honed their craft.”
During Tuesday’s radio interview, Hogan addressed the comments he made to the president, saying he “brought up the issue of peace through strength because it’s what we did last night and was what we did in 2015.”
The disconnect between Hogan’s public and private comments has frustrated people who long advocated to help Maryland’s black community get closer to achieving equity in schools and policing.
Some of Hogan’s policy choices undermine those goals, critics say. In May, he vetoed a massive overhaul of public schools designed to fix the subpar public education delivered to many minority children in Maryland. Hogan said the $4 billion annual price tag for the program, known as Kirwan, was too expensive and reckless to enact when the pandemic has cratered the economy.
The governor also vetoed bills aimed at reducing violent crime in majority-black Baltimore, saying the legislature should have passed his proposals instead, which included tougher sentences for gun offenders and public tracking of sentences handed down by judges.