Hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday in Annapolis outside the residence of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, demanding that he wield his status as a Republican governor of a moderate state to condemn President Trump’s Cabinet nominations as well as his order temporarily banning the entry of citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries as well as refugees.
Chanting “Shame, shame, shame!” protesters held signs with messages such as “Hogan, we’re WATCHING YOU!” and “Your silence is deafening,” according to videos posted online. On Twitter, the rally gained momentum with the hashtag #WhereIsHogan.
In an interview, one of the rally’s organizers said that more than 400 people attended, including two state senators. In addition to the travel ban, the crowd rallied against Trump’s choice of education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and chanted its support for the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.
“Governor Hogan is particularly well placed to call on Donald Trump to stop these actions. This state is against what Trump is doing, and he hasn’t said anything. It’s actually been incredible,” said Kyle Lierman of Silver Spring, a former senior policy adviser in the Obama administration who helped plan the event.
Lierman, whose sister is Maryland Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore), said that demonstrators rallied in front of the governor’s official residence on Lawyer’s Mall from noon to 2 p.m. but that Hogan made no appearance. Lierman said protesters included some of his former White House colleagues.
Hogan’s office released a statement that said the governor “is focused on making a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We look forward to seeing these same groups support the administration’s common sense and bipartisan initiatives, including legislation to strengthen our ethics laws, aid in the fight against heroin, and create thousands of jobs for Maryland’s hardworking citizens.”
Regarding the travel ban, his office said, “The governor appreciates and supports actions to make America safer, but it must be done in a manner consistent with American values.”
Prominent state Democrats — including Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) — have condemned Trump’s actions and have been calling on Hogan to follow suit, but they have been met mostly with silence. Late last month, after Trump issued the travel ban,spokeswoman Amelia Chasse released a statement saying that the governor’s legal counsel was reviewing the president’s executive order and that Hogan “likes to get the facts before he comments.”
Lierman recently posted a petition on the MoveOn.org website calling on Hogan to rebuke Trump’s ban, attracting more than 800 signers.
Some demonstrators took part because the ban hits home. Hena Zuberi, the editor in chief of Muslimmatters.org and a reporter for the Muslim Link newspaper, lives in College Park but was born in Pakistan and raised in Sudan. After Trump’s executive order, the State Department revoked nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals from seven countries, Sudan among them. The others were Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. A federal judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to stop the ban, but the Justice Department has indicated that it will fight the order.
Zuberi, who came to the United States as a 17-year-old to attend Wellesley College and graduated from the University of New Orleans, said Hogan’s silence has been hurtful.
“It shouldn’t be politics as usual. He needs to address his constituents — these are people from all parts of society,” said Zuberi, who is now a U.S. citizen. Citing the president’s remarks about U.S. District Judge James L. Robart, who temporarily halted enforcement of Trump’s travel ban, she added: “When Trump calls a federal judge a ‘so-called’ judge? It shakes the confidence in our checks and balances.”