Count Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as one of the few Republican elected officials willing to distance himself from GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
Hogan, who actively campaigned for his good friend Chris Christie until the New Jersey governor dropped out of the race, made clear in a series of interviews Thursday that he will not follow Christie in endorsing The Donald.
“I’m not endorsing Trump. I’m not really engaged in the process," Hogan, who was elected in heavily Democratic Maryland in 2014, told The Washington Post. In a subsequent sit-down with The Associated Press, he said he has no plans to attend the Republican National Convention this summer and has “no idea who I’m going to vote for.”
“I’m not a Trump fan,” Hogan told AP. “I don’t think he should be the nominee."
Trump has thrown the Republican Party into turmoil this election cycle, winning state after state by big margins while launching a seemingly endless series of personal and belittling attacks against his opponents, their spouses, immigrants, Muslims and others. His apparent encouragement of violence at his political rallies, and his slowness to distance himself from extremist groups who support him, has fueled an anti-Trump movement among donors and party leaders. But few current office-holders have said they would not vote for him if he is the GOP nominee.
For the last two weeks, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has issued repeated public statements asking Hogan to repudiate Trump. On Wednesday, the congressman hired a truck to ferry an anti-Trump billboard around the state capitol in Annapolis.
One side of the advertisement posed a question for Hogan: “Will you support Trump as the Republican nominee?” The other side proclaims, "Silence is an endorsement," followed by a statement attributed to Delaney, who is widely considered a potential 2018 challenger to Hogan: “Because everyone in Maryland will lose if Trump wins.”
Hogan said he saw the truck as it made its rounds. “I thought it was cute,” the governor said with a smile. “I’m not really engaged in the process. . . I don’t think every day about what Donald Trump is doing or what John Delaney has to say. I don’t really care. I only endorsed one guy and he’s out of the race.”
Hogan said he continues to be “disgusted” with the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats and has yet to talk to Christie about Christie’s endorsement of Trump. The two have only exchanged text messages, he said.
“It’s going to be an interesting conversation if I ever do talk to him, I’m sure,” he said.