Maryland governor says GOP needs ‘bigger tent’ after Trump

FILE - In this June 3, 2020 file photo, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces he will lift an order that closed non-essential businesses during a news conference in Annapolis, Md. Hogan, who considered a primary challenge to President Donald Trump last year, announced Tuesday, July 7 he is releasing a book about national politics and his experience as governor. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, File)
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A Republican governor rumored to be eyeing a run for the White House in 2024 said Sunday that the GOP needs to be a “bigger tent party” after President Donald Trump leaves office.

Maryland’s Larry Hogan, who has been known to break with Trump, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t “know what the future holds in November.”

“But I know that the Republican Party is going to be looking at what happens after President Trump and whether that’s in four months or four years,” Hogan said. “And I think they’re going to be looking to, ‘How do we go about becoming a bigger tent party?'”

The rebuke was a rarity from Republicans, who have largely been afraid to criticize a president still popular with the GOP rank-and-file despite questions about how he has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hogan did not rule out voting for Joe Biden, the Democrat challenging Trump in the November election. In 2016, Hogan wrote in the name of his father, a former Republican congressman from Maryland.

“It’s a difficult choice,” he said. “I think most people would like to see something different, and maybe we’ll figure that out in 2024.”

The governor pointed to his 2018 reelection as a model, when he won in deep-blue Maryland by almost 12 percentage points “by reaching out, by trying to find that middle ground where people can stand together” and by eschewing “divisive rhetoric.” He also noted that he did well with suburban women, a group that polls suggest has largely abandoned Trump.

Hogan also raised questions with Trump’s decision on Friday to commute the sentence of longtime political ally, Roger Stone, who had been convicted of lying to help the president, and said “it’s certainly going to hurt politically.”