Maryland Gov. Hogan leans into GOP law enforcement split with digital ad on crime

WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been toying with a possible White House bid, is jumping into the Republican divide on law enforcement with a new digital ad touting his proposal to crack down on crime and “lawlessness."

The spot opens with a hard-edged stance on crime and law enforcement, showing clips of progressive Democratic “Squad” members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and promising to “reverse the tide of rising crime and disrespect to our law enforcement.” Hogan's appeal is akin to calls made by Trump and other Republicans in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the ensuing racial justice protests two years ago.

Since the FBI search last week of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump and many of his far-right supporters have now been lambasting the FBI and federal law enforcement, in response to revelations that he had held onto highly sensitive intelligence, possibly even involving nuclear weapons, and that he is being investigated by the Justice Department for potential violations of the Espionage Act and other possible crimes.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at the microphone.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at an event on April 18 in Kensington, Md. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Experts on online extremism have noted a steady uptick in violent threats against law enforcement since Trump and his supporters targeted them. An armed Ohio man who was reportedly at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 tried to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati last week and was later shot dead after a standoff. The FBI arrested a Pennsylvania man Friday after he allegedly stated he wanted to kill FBI agents and “water the trees of liberty with (their) blood.”

Hogan doesn’t address federal law enforcement threats in the spot, nor does he go to bat explicitly for federal law enforcement, but in an interview over the weekend on ABC’s “This Week,” he called the threats “absurd.”

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“First, we had the left talking about defunding the police and attacking police officers, and now we have the right saying: Defund these federal law enforcement officers. It’s absurd. It’s dangerous, because we saw the one incident already, but there are threats all over the place,” Hogan said.

Hogan spent last week in Iowa at the state fair, meeting with Republicans including Gov. Kim Reynolds. He took a trip to New England last month, with stops in New Hampshire, and he also met with former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Hogan has not yet announced whether he will run for president in 2024. He also dismissed suggestions that he should run as an independent rather than seeking the Republican nomination.