“It’s crazy. We got the former president to persecute all these really good Republican elected officials and so I’m trying to support people who I think deserve to be in office,” Hogan said. “We’re trying to help people wherever we can and I’m sure we will do a lot more of that. “
Hogan, who briefly flirted with a major far-reaching challenge against Trump in 2020, has begun building a national political infrastructure. Last year his supporters formed An America United, a nonprofit group that promotes the governor as a non-partisan problem solver. Unable to run for another term for governor next year, Hogan has also started meeting with donors and speaking at national GOP events. In May, he is due to speak on the future of the Republican Party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute’s Time for Choosing Speaker Series, a forum that has drawn a number of would-be 2024 candidates.
His focus has also been on helping the Republicans who took on the former president. Hogan’s nonprofit organization has started running digital ads to Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) The challenger receives financial support from tech billionaire Peter Thiel, a prominent conservative financier who met with Trump several times over the past year .
The list of Trump critics Hogan wants to endorse also includes New York MP John Katko, another of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment of the former president following the January 6th Capitol Riot. In response, Trump has called the Congressman – who has long held one of the bluest Republican seats in the House of Representatives – “bad news” and offered to fight him.
“The people who don’t overturn the elections or buy the big lie are under attack. That’s why I want to stand up and help them, but it’s a real problem for the party, “said Hogan, who urged Trump to resign after the January 6 siege of the Capitol.
The governor expressed concern within the GOP that Trump’s campaign of revenge against the Republicans he branded as his enemies could undermine the party by pushing candidates through primaries that will not be viable in the general election. In Georgia, Hogan claimed that by attacking Kemp and assisting a major challenger, Trump “may vote”. [Democratic candidate] Stacey Abrams as governor. “
Hogan also argued that Trump’s decision to support a major antagonist of Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, a Republican co-governor of the blue state, contributed to Baker’s decision not to stand for re-election. (Baker, a popular Massachusetts figure whose resignation could hand over the governor’s mansion to the Democrats in November, insisted that he was not “shaken” through Trump’s participation in the race.)
The governor also alleged that Trump’s attacks on Arizona governor Doug Ducey had undermined the GOP’s prospects to recruit Ducey for the Senate race against incumbent Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly, potentially making the party a high-profile candidate in a competition was deprived of control of the board.
“I think the biggest threat to Republican success next year … is Trump, and Trump is canceling the culture of what he’s trying to do to screw up these races. And if we ask people to blindly swear allegiance to Trump, we will lose a few races, ”argued Hogan.
“I think it’s having a terrible impact, so I’m trying to do my part to contain some of the damage,” he added.
In Maryland, the race to succeed Hogan is also the scene of a proxy battle between the governor and the former president. While Hogan has pledged his support for former Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, Trump supports Dan Cox, a state delegate who has railed against mask mandates. In his statement in support of Cox, Trump named Hogan a “RINO” – an acronym for Republican In Name Only – who was horrific for our country and against the America First Movement.
Hogan fired back, saying he would “prefer advocacy from people who didn’t lose Maryland by 33 points,” referring to Trump’s defeat in the state.
A 2024 offer from Hogan would be decidedly uphill given Trump’s continued vise-like influence on the GOP. But the governor has argued that there is an opening in the party for a Trump critic. Aside from Hogan, few potential Republican hopefuls were ready to take on the former president. The roster includes Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney and most recently former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who, like Hogan, won two terms in a liberal state.
Hogan said he was particularly focused on helping his fellow Republican governors, two of whom – Kemp and Idaho Gov. Brad Little – aim to defeat the former president. It’s possible the list will grow even longer: Trump met with Alabama Republican Lynda Blanchard, who poses a key challenge to Governor Kay Ivey despite not yet supporting her.
“I am ready to help any of them,” said Hogan. “I’ll try to do whatever I can, whatever you ask of me.”