Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said former President Donald Trump should not seek the White House in 2024 and urged fellow Republicans to resist nominating a “cheap impersonation” of Trump in the 2024 presidential primary race.
“I don’t think he should run,” Hogan told CBS News in a recent interview at the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, Maryland. “It’d be better for the party if we moved on and looked toward the future.”
Hogan, 65, taunted Trump, musing about whether the 75-year-old former president would be inclined to give up his retirement and risk losing another election.
“I just think he’s enjoying playing golf five or six days a week. I think — his ego wouldn’t take losing another election,” Hogan said. “And I think he’s not getting any younger.”
Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential contender, also warned Republicans against rallying behind a Trump ally in the next presidential election, arguing that would alienate many voters.
“We don’t need Donald Trump and we don’t need somebody that’s a cheap impersonation of Donald Trump,” Hogan said.
When asked if he would define Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a conservative who has become popular with Trump supporters, as a “cheap impersonation,” Hogan said there is “a long list of people who could fit into that.”
“Ron DeSantis has to win his reelection first down in Florida and we’ll see what happens in ’24,” he added. “But, you know, I just think we ought to go in a different direction.”
Hogan, a two-term Republican governor in a historically Democratic state, is attempting to carve out his own political space on the national stage during his final year in office, with speeches and endorsements nationwide that lean in a traditional Republican direction.
It will likely be an uphill challenge in the party, where many elected officials and candidates continue to echo Trump’s nationalist agenda ahead of this year’s midterm elections and seek out his endorsement in competitive primaries.
But Hogan said he will keep speaking out against Trump and offer another path. On Tuesday evening, he will deliver a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, outlining his message for his party.
CBS News asked Hogan if there is room for him in today’s GOP, which has been so dominated by Trump and his allies. Hogan replied, “I guess we’ll find out” in the coming years.
“I believe that there is a big chunk of folks out there that are really frustrated with the direction of our party and frustrated with what’s going on in Washington today with the Democratic majority,” he said. He speculated that about “35 percent” of the Republican voter base nationally is open to a break from Trump-style politics.
At this early stage in the 2024 jockeying, Hogan is part of an informal bloc inside the GOP that is seen as a possible counter to Trump or a Trump ally in the 2024 presidential primary. That group, united by criticism of Trump and their ties to traditional Republican politics, includes New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who is vice chair of the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
Another possible rival to Hogan, should they both run in 2024, is Hogan’s friend, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. While Christie has been a Trump supporter, he has been critical of Trump’s refusal to concede to President Joe Biden and of Trump’s continued false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
Hogan predicted those more Trump-like candidates are all “going to be fishing from the same pond” in the run-up to 2024, and that could leave a “wide open lane” for others to win support in the race.
Still, Hogan acknowledged that it might be necessary for his wing to consolidate ahead of 2024, should Trump or another figure make gains as the favorite of the populist right, perhaps with some of the more moderate or traditional candidates sitting out the race to give their brand of politics a better chance at the nomination.
“I think we’re all trying to see what role we can play in moving the party forward,” Hogan said of his party’s wing. “But… it would make more sense if we had some agreement on what each person is going to do and who’s got the best shot.”
Hogan told CBS News if Republicans keep embracing Trump, they risk political insanity.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said. “You know, it was a terrible four years for the Republican Party. We lost the White House. We lost the Senate. We lost the House. We lost governors. We lost state legislative bodies. And I want to get back to winning again.”
Hogan said he would make a final decision on a 2024 bid sometime next year.
In the meantime, several upcoming primary elections for Congress and governor will— and whether Republicans who have fallen out of favor with Trump can weather Trump’s endorsements of their rivals.
In Georgia, Hogan is supporting incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who is facing a challenge from the right from former Sen. David Perdue, who has put Trump’s false claim about the 2020 election at the center of his campaign.
Hogan called Trump’s sharp criticism of Kemp and others who have not contested the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election “outrageous, “absurd and ridiculous.”
When asked what statement it would send to the party if Kemp wins, Hogan said it would show “you don’t have to be afraid of Donald Trump and that you don’t need his endorsement to win an election.”