Election 2020

Maryland Gov. Hogan: If Mueller Report Dings Trump, 'Number' of Potential GOP Challengers Would Surface

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers remarks at his inauguration ceremony Jan. 16, 2019, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that he’s being urged by conservatives opposed to President Trump to challenge the incumbent for the Oval Office in 2020, and he’s hearing them out.

Noting in an interview aired on CBS this morning that he’s just beginning a second term and has “got a lot of work to do here in Maryland,” Hogan added, “I would say I’m being approached from a lot of different people and I guess the best way to put it is, I haven’t thrown them out of my office.”

Hogan won a second-term in his deep-blue state in November, beating Democratic challenger Ben Jealous by more than 12 percentage points. He is currently vice-chairman of the National Governors Association, in line to move into the top spot soon.

The GOP governor did not support Trump in 2016. “I haven’t become more supportive than I was four years ago,” he said.

“I do believe that there are people in Congress and other leaders in the Republican Party who have not stood up when they disagree or when they think that the president is doing something wrong. I’ve not been afraid to do that,” he said. “…I don’t like the tone that the president uses. I think there are times where he acts irrationally, and makes decisions and … does things in a way that aren’t great for the Republican Party, or for the country, or for him and his agenda, for that matter. I mean, I think sometimes he can be his own worst enemy.”

Pressed on whether Trump is vulnerable within his own party, Hogan acknowledged between 70 and 80 percent support for the president among GOP primary voters.

“I don’t know what that’s going to look like three months, six months from now depending on how he might soften. The issue I’m concerned about is he has a very low re-elect number, I think in the 30s, high 30s, low 40s. So the chance of him losing a general election are pretty good. I’m not saying he couldn’t win but he’s pretty weak in the general election,” Hogan said.

The governor added that “at some point if he weakens further, Republicans would say we’re concerned about whether or not he’s going to win if we’re going to face a very far-left Democratic nominee, and is he going to take the rest of us down with him if you’re an elected official.”

Hogan noted that if special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report yields troubling information about Trump, “I think you would see a number of potential challengers in the Republican Party consider jumping in.”