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FIRST ON FOX – Potential 2024 presidential candidate Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will tout his handling of the 2015 Baltimore riots in an upcoming speech, as he seeks to position himself as a tough-on-crime leader within the GOP.
Hogan will make the remarks at the Reagan Foundation and Institute “Time for Choosing” speaker series event May 3, where he’ll say his government “followed the Reagan Doctrine of peace through strength.”
Meanwhile, Hogan’s 501(c)(4) An America United is releasing a video to mark this week’s anniversary of those riots that highlights Hogan’s aggressive response to the crisis, as cities nationwide deal with rising crime.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced he will not run for U.S. Senate during a news conference on Feb. 8, 2022, in Annapolis, Maryland. (AP Photo/Brian Witte, File)
“I have declared a state of emergency,” Hogan says in a clip from 2015 in the video, which begins with a compilation of news clips and video from the riots. “I’m moving the governor’s office to Baltimore City first thing in the morning, we’re bringing our entire cabinet. We’re bringing all the assets we can. We’re gonna get this under control, the city will be safe.”
“Baltimore City families deserve peace and safety in their communities,” he says in a different clip in the video.
Gov. Larry Hogan discusses the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at the state Capitol in Annapolis, Maryland, July 22, 2020. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
The video includes shots of Hogan in Baltimore during the response to the riots and a video of a man saying that Hogan “showed up” to take care of the city during the emergency. Hogan continues in the video to tout his approach of “peace through strength” and compare Baltimore in 2015 to the destructive riots that hit other big cities, including nearby Washington, D.C., in 2020.
“When Baltimore needed a leader to secure the peace, Gov. Hogan showed what it means to put people before politics,” An America United Executive Director David Weinman told Fox News. “Seven years later, as cities across America suffer the consequences of failed leadership in the summer of 2020, America needs more leaders to recognize that strength and compassion do not have to be mutually exclusive.”
The 2015 riots in Baltimore followed the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man, in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Several police officers were charged in his death for allegedly arresting him under false pretenses and failing to properly restrain him in the back of a transport, but none were convicted.
Police and demonstrators gather in the aftermath of rioting following the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, on April 28, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)
Hogan harshly criticized former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake for her city’s handling of the riots and led a major mobilization of state resources to restore order in the city. The governor’s strained relationship with Baltimore’s leaders continued more recently with rhetorical clashes with state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, who Hogan argues isn’t doing enough to cut down on crime in the city.
Hogan recently endorsed Mosby’s tough-on-crime Democratic primary challenger Thiru Vignarajah to be Baltimore City’s state’s attorney – another move in Hogan’s effort to position himself as a law-and-order candidate.
The speech and ad from Hogan come at a time when crime rates and safety in U.S. cities are major political issues. That was underscored by a shooting in a Brooklyn subway this month that left at least 29 people injured.
The “Time for Choosing” series included several other potential 2024 GOP contenders, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
An America United also released a campaign-style digital ad this month on his time as Maryland’s governor, as Hogan continues to take the kind of steps that could set him up for a 2024 presidential bid.