A swarm of protesters flooded Annapolis this past weekend urging Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to speak out against President Trump’s immigration ban. Many concerned residents also posted to his Facebook page asking him to break his silence.
In response, Hogan’s team deleted these comments and marked them as spam, according to the Baltimore Sun.
While governing a blue state that gave Trump about 34 percent of its vote in November, Hogan, a Republican, has separated himself from Trump’s presidency. This includes Trump’s travel ban, which in late January barred citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and refugees for 120 days. A federal judge in Seattle temporarily halted the ban Friday.
For some Marylanders, Hogan’s avoidance of the topic is concerning.
“If making ‘state government more transparent’ means scrubbing negative posts, then indeed you are meeting your goal,” one commenter wrote on Hogan’s Facebook page. “Unfortunately, it’s simply deceptive to remove posts that aren’t in line with your narrative. We are not paid protestors [sic], we are not anarchists, we are concerned citizens of Maryland.”
A spokeswoman from Hogan’s office issued a statement that the governor’s administration supports “‘strengthened and more clarified vetting’ that also ‘upholds our American values,'” the Sun reported. Hogan’s office could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Freshman Ish Gonzalez said any comment from the governor is better than none.
“I would appreciate if the governor released some sort of statement — anything so we could understand where his values align, and what he sees as important or not important,” the criminology and criminal justice major said. “Especially at a time like this, that’s important.”
Conversely, sophomore finance major Noah Miller said Hogan avoiding talk of the Trump administration is a “smart political game” given his position.
“He is very much an independent governor who ran on a Republican ticket,” Miller said. “He was open about his support for [Chris] Christie, so I believe he’s treading a very careful line with Maryland Republican voters who tend to be very much in favor with the GOP party line.”
Many Democratic legislators have openly expressed their opposition to Trump’s ban in past weeks, including U.S. Sen. Chris van Hollen, District 4 Rep. Anthony Brown and District 5 Rep. Steny Hoyer.
EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this story attributed a quotation to Chad Steele. Chad Steele is a fictitious name provided to The Diamondback by sophomore finance major Noah Miller. His name and this article have been updated.