(CNSNews.com) – Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) shouldn’t take all the blame for the blight in Baltimore, but the congressman “could do a lot more to help us.”
“I don't think you can put all the blame of Baltimore City on Elijah Cummings, but I also think he could do a lot more to help us. I think everything we've been trying to do at the state level, I’d love to have more help from the White House and from the Congress, frankly, to help the state go in there and help the city. It's really a city problem, but they can't do it by themselves,” he said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
Host Bill Hemmer asked Hogan despite his opposition to the way Trump “put it out there,” whether the president’s tweets helped bring attention to the problems in Baltimore.
“I think that could be the silver lining,” Hogan said, adding that he “didn't think the kind of angry attacks on Twitter were appropriate.”
“I just happen to believe that we ought to focus on the problems and the solutions, which is what we're doing today with the U.S. attorney and the administration,” he said.
Hogan said Baltimore is facing a drug problem that is prevalent in urban cities across American, “mostly fueled by the opioid and fentanyl crisis.”
He credited the Trump administration for “working together with us.”
“We brought together 26 federal and state law enforcement agencies and sent in 500 additional police officers into Baltimore City to back up the beleaguered city police force. We made 2,000 arrests including taking 260 of the most violent repeat offenders off the streets of Baltimore, but it’s just a start. We’ve got serious, serious problems in Baltimore,” Hogan said.
The governor agreed with former Republican Gov. Rob Ehrlich, who told Fox News that Democrats in the Maryland Legislature seemed to be satisfied with dysfunctional public schools.
“I can tell you I agree with a lot of that sentiment. We have put about $5 billion into the city of Baltimore. We’ve invested more in the schools. We’ve put more into helping them do crime-fighting,” Hogan said.
“We've torn down 4,000 blighted buildings. The state has come in to scrape them out of there, because it has a lot to do with crime and cleaning up these neighborhoods, but I had tough legislation we put into the legislature for tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders to get them off the streets, because we keep arresting them,” he said.
“The city and police force and the feds and the state keep arresting these folks, but it's a revolving door of catch and release and they keep going back on the streets,” the governor said.
“That's a policy that’s gotta change,” Hemmer said.
“The legislature refused the take the bill up two years in a row I've been pushing for tough sentences for repeat offenders, and they say no,” Hogan said.
As CNSNews.com reported, Cummings called Baltimore “drug infested” during a congressional hearing in 1999.
“That is 20 years ago. The words weren't the same, but you could argue they were quite similar,” Hemmer said comparing those remarks to that of the president.
“That's the hypocrisy here, but look, I think everyone would agree that Baltimore City has got tremendous problems and as bad or worse than any city in America. And it's great we're finally focused on some of these things. I would just take exception-- I think we could make more progress without the exact wording that was used. The wording wasn't exactly the same,” Hogan said.
“I don’t think anybody’s gonna argue that Baltimore City’s got tremendous problems, and we gotta figure out how to fix it. The city leadership has not been able to do that, and it’s gonna take some help from Elijah Cummings, his colleagues in Congress, from the folks in the administration in the White House, and from us at the state level, because the city can't handle it,” the governor said.