EXCLUSIVE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in his upcoming memoir titled "Still Standing," dispenses scathing criticism of former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and others over their handling of the city's 2015 riots, an event that foreshadowed the widespread racial unrest seen in other American cities in recent weeks.
Several chapters addressing the 2015 riots were obtained by Fox News in advance of the book's publication later this month.
The Republican governor describes the rapid mobilization of the state police and National Guard as he and his advisers realized the seriousness of the situation brewing in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, and he shares his mindset as he dealt with the crisis just months into his first term as governor. He also talks about the human side of attempting to heal the divided city, quoting advice he received from then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about the need to be a "consoler in chief."
But Hogan, whose book has fueled speculation about possible 2024 ambitions, also doesn't hold back criticism of officials he says either didn't help the situation or made it worse, with Rawlings-Blake front and center.
Hogan, throughout the chapters, returns again and again to actions and comments from the then mayor that he characterizes as either too meek in the face of a growing crisis or out of touch with reality. Hogan used the word "dreadful" to describe comments Rawlings-Blake made in the early stages of the riots about giving "those who wished to destroy space to do that as well."
"What did she just say? 'Space' for 'those who wished to destroy'?" Hogan wrote. "I could hardly believe my ears. ... In other words, unless the gang members and the out-of-town agitators injured or killed someone, the mayor was going to let them destroy property and cause other kinds of mayhem. It was as close to a hands-off response to urban violence as I had ever heard from a political leader. It was dangerous and reckless, and it threatened innocent lives and property."
Rawlings-Blake, Hogan wrote, was a consistent problem as he attempted to restore order to his state's largest city. According to Hogan, she resisted a state declaration of emergency until Hogan pressured her into acquiescing to one; attempted to prematurely remove the citywide curfew in Baltimore until Hogan threatened to go on television and "say that the mayor has completely lost her mind, and as governor in a state of emergency, I am immediately reinstating a curfew;" and failed to have the backs of police officers who were responding to the violence in her streets.
"'The mayor abandoned us,'” Hogan quoted a police officer in the hospital as telling him. "'She ordered us to stand down. We were sitting ducks out there. We needed to defend ourselves the way we were trained to.' He started to cry." Read more at FOX News