GOP governor predicts Trump's grip on party will finally end this year: 'The people he's endorsing are going to lose'
Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Term-limited Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), in the clearest indication that he has presidential aspirations, is blunt in his assessment of Republican prospects in the 2024 presidential election: "We won’t win back the White House by nominating Donald Trump or a cheap impersonation of him. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

That's the major takeaway from a speech that Hogan will deliver Tuesday at the Reagan Library in California as part of the "Time for Choosing" conservative speaker series. Axios reviewed an advance copy of Hogan's remarks. He said he expects perhaps 15 or more Republicans to jump into the 2024 primary field - although he wouldn't confirm whether he plans to be one of them - and is not convinced that the former president will be among them. While most, if not all, of those contenders will pander to Trump's "base" to secure the nomination, Hogan said, "I want to go in a completely different direction, and I think that lane is wide open."

Hogan has openly clashed with Trump, particularly on the government's coronavirus response efforts, and the former president has repeatedly labeled him a RINO - Republican in Name Only. It's a badge that Hogan appears only too proud to wear.

After this year's midterms, he told Axios, "People will not be nearly as afraid and won't feel like it's a requirement to pair with what Trump's saying or need his endorsement to win an election because, I think, most of the people that he's endorsing are going to lose."

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"Trump is the 800-pound gorilla," he added. "He's still popular among many segments of the base... but it's diminished dramatically since the election."

The Maryland governor also acknowledged to Axios that Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is the unidentified target ("cheap impersonation") of some of his harsh criticism of fellow Republicans in his speech. "If I were to give political advice to Ron DeSantis," he said, "I would say he should just focus on getting reelected in Florida."