BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Comments were deleted and at least three people say they were banned from posting on Govenor Larry Hogan’s Facebook page after a flood of digital requests asking the Republican to speak out against some of President Donald Trump’s stances.
Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer told The Baltimore Sun that the press staff deleted comments about Trump to prevent “coordinated political spam attacks from infiltrating and hijacking the page.”
“We have an obligation to the 146,000 people who like the governor’s page to keep the conversation fresh, appropriate, and on topic,” he said.
Hogan was vocal about not supporting Trump’s candidacy and didn’t vote for him, but he’s stayed largely quiet on the administration’s actions since the Jan. 20 inauguration.
A spokeswoman has issued a vague statement, saying the Hogan administration supports strengthened vetting that also upholds American values.
Julie Caverly, 59, and two others, told The Sun they were barred from commenting on Hogan’s page altogether after their Trump comments were deleted.
Mayer told The Sun that sometimes, even people not involved in a coordinated commenting effort get banned from the page, too.
“Occasionally, individuals who are not part of a coordinated spam campaign have inadvertently had comments removed that contained similar content, which is unintended and unfortunate, but it’s ultimately the fault of the spammers,” clarifies spokeswoman Amelia Chassé.
But keeping some people off of Hogan’s Facebook page didn’t stop hundreds of others who physically gathered outside Hogan’s residence Sunday, also urging him to speak out against Trump’s policies and cabinet nominees.
Some held signs that said, “Your silence is deafening.”
The Sunday crowd also rallied against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for education secretary and urged Hogan to support the Affordable Care Act, which Trump promises to repeal.
Aides say more than 2,500 people also called Hogan’s office last week asking him to take a position on the travel ban.
(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)