Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan abruptly walked away from a CNN interview Monday when anchorman Don Lemon harshly questioned the state’s response to the city’s race riot.
Lemon challenged the timing of Rawlings-Blake’s request for National Guard troops in the city, asking why it took so long.
“We’ve seen what happens when other jurisdictions have over-reacted and brought in resources that escalated the violence in the street,” Rawlings-Blake said. “And when we saw the break-out violence in the small groups, we realized it was time to bring in additional resources.”
Lemon repeatedly questioned why the city and state allowed the situation to get out of control by not failing to take more aggressive action.
“Now is not the time to question what happened in the past,” Hogan said. “We’re here to fix what’s happened now.”
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Lemon said he “respectfully disagrees” as he and Hogan spoke over each other.
Clearly annoyed, Hogan explained the measures the state is taking, such as activating a state of emergency and bringing in outside law enforcement to restore order.
“Why didn’t that happen on Saturday, when the emergency order had been signed?” Lemon pressed.
“It wasn’t signed until today, when the mayor requested us,” Hogan snapped.
“Your office said it was signed, so that was inaccurate,” Lemon said.
Becoming more irritated, Hogan answered, “We had the order prepared and ready to sign.”
Rawlings-Blake added that she waited because the people deserve a right to protest. “The fact that people exploited the opportunity to protest with violence and looting doesn’t mean that I don’t have the duty to protect people’s right to be heard,” she said.
As the interview dragged on, it became apparent that Lemon believes Baltimore’s leaders waited too long, and the situation could have been contained more quickly.
Hogan’s visible agitation showed that he had better things to do than spend time answering the same question over and over.
“People will feel the city’s safe,” Hogan said. “We’re going to get this done.”
When Lemon tried to ask how police will enforce a curfew when the schools are closed, bringing more youth onto the streets, the governor abruptly thanked him for his time. The pair walked away, taking off their earpieces.
Lemon described the governor and mayor as “touchy” after the interview.