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‘I’ve seen the work that we can actually get done’: Maryland Gov. professes unwavering support for Biden

Tens of thousands of Marylanders could receive pardons for their marijuana convictions in what Gov. Wes Moore described at the 鈥渕ost sweeping state-level pardon in any state.”

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore talks about ongoing work at the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse site, as well as the last day of the state's legislative session, during an interview with The Associated Press in his office on Monday, April 8, 2024 in Annapolis, Md., (AP Photo/Brian Witte)(AP/Brian Witte)

Moore joined 今日看料’s Anne Kramer and Shawn Anderson on Monday to talk about the impact of the pardons, and he reiterated his unwavering support of President Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate for the White House.

Listen to their conversation below and read the transcript. The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on pardons for marijuana convictions and his unwavering support of Biden

Shawn Anderson: What have you been hearing from those whose convictions were pardoned and how they are hoping to go about their lives?

Wes Moore: I think for so many people whose convictions were pardoned, it’s a game changer for them. Because we had a system that was making every sentence a life sentence, which especially didn’t make sense, because the thing that they were convicted of, is no longer illegal. And in fact, I announced last week that cannabis, just for the past year, has now become a billion-dollar industry in the state of Maryland. And so you cannot talk about the benefits of legalization, if you do not wrestle with the consequences of criminalization. So I think for those who received the pardon, and again, it’s 175,000 cannabis convictions that have now been pardoned, the largest in our country’s history. I think this was a game changer for them and their families.

Anne Kramer: When it comes to expungement, governor, how would that work? And is that something you could consider in the future?

Wes Moore: Yes, so about 40,000-plus people got their record expunged, just with the conviction. And now there are some who, there is still a expungement processes they have to go through. The governor, while you have pardon power, you don’t have expungement power in the same way. And so, while over 40,000 people now got their record expunged, the remainder will just have to go through a simple process. Now that they have the pardon, it’s really more of a simple formality they need to go through. But at the same time, I want to be clear that what we did with this mass pardon 鈥 this is a first step. We still need to right a lot of historical wrongs that have happened in the way that we have used cannabis as this cudgel, and particularly when it comes to communities of color with the criminal justice system.

Shawn Anderson: Let’s switch gears here to President Biden and the continuing calls by some prominent Democrats in some regards to have him step aside from the reelection so another candidate can be chosen to run against former President Trump. You were at an important meeting last week with the president at the White House. You have been one of his staunchest defenders. Almost a week has passed since then. The president and the White House continue to do damage control. Do you think the president has done enough at this point to convince your fellow Democrats and donors to the campaign that he is in it for the long haul?

Wes Moore: No, I think the president is going to have to continue working the way that he’s working now. Going out to not just donors, and not just elected officials, but also to community members, and to people who live in neighborhoods and explain what becomes a vision for the next four years. I think that the uncertainty is still there, and frankly, what we’re watching is unsustainable. We’ve got to get to a point when this conversation is about the binary choice between the president and, frankly, someone whose vision for this country is downright dangerous. And so we’ve got to get to that point.

But I can tell you right now that my support for the president, it’s unwavering, because I’ve seen what a partnership with President Biden looks like. I’ve seen the work that we can actually get done together when you’re looking at the results that we’ve seen here in the state of Maryland. And my advocacy for making sure that we defeat Donald Trump in November, it is completely unwavering.

Anne Kramer: Governor, what about President Biden physically and mentally makes you so confident he is up to the rest of this race when the calls keep growing larger for people who say they want him to step aside?

Wes Moore: Well, I think President Biden continues to give us examples. He was in Pennsylvania yesterday. He was in Wisconsin before that. He continues to be on the road and meeting people where they are. I think that matters.

And I think when you look at the results that his administration has continued to provide, I think that matters, too. I mean, since I’ve been the governor, we’ve seen over 40,000 new jobs in the state of Maryland, record low unemployment rates, a record drop in crimes and homicides that we’ve seen in the state of Maryland. Baltimore City, for example, the last time the homicide rates were this low in Baltimore, I wasn’t born yet. That’s happened in partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration. And so I think you’ve continued to watch an administration that sees us and supports us as local leaders and as community members. And I think that people will continue to see him on the campaign trail making his case.

Shawn Anderson: We understand that you were on an election donor call with the president this afternoon. When you talk to donors, because they are as nervous as some of the lawmakers who are expressing their doubts, what do you say to them? What about that donor call? What did you have to say to them?

Wes Moore: Well, what I said is, I got a chance to see what partnership looks like in the president and I don’t do disloyalty. And particularly when it comes to people who have stood with us in some of our lowest moments. I explained to the donors, and I said that a little under four months ago, I received a phone call that no chief executive ever wants to receive. And that was that 13% of my economy was now shut down. And tens of thousands of workers were hours away from waking up and realizing they didn’t have a job. And there were six Marylanders who weren’t accounted for. All of that happened when the Key Bridge collapsed.

I know that my first phone call from the White House came at 3:30 that morning, and that I had a president later on that day, stand up in front of the country, and say, ‘Gov., we’ve got you. We’re going to be with you every step of the way.’ And he’s been true to his word.

The thing I wanted to share with everybody is this is a president who is true to his word. And that matters to me. People who have integrity, that matters to me, and that’s why I continue to support him, and hope that we can get another four years.

Anne Kramer: Gov. Moore, last question for you. You met with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, what was that all about?

Wes Moore: It was wonderful, because Canada’s not just our largest export trade partner. But I think the values that they have pushed and that the Prime Minister continues to push are ones that I respect. And so it was a wonderful chance to connect with him, to hear more about the economic prospects that we have in the state of Maryland. We are watching how Maryland’s economic growth and what we’re seeing right now 鈥 it is real, and having a trade partner like Canada in everything from construction to agriculture, to high tech and AI, it matters. Being able to continue to build that relationship, not just with the leadership, but then also with the country, is something that’s incredibly important to the economic prospects here in the state of Maryland.

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