Transcript: Maryland Governor Wes Moore on “Face the Nation,” June 16, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with Maryland Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat, on “Face the Nation” that aired June 16, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we turn now to the Democratic Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore. He joins us from Annapolis. Happy Father’s Day.

GOV. WES MOORE: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it. Happy Father’s Day to everyone watching.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Governor, you reopened the Port of Baltimore this past week, just three months after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. How long will it take before full shipping traffic returns and you see that benefit to your economy?

GOV. MOORE: Well, the benefit has already started. And… and I’m so inspired by the work that this state has done. I mean, we’re showing that we’re doing big things in Maryland. Because I know people were saying that morning that it could take six to nine months, up to a year, for the federal channel to be released. And what many people said would take eleven months was completed in eleven weeks. And that’s because we worked together. And so the fact that the Port of Baltimore has reopened, the fact that the entire federal canal, 700 feet by 50 feet deep, now has full access, is an extraordinary achievement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the federal government has provided some support here as well. I have read reports that the cost of rebuilding the bridge could be nearly $2 billion. Is that accurate?

GOV. MOORE: You know, I can tell you that the Biden administration has been phenomenal partners. So we know the estimated cost could be between $1.7 and $1.9 billion. And the reason we’re pushing for a federal cost share, and a 100% cost share, is simply because we need to act quickly. And I have to get this done on time and on budget. We know that in order to act quickly, we need to get a 100% cost share. So we spend time working with members from both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans. But to know that if we can work together in this moment, we will get something very important done for the American economy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Congress would still have to sign that. And President Biden has promised, as you just said, to use federal dollars to rebuild, but we’re getting very close to an election. Do you believe that you will get that support and that the funds will be allocated before we see a possible change in governance?

GOV. MOORE: I’m incredibly encouraged by the amount of support we’ve received from both Democrats and Republicans. And I am confident that we will get this done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about another tragic death in your state. A Maryland mother named Rachel Morin was murdered last August, and a suspect in the murder was arrested yesterday in Oklahoma. He is a 23-year-old from El Salvador and Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said he had ties to a criminal gang and had killed another woman in El Salvador. Listen up.


SHERIFF JEFFREY GAHLER: To 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and to every member in both houses of Congress. We’re 1,100 miles away in Harford County. We are 1,800 miles from the southern border. And American citizens are not safe because of failed immigration policies.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I know the sheriff is a Republican, Governor, but do you hold the federal government partly responsible for the death of this Maryland resident?

GOV. MOORE: My heart is broken for the Morin family. Like our entire state. She should still be here. And- and the sheriff is absolutely right. I mean, we have an immigration policy that needed to be addressed, but it hasn’t been. And the consequences then fall on us as the highest executives of our state, the consequences fall on us as leaders of our individualized jurisdictions. And we know we need to fix broken immigration policies. And we know we need Congress to take action on this. And this is why this has been so incredibly frustrating is that when you have a bipartisan coalition made up of both Democrats and Republicans, literally going to any lengths to get a deal done, because you have a… If President Trump said that this was not politically advantageous, the deal would have failed. There is incredible frustration. And this is what people don’t like about politics. We need to get this deal done, and we need Congress to act on it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The president recently took executive action to try to close the border by essentially cutting off asylum applications. I know the ACLU just filed a lawsuit to stop him. Do you agree with the president’s decision?

GOV. MOORE: I agree with the executive action, I also know it won’t be enough. And this is not politics, politics should not get in the way of public safety. And I know for all of us who are dealing with the downstream consequences of broken policies, we know that we know – and thus – we know that we need Congress to take action on this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: On the politics front, I know you’re a surrogate for President Biden and you’re helping with his campaign. You were recently in Philly with him as part of a strategy to shore up support among black voters. According to our CBS polls across the country, President Biden is actually tied with Donald Trump, but among Black voters, Mr. Trump has 18% support. That is double the level he achieved in 2020. So why do you think this is rising?

GOV. MOORE: Well, I think there’s a bigger challenge that we see among African Americans, and especially among African American men. That’s an American problem. And I think we also have to understand the history of all of this, that, you know, I’m the… I’m the governor of Maryland, in a state where we have an eight-to-one racial wealth gap in the state of Maryland. And we know that this is not because one group works eight times harder. I know that I am the governor of a state where our largest city, Baltimore, is the cradle of redlining and historic redlining, where home assessments and the values ​​and ability to purchase a home were based on racial lines. And so these are long-standing challenges and long-standing problems that, frankly, our country has not yet fully addressed. What we see now with President Biden is that we actually have plans and not platitudes to tackle these problems. So when you look at the president focusing on things like homeownership, where we have one of the fastest growing rates of homeownership that we’ve seen in the last 20 years, the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses, and especially for Black men, that we have now seen in 30 years. These are plans that actually bear fruit. And these are the kinds of things we need to be able to acknowledge.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Governor, there’s more to discuss with you, but we’ll have to leave it at that. Thank you for your time today. FACE THE NATION will be back in a minute. Stay with us.