Maryland’s newly elected Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, who many believe has ambitions for higher office, was thrust into the national spotlight on Tuesday and reacted to the first catastrophic event on his watch when a container ship toppled a bridge causing several deaths.

This morning, our state is in shock and I want to take this moment to speak directly to the people of our state,” Moore, who took office in January of last year, said during a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“To our first responders. I’m in awe of you. I’m in awe of all of your courage and all of your strength. I’m in awe of everything you do for each and every one of us. You saw a crisis and you said, what can I do to help? And our response teams are doing everything in our power to rescue and recover the victims of this collapse, literally, as we speak, people who, as we speak, are out there, our divers, our air assets. People right now working to save lives and are doing it because the state asked and we will update the public as the work continues.”

Moore was reacting to news and video of a large container ship slamming into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the Baltimore harbor on Monday night sending the bridge crashing into the water.


The crew of the cargo ship, originating out of India, issued a mayday in the moments before the disaster in time for authorities to stop traffic from entering the bridge, limiting the number of vehicles involved in what officials have called a “mass casualty event.”

“We’re thankful that between the mayday and the collapse that we had officials who were able to begin to stop the flow of traffic so more cars were not on the bridge,” Moore said. 


Authorities said a crew of eight construction workers were on the bridge, in addition to any traffic at the time of the collapse. It is unclear exactly how many people were killed in the accident but at least 6 people are unaccounted for after 2 were rescued from the water.

The catastrophe represents the first test where Moore’s leadership will be thrust into the national spotlight a little over a year after he won the Maryland gubernatorial primary with President Biden’s help on the campaign trail and then defeated Republican Dan Cox by over 30 points.


Moore is widely considered a potential presidential candidate in the future and the Washington Post recently reported on his “national buzz” and soaring popularity during his successful gubernatorial campaign that made him the first Black governor of the state. 

Moore, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and a Rhodes scholar, served as a captain in the United States Army before spending time as an investment banker and has labeled himself a “social moderate and strong fiscal conservative.”

In a post on X on Tuesday, Moore said, “We are Maryland tough. We are Baltimore strong. In the face of danger, we hold out. In the face of heartbreak, we come together, and we come back stronger. That is what we’ve always done. That’s what we will continue to do.”

The bridge collapse shut down traffic in the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the country, which is expected to cause significant supply chain issues going forward as the wreckage is removed from the scene and the bridge is rebuilt. 

The I-695, which ran through the Francis Scott Key Bridge, is also a critical link for trucking and motor vehicles linking Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York and the disaster comes ahead of the upcoming Easter Weekend.

“I’m grateful to call each and every one of you not just colleagues, but I’m grateful to call you friends,” Moore said during the press conference. “And to the people of Baltimore, and each and every one of the 6.3 million Marylanders who call our state home, I recognize that many of us are hurting right now. I recognize that many of us are scared right now and so I want to be very clear about where everything stands.”

Moore continued, “We are still investigating what happened, but we are quickly gathering details. The preliminary investigation points to an accident. We haven’t seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack. Our administration is working closely with leaders from all levels, government and society to respond to this crisis and not by just by addressing the immediate aftermath, but also by building a state that is more resilient and a state that’s more safe. That is our pledge and that’s our commitment, and we’re going to keep that commitment.”