Maryland’s GOP governor: ‘Why didn’t Trump help my state with coronavirus testing?’


JULY 16, 2020

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized the President Trump in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday, describing how the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was inadequate and did not provide testing resources, prompting the state to outsource COVID-19 tests from South Korea.

“Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way,” Hogan wrote in the op-ed published Thursday.

Hogan said that the president downplayed the potential impact of the virus early on. He said the country missed the opportunity to prepare while other countries were experiencing outbreaks.

“So many nationwide actions could have been taken in those early days but weren’t,” Hogan wrote. “While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort.”

Hogan said that while the threat was escalating, “instead of listening to his own public health experts, the president was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans.”

Hogan, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, continues in the op-ed to say that the governors were briefed by public health officials such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who told them the disease was dangerous and highly contagious.

“It was jarring, the huge contrast between the experts’ warnings and the president’s public dismissals,” Hogan said. “Weren’t these the people the White House was consulting about the virus? What made the briefing even more chilling was its clear, factual tone. It was a harrowing warning of an imminent national threat, and we took it seriously – at least most of us did. It was enough to convince almost all the governors that this epidemic was going to be worse than most people realized.”

The Maryland governor has been one of the few GOP leaders who has publicly broken with Trump and criticized the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

In an excerpt from his recent memoir, Hogan makes a similar comment, stating that the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic has been fractured, with the president contradicting health officials.

“It’s mixed messages – bouncing from one message to the other,” Hogan said. “[Trump’s] entire administration is telling everyone to take it seriously while he tells everybody to not take it seriously,” Hogan wrote.

Hogan also told the New York Times that he is considering a presidential run in 2024, hoping to attract more supporters to the Republican party.

Hogan said that as coronavirus cases began popping up in the state in March, he contacted the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federal organization located in Maryland. The NIH told him they did not have enough tests for their own staff and immunocompromised people. The governor said that the organization asked him if he could help them acquire more tests.

“I could only shake my head at that,” Hogan said. “The federal government – a much bigger and better-funded institution, with tens of thousands of scientists and physicians in the civil service – wanted my help!”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Courtesy/Source: The Hill