Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has branded President Donald Trump’s early reactions to the coronavirus pandemic as ‘hopeless’. The Republican politician took to The Washington Post to express his displeasure in an editorial that explained efforts to source enough testing kits and provide adequate care for those in Maryland.
Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, is not the only government official to come out and criticize the Trump administration’s handling of Covid-19 as the US continues to see sharp rises in cases across the country. Hogan, along with other state governors, have pushed back against Trump’s previous coronavirus claims and repeatedly called for more help for the states that need it.
In the article, Hogan spoke of his efforts that secured half a billion tests for the state of Maryland from South Korea. Governor Hogan was forced to enlist the help of his South Korea-born wife, Yumi Hogan, and the National Guard was brought in to protect the shipment of tests ‘like Fort Knox.’
“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,” Hogan said.
Hogan claimed that governors were working frantically around the clock to provide testing and adequate healthcare for the people of their states, but the Trump administration was unwilling to provide sufficient help, all while the President downplayed the whole pandemic in the media.
64-year-old Hogan also described how he called National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins while awaiting the approval of Trump for joint coronavirus testing at the agency.
Instead, Collins asked Hogan for help with testing and both parties were left in the lurch.
“We can confirm that Dr. Collins spoke to Governor Hogan on March 28 about possible collaborations with other Maryland institutions, in order to establish additional testing support for the NIH Clinical Center,” the NIH told CNN to confirm Hogan’s claims.
As the situation in the US deteriorated, testing kits promised to states by the Trump administration were delayed by weeks, leaving governors scrambling to secure what their people needed. Trump refused to shoulder the blame for the lack of testing and delay in equipment being delivered, instead pointing the finger back at governors and taking ‘no responsibility.’
Trump also heavily criticized the reactions of governments of other countries to the global pandemic, including Yumi Hogan’s homeland of South Korea. 74-year-old President Trump also incorrectly claimed that the US had done more testing than any other nation in the world.
“This should not have been necessary. I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals,” Hogan wrote in the article.
“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, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. I did the best I could for Maryland. Here’s what we saw and heard from Washington along the way.
“So many nationwide actions could have been taken in those early days but weren’t. While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort. The test used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention early on was fraught with inaccuracies, and onerous regulations hindered the nation’s private labs. The resulting disorganization would delay mass testing for almost two months and leave the nation largely in the dark as the epidemic spread,” the Maryland Governor continued.
“Meanwhile, 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 re-election plans,” Hogan went on to say.
“In the days and weeks that followed, as the coronavirus hit Maryland, we worked frantically, issuing executive orders, holding news conferences, calling other governors and federal infectious-disease experts, talking to local officeholders, strategizing with my senior staff — and constantly sanitizing our hands,” Hogan added.
“But the president was all over the place. He avowed, falsely, that “anybody” could get a test, even as my fellow governors were desperately pleading for help on testing. Then he shifted from boasting to blame. “We inherited a very obsolete system” from the Obama administration, he claimed, conveniently ignoring the fact that his own CDC had designed the troubled U.S. testing system and that his own Food and Drug Administration had waited a full month before allowing U.S. hospital labs to develop their own tests.”