Republican Governor Asks, Why Didn’t Trump Help My State?

In an op-ed Thursday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan described his state’s experience with COVID-19. He talked about the president’s assurances that everything was under control, that testing was available, and that the pandemic would blow over quickly. However, that wasn’t the experience of Americans, Hogan says.

donald trump did not help maryland says governor
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – APRIL 17: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that all state public schools will remain closed until May 15. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Writing for the Washington Post, Larry Hogan is clear in his dismay that the Federal government failed to step up for the American people, leaving individual states to figure out their own answers.

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. 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.

Hogan describes working with South Korea’s President Moon to get testing kits for Maryland — and Trump’s subsequent criticism of the wffort.

Moon’s team helped to cut through miles of bureaucratic red tape and connected us directly with executives at LabGenomics, a molecular diagnostics company. We explained what we were trying to achieve in Maryland and how desperate our need was. The LabGenomics people seemed to understand.

I thought we might get a congratulatory word from the president. Trump always had a taste for bold gestures — but, apparently, only for bold gestures he could claim. The president spent much of the following Monday’s White House briefing criticizing me and dismissing what we had done.

He notes that he only made these efforts to acquire testing kits his own way after Donald Trump declared that it wasn’t the Federal government’s responsibility, and that governors should — as Hogan did — figure it out for themselves.

Hogan has been pushing the Federal government to respond decisively to the pandemic crisis, and has urged his state’s citizens to take the matter seriously. Earlier this week, he contacted (PDF) leadership of counties in Maryland to press for enforcement of public health measures, warning that willfully noncompliance is a risk to everyone.

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