Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) castigated President Donald Trump’s failure to act early in the coronavirus crisis that has now months later spiraled out of control, calling the President’s handling of the pandemic “hopeless.”
“Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless,” Hogan wrote in a scathing op-ed published in the Washington Post on Thursday, describing a man who instead of planning a federal response to the crisis as it ravaged other countries and increasingly his own, tweeted and talked “like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans.”
Hogan, who is the chairman of the National Governors Association — and has hinted at a 2024 presidential run — has established himself as a prominent Republican critic of the President. The GOP governor suggested in the op-ed that had the governors waited any longer for the President to take the reins in action against the spread of the coronavirus, they would be “condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death.”
The essay describes how Hogan watched as Trump “downplayed the outbreak’s severity “ and as the White House refused to issue genuine public warnings, failed to create a federal strategy that extended to all 50 states, and creeped along in the provision of medical equipment or ventilators from the national stockpile to hospitals in short supply across the country.
Hogan has been especially vocal in the past in criticizing the President’s claims about the wide availability of coronavirus testing, which Hogan ramped up in Thursday’s essay.
The op-ed, pointing at the “well-coordinated testing regimes” that were being rolled out in other countries, decried the Trump administrations “bungled effort” and “resulting disorganization,” which delayed mass testing for almost two months and left the United States “largely in the dark as the epidemic spread.”
Hogan’s essay comes as governors around the country have been given no other choice but to issue their own measures to get coronavirus outbreaks in their respective states under control in what Hogan calls “a patchwork response” — arguably netting varying levels of success.
“I did the best I could for Maryland,” Hogan said, also chronicling his own efforts to secure 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea with the help of his wife, Yumi Hogan, who was born there.
“It was hopeless, waiting around for him,” Hogan wrote, adding that governors had been told they were on their own — “it was sink or swim.”
Hogan said his move to secure tests from abroad provoked an attack from the President. Trump criticized those efforts and any others that implied his own incompetency. The President suggested in press conferences after the test kits were secured that governors like Hogan, who were urging him to drive up national testing efforts, were part of a political conspiracy to bring him down.
Read Gov. Hogan’s full essay here.