Hogan’s strong criticism of the President’s response comes as the number of coronavirus cases accelerates across the US and as states take preventive measures into their own hands on how to slow spread. Hogan, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, has called for more help for the states and has openly pushed back on Trump about the pandemic, including the President’s claims about the availability of coronavirus testing.
In the Washington Post article, Hogan said he watched as Trump “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.” He also detailed his efforts to secure 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea with the help of his wife, Yumi Hogan, who was born there, and how the National Guard was brought in to protect the tests.
“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.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Hogan’s article “revisionist history” during a press briefing on Thursday, pointing to the governor’s previous comments where he thanked the President for his cooperation with governors.
“It’s really striking, his comments, especially when you compare them to his past comments,” McEnany said. “This is revisionist history by Gov. Hogan and it stands in stark contrast to what he said on March 19 where he praised the great communication that the President has had with governors.”
As the coronavirus began to spread to the US, Hogan also said Trump “was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans” instead of listening to health experts.
Hogan said while he awaited Trump’s approval for joint coronavirus testing at the National Institutes of Health, he called NIH Director Francis Collins to make a request for testing at the agency but instead Collins asked him for help with testing.
“‘I don’t even have enough tests for my immune-compromised patients or for my staff,’ he said. He wondered if I might prevail upon Johns Hopkins, whose Suburban Hospital is across the street from NIH, to do some testing for him,” Hogan said. “I could only shake my head at that. 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!”
Asked about Hogan’s remarks, the NIH told CNN on Thursday, “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.”
As the virus spread, Hogan and other governors scrambled for personal protective equipment and testing kits, pleading for federal assistance, while the promised testing kits from the Trump administration were delayed for weeks. In April, Trump blamed governors over testing shortfalls and has said he doesn’t take “any responsibility at all” for the slow roll out of tests. Trump also inaccurately claimed that the US had done more testing than any other nation, including South Korea.
This story has been updated.