GOP Maryland Governor Says Trump Too Preoccupied With Tweeting to Listen to Health Experts

Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in an Washington Post op-ed Thursday President Donald Trump was tweeting like someone "more concerned" with reelection instead of listening to health experts.

Hogan wrote that the president "bungled" the U.S.' testing efforts early on in the novel coronavirus pandemic, as the country saw delays in its capacity for mass testing "for almost two months."

"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 reelection plans," Hogan stated, citing comments Trump made in late-February where he blamed Democrats for a stock market plunge.

Hogan, who is the chairman of the National Governors Association, said governors "took a different approach" when they met with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in February to discuss the threat the novel coronavirus posed.

"They hit us with detailed presentations and the unfiltered truth," Hogan said of the February meeting. "I remember hearing many dire claims: 'This could be catastrophic. . . . The death toll could be significant. . . . Much more contagious than SARS. . . . Testing will be crucial. . . . You have to follow the science — that's where the answers lie.'"

The Republican governor also criticized the president for "falsely" claiming that "anybody" could get a test in early March and for shifting blame onto former President Barack Obama in April for the "obsolete system" of testing Trump inherited.

Hogan said he relied on his wife Yumi Hogan, who was born and raised in South Korea, to arrange a purchase of 500,000 test kits from the South Korean government, stating that "waiting around for the president to run the nation's response was hopeless."

"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," Hogan said.

Trump was critical of Hogan following his $9 million purchase from South Korea, stating the Maryland governor didn't need to "go to South Korea" for help on tests.

"The governor of Maryland could've called Mike Pence, could've saved a lot of money. . . I don't think he needed to go to South Korea. I think he needed to get a little knowledge," Trump said at an April press conference.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment, but did not receive a response back in time for publication.

Larry Hogan
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan during a news briefing in front of the Maryland State House April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. Hogan said Trump was more concerned with reelection than listening to health experts in an op-ed he wrote for the Washington Post. Chip Somodevilla/Getty