Maryland governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who is rumored to be eyeing a 2024 presidential run, lit into the White House Thursday in a biting Washington Post essay. In the piece, Hogan accused President Trump of failing to help his state in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, and of focusing on himself instead of the American people.
Hogan wrote that with the White House abdicating its responsibility to help states secure tests earlier this year, he turned to his wife for help. Born and raised in South Korea, Yumi Hogan helped Maryland set up a deal to buy half a million test kits from a company in Seoul. Trump criticized Hogan for the deal.
The essay isn’t Hogan’s first public criticism of Trump’s coronavirus response. The chair of the National Governors Association, Hogan said in April that the Trump administration was being dishonest by blaming governors for the lack of testing. Later that month, after Trump seemed to suggest ingesting disinfectant to kill the coronavirus, Hogan said, “I think when misinformation comes out or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message.” For an elected Republican talking about Trump, that’s what passes for a scathing rebuke.
And that’s what makes the Post piece so notable. It actually is a scathing rebuke. Here are the most withering lines:
On the Maryland State Police escorting tests to a “secure warehouse at an undisclosed location”:
“The federal government had recently seized 3 million N95 masks purchased by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. We weren’t going to let Washington stop us from helping Marylanders.”
On giving up on waiting from Trump’s help:
“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.”
On the White House setting up a testing regime in the U.S.:
“While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort.”
On Trump’s priorities in March and April:
“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.”
On Trump’s treatment of governors:
“We expected something more than constant heckling from the man who was supposed to be our leader.”
On the futility of looking to Trump for help:
“It was hopeless, waiting around for him.”
On Trump’s response to Maryland landing half a million tests from South Korea:
“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.”