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Maryland Gov. Hogan defends criticism of Trump’s coronavirus response: ‘He’s his own worst enemy’

Gov. Larry Hogan defended his criticism of how President Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.

The Republican governor called himself a “straight-shooter” who is unafraid to challenge the Trump administration on its response to COVID-19, Hogan said during the morning television program.

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“When they’re falling short and they’re not doing something that the governors desperately need, I’m the one that’s out there pushing for it,” Hogan said.

The governor believes Trump should listen to the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“Sometimes I think he just reacts.” Hogan said of the president. “He’s his own worst enemy by coming out and just tweeting something that doesn’t make sense and goes against what everyone else in the administration is saying.”

The comments come a day after the Trump administration accused Hogan of employing a “revisionist history” when he criticized the president’s response to the virus in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.

“Yeah, it’s really striking — his comments — especially when you compare them to his past comments,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday after the first question at an afternoon news briefing was about the Hogan op-ed.

“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 the president has had with governors,” she said.

Thursday’s exchange amounted to an escalation of tensions between the Trump administration and Hogan, who is releasing a political memoir this month and says he would consider a 2024 presidential candidacy. The op-ed was adapted from the upcoming book.

Hogan, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said some Republican elected officials are frustrated with the president, but unwilling to speak out for fear of Trump tweeting about them.

“They don’t want to have any wrath of the president coming after them,” he said. “I’m not too worried about that because I just think it’s important to tell the truth and get the facts out there.”

Hogan pointed out that he polls ahead of the president in Maryland, a state Trump lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

During his television appearance, Hogan also promoted the use of masks to prevent the spread of the virus, stating that they are an effective tool for re-opening economies.

“That’s the way to get the economy back on track,” he said. “It’s like no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service. People feel safer and they feel more able to go out and get back to their normal lives and spend money on the economy, which we desperately need as well.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Jeff Barker contributed to this article.

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