The Trump White House fired back Thursday at Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, saying his recent sharp criticism of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response amounts to “revisionist history.”
“Yeah, it’s really striking — his comments — especially when you compare them to his past comments,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said after the first question at an afternoon news briefing was about a Hogan op-ed on the subject.
“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.
In the piece published Thursday in The Washington Post, the governor accused Trump of a disjointed response to the pandemic, which has infected more than 3.4 million people and caused more than 136,000 deaths in the United States.
“I’d watched as the president 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,” Hogan wrote.
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 has occasionally criticized the Trump administration in the past over the pandemic response, and considered a run against the first-term president in the 2020 Republican primaries. While he visited the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Hogan took few concrete steps to begin a campaign and ultimately decided against it.
But in a Fox News appearance after a White House conference call in March with state executives, Hogan — the outgoing chair of the National Governors Association — said: “I want to compliment the president and the vice president for really great communication with the governors.”
McEnany cited that comment Thursday.
As NGA chair, Hogan has urged the federal government to help states lacking adequate personal protective equipment and medical supplies for health care workers.
Hogan responded to McEnany’s remarks on CNN on Thursday night, saying that he gives praise to Trump and his team when warranted, and points out when they are falling short.
“I have from the very beginning of this been very upfront and straightforward,” Hogan told CNN host Erin Burnett. “When I think progress has been made, I give them credit.”
Maryland Policy & Politics
While Trump’s press secretary pushed back on Hogan’s op-ed, Democratic leaders sought to amplify it. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press office sent excerpts to media members. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, sent an email blast that called it a “blistering” takedown of Trump’s “abject mishandling of the coronavirus.”
At the briefing, McEnany said Hogan had written about “this dramatic April 18 scene where South Korea delivered tests” to Maryland. She said that the day before, Hogan “thanked the president for the progress we’ve seen in federal and state coordination in recent weeks.”
Hogan announced in April that the state bought 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from LabGenomics, a South Korean company. It’s unclear how many of the tests have been used so far.
A University of Maryland School of Medicine facility has been outfitted by the state to prepare the tests, which are then sent to another UM lab to be analyzed. Deborah Kotz, a spokeswoman for the medical school, said the lab handles samples from “a variety of companies,” including Lab Genomics.
She declined to say how many of those tests have been processed.
”As a general policy, we are not providing specific numbers on any of the tests that we’re processing in our facilities,” Kotz wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun.