Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan traveled to the White House for a meeting Friday, something he was loath to do during the administration of former president Donald Trump.
The Republican governor attended an Oval Office session about COVID-19 relief with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and a bipartisan group of other governors and mayors.
Hogan urged the GOP afterward to work with the Democratic Biden administration, which has proposed a $1.9 trillion aid package being considered by Congress.
“As I told President Biden, there is no reason why he and Republicans in Congress cannot forge a compromise that addresses the nation’s top priorities in this crisis,” Hogan said in a prepared statement. “I will continue urging Republicans in Congress to be willing to compromise, and I urge the president to lead by finding the common ground where we can all stand together.”
The meeting, which included four governors and five mayors, was designed to accelerate momentum for Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” which would include a third round of economic impact payments to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Hogan said he also encouraged Biden, who took office Jan. 20, “to take any imaginable step in his power to increase the production of vaccines.”
The pandemic response has been slowed by limited vaccine supply and uneven rollout by states. Vaccine appointments have been hard to come by, and Maryland residents have criticized the state’s distribution tactics.
State health officials said Friday that 10% of Maryland’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Hogan was frequently at odds with Trump, a fellow Republican, over the coronavirus response and other issues. Hogan did regularly engage, often via conference calls, with former Vice President Mike Pence, who led a coronavirus task force last year while Hogan was chairman of the National Governors Association.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be one of the first governors to meet with President Biden and Vice President Harris as we work together to end this horrific pandemic,” Hogan’s statement said.
Hogan was seen on a live feed wearing a mask and sitting on a couch in the Oval Office as Biden discussed states’ and cities’ need for economic aid.
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Mike Ricci, the governor’s communications director, tweeted a photo of the meeting and wrote: “The governor was last in the Oval in 2014, shortly after he was elected.”
That was in Democrat Barack Obama’s second presidential term.
But Hogan was elsewhere in the White House “several times during the Trump presidency,” Ricci said in response to questions by The Baltimore Sun. His appearances included governors balls, National Governors Association meetings and, most recently, a session with the vice president at the start of COVID.
Biden said earlier this week that his administration anticipated having enough vaccine supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.
“I think the federal government has a major role to play here,” Biden told the elected officials Friday. “But these are the folks that are on the ground doing it every single solitary day. They see the pain and they see the successes when they occur.”
Also attending the meeting were three other governors: Democrats Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico and Andrew Cuomo of New York and Republican Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
Democratic mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Latoya Cantrell of New Orleans, Mike Duggan of Detroit and Republican mayors Francis Suarez of Miami and Jeff Williams of Arlington, Texas, were also there.