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Maryland’s Governor, a Republican, Is Willing to Spar With Trump for Supplies

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Post time 2020-4-26 19:19:19 | Show all posts |Read mode

Maryland’s Governor, a Republican, Is Willing to Spar With Trump for Supplies

Larry Hogan is head of the National Governors Association and charged with representing state leaders who fear they’re unprepared to fight the coronavirus.

Credit...Andrew Mangum for The New York Times
By Jennifer Steinhauer
April 3, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Larry Hogan was annoyed. On a conference call, Mr. Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, had just learned that several South Korean companies were ready to ship more coronavirus test kits to his state. But they were stymied because the Food and Drug Administration had not yet approved their use.
“I don’t care if we have F.D.A. approval or not,” Mr. Hogan said into a speakerphone in the governor’s reception room, where he was flanked by a container of Purell and a 9 a.m. Diet Coke, with aides sitting six feet apart around a large table. “We’ve got people dying,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to wait for permission.”
Frustrated by limited support and unclear guidance from the Trump administration, governors across the country, including some Republicans, have been squaring off with the White House and striking out on their own to secure supplies. Mr. Hogan, in his second term in a very blue state, has tried to stay miles ahead of the virus’s incursion here, like several other governors — notably Jay Inslee of Washington and Mike DeWine of Ohio — whose responses have been given better marks from Americans than the president’s.
Mr. Hogan put his health department on alert in early January when he saw the virus’s deadly crawl through China. On Monday, he issued a stay-at-home order for residents, a few weeks after declaring a state of emergency when the first three cases emerged in Maryland last month.
He is also the head of the National Governors Association, charged with representing governors’ needs at the White House, where officials wish he would find it in his heart to say a few flattering words about Mr. Trump now and then. Instead he has bluntly demanded more aid from Washington, including more test kits and supplies and help shoring up state budgets.
“We’re still not satisfied” with the federal response to states’ needs, Mr. Hogan said this week.
Mr. Hogan has also found himself the de facto leader of the response in the Washington, D.C., metro area, where the disease has begun its exponential march. The governor of Virginia and the mayor of Washington — a city where the death rate is well above the national average — instantly followed his order this week, grounding around 15 million residents.
As of Thursday night, there have been at least 4,697 confirmed cases and 89 deaths in the three areas combined, about triple from a week ago. The two states and Washington have an unusually intrinsic relationship; they share a metro system and are home to thousands of federal workers who are central to the region’s work force and the functioning of federal government.

Mr. Hogan’s moves have major implications for the region. He has immediately hit those defiantly socializing with some of the largest fines or criminal charges in the nation. There have already been two arrests in Maryland, including of a man who hosted a bonfire party for about 60 people after the state banned large groups.
His aggressive policing is one of several reasons Mr. Hogan has slid onto center stage among governors whose states have been hammered by the coronavirus.
This week, he collaborated with a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, on an opinion piece pleading for federal assistance — after President Trump attacked her as “that woman.” He has been a critic of the president’s overly optimistic prognostications, saying Mr. Trump’s assurances that testing problems were a thing of the past were simply not true.
For Mr. Hogan, the need to respond quickly is also personal. He is a recent cancer survivor and over 60, which puts him in a high-risk group for the virus. His preparation for this moment, he said, was seeded in the 2015 Baltimore riots, which happened 90 days into his first term.
“I knew that taking quick decisive action was better than hesitating,” he said in a (socially distant) interview in his office on Wednesday. “I think the public was not where I was on the knowledge. There were folks saying this is no big deal, it’s not as bad as the flu, it’s going to disappear. And I was saying, ‘No, it’s worse.’”
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