Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) got 15 additional minutes of national TV airtime on Tuesday morning during a two-segment interview with the hosts of “The View” on ABC.
The appearance came the morning after President Trump made repeated jabs at Hogan for securing materials for half-a-million COVID-19 tests from South Korea. During a Monday evening White House press briefing, Trump went so far as to suggest that Hogan unnecessarily spent state money on the test kits and “needed to get a little knowledge,” a clip that was played for him by “View” host Whoopi Goldberg.
Borrowing some of the president’s favorite phrases, Hogan said the briefing came after a “great call” with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and that he had thanked the vice president and administration for progress they’d made on various issues.
“We had a very productive call with his entire team yesterday after afternoon, which I was leading on behalf of the [National Governors Association]. The president was not on that call,” Hogan said. “I was somewhat, you know, taken aback by his sort of biting attacks on me yesterday. I have no idea what that was about.”
Hogan said Trump’s insistence Monday that labs were underutilized for COVID-19 testing was a “smoke screen” because there weren’t enough tests to send to those labs for analyzing.
“The discussion really was about tests. It wasn’t about labs. So the president seemed to be a little confused yesterday in his press conference,” Hogan said. “I have no idea what set him off.”
The governor added later: “We appreciate the cooperation of the federal government and partners and we look forward to working with them on their labs, so that we can utilize all these tests.”
Hogan was able to evade tough questions during the interview.
Meghan McCain asked why Hogan wasn’t ready to reopen the Maryland economy and what advice he would give to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a fellow Republican, who has said that state’s economy will begin reopening at the end of this week.
“I’m not sure what the numbers are in Georgia,” Hogan responded, eschewing the invitation to offer any further advice.
He went on to say that the increasing number of deaths and new cases in the broader Washington, D.C., region means it’s the “wrong time” to start opening things up here, but his administration is working on a reopening plan once the number of deaths and hospitalizations from the novel coronavirus subside.
“We’re gonna announce later this week a safe road to recovery and reopening, but we can’t do it until we see those numbers start to decline,” Hogan said. “And we’re going to do it in a very safe way, based on the advice of the best scientists that we have here in our state.”
When Joy Behar asked Hogan about a late Monday night tweet from Trump calling for a halt to all immigration into the country, the governor characterized the message as a distraction and noted that no formal policy has been announced or unveiled.
“I try not to pay any attention to the tweets from the president,” Hogan said.
He went on to note that Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan was born in South Korea.
“My wife is a first generation immigrant from South Korea and just helped us, through those relationships, acquire half a million tests from the folks there in South Korea that’s going to help save the lives of people in our state. That’s what we’re really focused on here,” Hogan said. “And we have some terrific people from all around the world that are working in our hospitals and our health care system that are saving people’s lives and we appreciate it.”
On protests, host Sunny Hostin asked Hogan if he agreed with a statement from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) that Trump’s language about protests is fomenting domestic rebellion and could lead to violence. Hogan stayed on message.
“Well, I missed the small protest that they had here in Annapolis on Saturday because I was at BWI airport welcoming the plane that had the 500,000 coronavirus test kits that flew in from Korea that’s going to save thousands of people in our state,” Hogan responded. “But it wasn’t a very large protest.”
Hogan did go on to say that he thinks the president’s “mixed messaging” is “unhelpful.”
The conversation ended with a discussion about a different kind of social media post entirely, this one from the Taneytown Police Department.
“Please remember to put pants on before leaving the house to check your mailbox. You know who you are. This is your final warning,” the Carroll County police agency posted to Facebook last week.
“I’m hoping he was wearing a mask at the time,” Hogan said, giggling about the alleged offense. “On the other hand, I think it’s probably gonna help with social distancing, because people are gonna stay six feet apart away from him.”