Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican but a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, took a bow for getting coronavirus testing kits from South Korea, but the president shot back the governor should have known who to call for tests in his own state.
"The governor of Maryland could've called Mike Pence and could've saved a lot of money," Trump told the coronavirus task force daily briefing Monday, pointing to a map of Maryland showing all of the testing laboratories. "Look at all those different places, and that's Maryland right there, so could have saved a lot of money, but that's OK.
"No, I don't think he needed to go to South Korea. I think he needed to get a get a little knowledge. That would've been helpful."
Hogan, whose wife is the first Korean American first lady of any state in the U.S., used his wife's connections to secure 500,000 test kits from South Korea this week, The Washington Post reported.
Coincidentally, Pence hosted a call Monday with Hogan, the chairman of the National Governors Association, and governors across the U.S., and Hogan "expressed appreciation" to Pence's task force for the guidelines of Reopening America Again.
But, Hogan did not mention, per Pence, his buying 500,000 test kits from South Korea.
"We spoke to Gov. Hogan today; I will follow-up because I heard there was an announcement today that he had acquired some tests from overseas," Pence said. "Maybe we can put the slide back up that showed the number of facilities just in the state of Maryland."
Pence expressed frustration with the fact media and governors are not listening to the guidance of the White House coronavirus task force: The testing needed is already there in the states, most not being utilitized, and the full capacity is not being released locally.
"I don't know when the governor placed the order from South Korea," Pence continued. "I wouldn't begrudge him or his health officials for ordering tests, but the capacity of all the different laboratories and the number of machines that are across Maryland is part of what we were communicating today, including federal facilities.
"NIH is in Maryland, the department of defense facilities. What we assured the governor then, and reassured all the governors, is that will open up all of those facilities."
Trump also jumped in, saying Pence "doesn't like to get into this stuff; he's less controversial than I am," but Hogan was ignorant to the testing capacity that already existed in his own state, including federal and military sites.
"It's not bipartisan; it's mostly partisan," Trump said of the testing criticisms, including from GOP governors like Hogan who is an original Never Trumper. "More important than mostly partisan, it's incorrect. Look at the experts: You have the maps with so many different locations. In the case, as an example, Gov. Hogan, he didn't really know about it.
"He didn't really know about the federal laboratories," Trump added.
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