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Trump Slams GOP Governor Over Coronavirus Testing

Monday's White House press briefing got weird
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2020 1:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – At Monday's press briefing, President Trump said the nation's governors have been provided with lists of locations providing additional coronavirus testing in their states—and then he proceeded to call out Larry Hogan, whom the Daily Beast calls "one of the leading Republican governors" confronting the crisis in a "hands-on" fashion. "Hundreds and hundreds of labs are ready, willing, and able" to test, Trump said. "Some of the governors, like as an example the governor from Maryland, didn’t really understand the list. He didn’t understand too much about what was going on, so now I think he’ll be able to do that. It’s pretty simple." More:

  • Trump wasn't done: Later in the briefing, referring to Hogan's Monday announcement that his state had acquired 500,000 COVID-19 tests from a South Korean company, Trump said Hogan could have simply called Vice President Mike Pence and "saved a lot of money." "No, I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea," Trump continued. "I think he needed to get a little knowledge. Would have been helpful." A Health and Human Services official echoed that sentiment, noting, "I don’t know what the governor of Maryland is doing in South Korea, but there is excess capacity every day."

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  • Hogan has been criticizing Trump: Fox News says Hogan, who once considered mounting a primary challenge to Trump in this year's election, has been "the most vocal Republican to criticize" Trump's handling of the pandemic. Indeed, on CNN Sunday, Hogan slammed Trump's claim that states have enough coronavirus testing capacity to begin opening back up. "To try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just to get to work on testing, somehow we are not doing our job—is just absolutely false," he said, per CNBC. "Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests not only from the federal government but from every private lab in America and from all across the world and we continue to do so."
  • Hogan responds: Back on CNN Monday, Hogan said he wasn't exactly sure what Trump was talking about at the White House briefing. He noted that, yes, governors had been sent lists "of all of the different lab facilities in their states," but that most of the governors already knew that information, and that the lists were made up of "either federal health facilities that we’ve been desperately trying to get help from or military installations, none of which were state owned labs or facilities where we could actually do any testing." He added, "I have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on, and I appreciated the information that was provided by his team, but ... I’m not sure what he was trying to say."
  • Trump lashed out at the other side, too: The president also called out Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, at Monday's briefing. "Some states have far more capacity than they actually understand, and it is a complex subject, but some of the governors didn’t understand it," Trump said. "The governor, as an example, Pritzker from Illinois did not understand his capacity. Not simply ask the federal government to provide unlimited support. You have to take the support where you have it, but we are there to stand with the governors and to help the governors and that’s what we’re doing."
  • He says governors have gone from ventilators to testing: "Testing’s a big word," Trump said at one point. "Remember, it was all ventilators, and the reason it was all ventilators, they said, ‘There’s no way he’ll ever be able to catch this one.’ And not only did we catch it, we are now the king of ventilators all over the world. ... And that wasn’t playing well, so then they said, ‘Testing, testing. Oh, we’ll get him on testing.’ Well, testing is much easier than ventilators. ... But it used to be ventilators, ventilators, ventilators, now it’s testing, testing, testing."
  • But he had kind words for one Democrat: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will visit the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump announced at the press briefing, per Reuters. "They’re getting it together in New York. A lot of good things are happening in New York." The Hill notes Trump and Cuomo had traded barbs as recently as Friday.
  • And one strange comment: The Daily Beast says the briefing went "off the rails" at the end, when Trump said, in answer to a reporter's question, "Lot of people love me, you see them all the time, right? I guess I’m here for a reason. To the best of my knowledge I won, and I think we’re going to win again. I think we’re going to win in a landslide."
(Governors from both sides of the aisle pushed back hard against Trump's comments.)

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