Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Is 'Still Not Satisfied' With Trump Administration Response
A day after issuing a stay-at-home directive to Maryland residents, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said he and other governors are still "not satisfied" with federal assistance in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Hogan, who is also the chair of National Governors Association, issued the directive on Monday as did leaders in nearby Virginia and Washington, D.C., to combat an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the mid-Atlantic region.
Hogan spoke to NPR's Rachel Martin about President Trump's claim that there's no longer a lack of coronavirus testing kits and about the governor's own efforts in his state which, as of March 31, has 1,661 confirmed cases and 18 deaths.
How is Maryland preparing to help residents who test positive for COVID-19?
There's nobody in America that's prepared. And we've been working very hard on that for more than three weeks. We have a hospital surge plan, which we're in the process of [implementing]. ... We're trying to ramp up 70 percent increase in our hospital bed capacity; we've now opened, with the help of FEMA and our Maryland National Guard, a field hospital in the Baltimore convention center. We're opening closed hospitals. ... We've added already 2,400 additional hospital beds across the state but we're working to add a total of 6,000.
With respect to the personal protective equipment and masks and ventilators and all of those things that your hearing about: Every single state in America has a shortage. ... We've been pushing these things at the federal level but there are simply not enough of them.
President Trump recently said he wanted state leaders to be appreciative of federal efforts to help them. Are governors able to communicate with him in a way that's productive in this moment?
Here's the good news: We have now had six conversations with all of the nation's governors, with the president and vice president and his top team. We just had another one yesterday. ... We're pretty frank and direct in these discussions and we tell the president exactly what we need and what the issues and problems are. And they lay out some of the things that they are doing. We have made progress. ...
We do appreciate some of the actions that have been taken. But we're still not satisfied with some of the others. Gov. Whitmer [Democrat of Michigan] and I did an op-ed in the Washington Post today together talking about what governors need and one of the things we need is ... more production and distribution and coordination of these materials and supplies: PPEs, testing and ventilators.
Was Trump correct when he suggested recently that states have enough testing kits?
That's just not true. I know that [the federal government has] taken some steps to create new tests, but they're not actually produced and distributed out to the states. It's an aspirational thing, and they've got some new things in the works but they're not actually on the streets and no state has enough testing.
Hear a longer interview with Gov. Hogan on Morning Edition here.