Maryland's Republican governor attacks Trump after president tweets report about faulty Covid-19 tests he ordered from South Korea
Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who became a media darling by bashing President Donald Trump, is boasting of success in tackling Covid-19 despite reportedly ordering faulty tests from South Korea that were never used.
"If you had done your job, America's governors wouldn't have been forced to fend for themselves to find tests in the middle of a pandemic, as we successfully did in Maryland," Hogan said Sunday on Twitter. "Stop golfing and concede."
But ironically, Hogan's tweet taking credit for finding tests came in response to a post from Trump pointing out that the governor bought tests that were flawed and were never even used. "This RINO [Republican in name only] will never make the grade," Trump said. "Hogan is just as bad as the flawed tests he paid big money for."
The Washington Post reported Friday that Hogan's administration spent $9.46 million to import 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea in April, but the tests turned out to be faulty and weren't used. The state later paid the same South Korean company $2.5 million to provide 500,000 replacement tests, and Hogan's administration withheld information on the failed initial purchase from Maryland lawmakers, spending authorities and the public.
The deal was initially a public relations victory for Hogan, gaining him press attention in the US and South Korea. His wife, South Korea native Yumi Hogan, helped secure the tests, the governor said. The transaction was billed as a creative solution to a problem caused by Trump, and Hogan called the tests "the most critical building block of our recovery plan for Maryland."
Hogan did a whirlwind of media interviews about the purchase, appearing on ABC's The View, MSNBC's Morning Joe and Comedy Central's The Daily Show. But even then, such tests were available in the US for 20-30 percent less than Hogan paid his South Korean supplier, the Post said. He also paid 38 percent more than FEMA was paying that same month for the same South Korean tests.
Hogan has remained a popular media guest, criticizing Trump's pandemic response even as the federal government blasted his administration for having the nation's worst record on nursing home inspections. Media outlets such as CNN and the Post even covered Hogan's vote in the presidential election, after he wrote in the name of former President Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004.
Hogan was back on CNN on Sunday, ripping Trump for legally challenging Democrat Joe Biden's media-declared victory in the November 3 election. "We are beginning to look like we're a banana republic," Hogan said. "It's time for them to stop the nonsense. It just gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly, I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."
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