Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and chair of the National Governors Association, on Sunday dismissed as “absolutely false” Trump administration claims that states have adequate coronavirus testing capacity to begin gradually reopening their economies.
Hogan, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” described the lack of testing as the biggest problem in the nation since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. The Maryland governor said he has “repeatedly” made that argument on behalf of America’s governors on both sides of the political aisle to leaders in Washington.
“The administration I think is trying to ramp up testing, they are doing some things with respect to private labs, but 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,” said Hogan, who once considered challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination.
“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 added.
The Trump administration released guidelines for opening up America on Thursday. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said at a press briefing Friday that U.S. states are ready to begin reopening — and insisted that they have the testing ability and capacity to do so.
During the press briefing, Pence told reporters: “We believe today that we have the capacity in the United States to do a sufficient amount of testing for states to move into phase one in a time and manner that they deem to be appropriate. Our best scientists and health experts assess that today we have a sufficient amount of testing to meet the requirements of a phase one reopening if state governors should choose to do that.”
Trump also commented on the issue and told reporters: “As our experts said yesterday, America’s capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally.”
It’s not just Hogan who’s been pushing back against the Trump administration’s rush to reopen. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, called the Trump administration’s claims on testing “delusional.”
“We’ve been fighting for testing, it’s not a straightforward test,” Northam told CNN’s State of the Union. “We don’t even have enough swabs believe it or not and we’re ramping that up. But, for the national level to say that we have what we need and really to have no guidance to the state levels is just irresponsible because we’re not there yet.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” the amount of daily testing could triple if the key components were available. She called for the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to manufacture those components.
“We could double or triple the number of tests we could be doing daily, if we had the swabs and reagents,” Whitmer said. “It would be incredibly helpful if the federal government would use the Defense Production Act to start producing these swabs and reagants so we can improve testing.”
After Trump issued these new coronavirus guidelines for reopening the country, he also called for states, such as, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia to “LIBERATE” as protests took place in various parts of the country calling for states to reopen their economies. These gatherings were mainly led by Trump’s supporters and conservative activists.
Trump has been accused of encouraging social unrest at a time when state governments are trying to keep residents at home to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from escalating.