Maryland governor Larry Hogan criticizes Trump for 'mixed messaging' between tweets, federal guidelines

Gov. Larry Hogan secured 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits from South Korea.

April 21, 2020, 2:57 PM

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan criticized President Donald Trump's tweets to liberate states as "unhelpful" after Americans in multiple cities gathered to protest stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hogan said on "The View" Tuesday that the "mixed messaging" between Trump's Friday tweets and a three-phase plan to reopen states, which he presented to the country's governors during a video conference on Thursday, "doesn't make any sense."

That plan's phase one calls on employers to telework wherever possible, return to work in phases, minimize non-essential travel and make accommodations for vulnerable populations within their workforce as they continue to social distance. This phase can only go into effect when a state maintains a "downward trajectory" of reported "influenza-like illnesses," "COVID-like syndromic cases" and "documented cases" or "positive tests as a percent of total tests" within a 14-day period. Hospitals should also be able to "treat all patients without crisis care" and have a "robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers, including emerging antibody testing."

In the second phase, employers will be able to resume all non-essential travel, schools and organized youth activity will reopen, bars will be able to operate with diminished standing room occupancy and large venues will be able to hold events with “moderate” social distancing protocols.

The third phase will allow bars, gyms and large venues to reopen with “limited” social distancing and “standard” sanitation. Employers will be able to resume “unrestricted staffing of worksites” so employees can physically return to work. The final phase will also reintroduce visits to senior care facilities and hospitals.

In three separate tweets Friday morning, Trump said, "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" and "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!" The tweets followed a wave of protests against stay-at-home orders in Michigan, Minnesota, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Hogan's state, Maryland.

PHOTO: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House, April 17, 2020, in Annapolis, Md.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House, April 17, 2020, in Annapolis, Md.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hogan said that Trump's support for protesters went against his own policy recommendations from a day earlier.

"In our state, and I think in most of the states where he was encouraging protests, we don't have 14 days of downward numbers," Hogan said referring to the phase one rules. "On Friday, he encouraged people to go out and protest and liberate those very same states, so he basically was encouraging people to violate his own federal policy."

"I don't think it was helpful," Hogan added.

He went on to say that while he understands people are frustrated with the current restrictions, encouraging people to "go against your own policy" isn't productive when it comes to discussing the reopening of states.

PHOTO: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan replaces his surgical mask after talking to reporters during a news briefing in front of the Maryland State House, April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Md.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan replaces his surgical mask after talking to reporters during a news briefing in front of the Maryland State House, April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Md.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As protests to reopen Maryland took place in Annapolis on Saturday, Hogan welcomed a Korean Air passenger plane that held the 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits he had secured from a South Korean company.

Trump criticized Hogan's purchase on Monday, saying during a press conference that Hogan could have saved a lot of money by calling Vice President Michael Pence, who is leading the coronavirus response.

“I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea. I think he needed to get a little knowledge,” Trump said.

The Republican governor told "The View" Tuesday that although he was provided with a list of federal labs that could conduct the testing in Maryland, the issue was the number of testing kits on hand.

"Our discussion really was about tests, it wasn't about labs," Hogan said. "The president seemed to be a little confused in his press conference."

"I have no idea what set him off, but we had some tremendous success getting tests on our own, which is exactly what the president has asked all the governors to do," Hogan continued. "I was somewhat taken aback by his sort of biting attacks on me yesterday."

In order to end the social distancing orders safely, the U.S. will need to conduct "massive" testing, contact tracing and supported isolation, according to a Harvard report released Monday.

"The number one problem in America from the beginning of this crisis has been the lack of available testing," Hogan said.

"We negotiated a terrific deal to bring in a half a million tests," Hogan continued. "It's gonna help save the lives of thousands of people in our state and we're very pleased to have accomplished that."

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