Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) on Sunday contradicted President Donald Trump’s rosy reviews of the federal government’s ability to provide states with the vital medical equipment needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Hogan, chair of the National Governors Association, said on ABC’s “This Week” that governors still have “tremendous needs,” and that it was inaccurate to suggest otherwise.
The Trump administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic after initially dismissing concerns being raised about the coronavirus as a “hoax” and downplaying its impact. As death and infection numbers have grown and states have shuttered due to stay-at-home orders, Trump and many administration officials have altered their rhetoric to suggest they have been doing all they could to fight it from the beginning.
“This Week” host Martha Raddatz asked Hogan about Trump’s claim at a Friday White House briefing that “we’re in great shape with” ventilators and claimed not to have received “any calls” from governors in need of critical medical supplies. Seconds later, Trump said his administration was receiving “very few” calls from governors or “anybody else needing anything.”
Hogan disputed that characterization.
“Well, I get calls every day” on the need for supplies, he said, adding neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence had participated in some of those conference calls with various governors.
“I’d hate to say that everybody’s completely happy and that we have everything we need,” Hogan said, while noting the federal response has improved.
“Everybody still has tremendous needs on personal protective equipment and ventilators and all of these things that you keep hearing about,” he said. “Everybody’s fighting to find these things all over the nation and all over the world.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) echoed Hogan’s comments in a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union”, saying his state is struggling to keep up with the demand for just about every item needed to combat the virus, from ventilators to medicine.
As of Friday, all 50 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico were under a federal disaster declaration simultaneously for the first time in U.S. history.
More than 500,000 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, have been reported in the nation resulting in more than 20,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise Americans to practice social distancing― or self-isolation ― to curb the spread of the virus.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump has floated the idea of encouraging an end to social distancing measures by the end of this month to “reopen” the economy by May 1, alarming public health officials.
Murphy, whose state has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, said on CNN that doing so could be disastrous.
“I fear, if we open up too early, and we have not sufficiently made that health recovery and cracked the back of this virus, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire,” he said.
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