Maryland’s Republican governor said that he has deployed both the state’s National Guard and the state police to protect the 500,000 coronavirus tests he secured from seizure by the federal government and “whoever might interfere with us getting that to our folks who needed it.”
On Thursday, Governor Larry Hogan told the Washington Post, “it was a little bit of a concern” that federal officials might confiscate the tests which arrived in his state from South Korea on Monday. Hogan went on to say that reports of other incidents where federal officials attempted to or did confiscate coronavirus-related equipment from states played a part in his thinking.
“There had been reports of, for example, in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker told the story of his planeload that came in with masks was basically confiscated by the federal government and he had to then get Robert Kraft, the owner of the [New England] Patriots to fly a second mission with a private plane to try to bring some of that equipment in. And there were a couple of other states that had similar stories,” the governor said.
Hogan spoke about the extent he went through to get the tests, saying the process took “22 days and nights.” The governor continued, “So, it was important to us, that we wanted to make sure that that plane took off from Korea safely, landed here in America safely, and that we guarded that cargo from whoever might interfere with us getting that to our folks who needed it.”
Hogan added, “This was an enormously valuable payload. It was like Fort Knox to us, because it was going to save the lives of thousands of our citizens.”
With the tests now in the state for days, Hogan was asked if Maryland’s National Guard was still protecting the tests. “They are. The National Guard and the state police are both guarding these tests at an undisclosed location,” the governor said.
Maryland @GovLarryHogan on whether he was concerned that the federal government would seize the tests the state procured from South Korea. He says the tests are being guarded by the National Guard at an undisclosed location. https://t.co/uGcUi6U5rL pic.twitter.com/15BhHmLzql
— Washington Post Live (@postlive) April 30, 2020
The governor has a right to be concerned, with recent reports of FEMA absconding with five million face masks that were ordered by the Veterans Health Administration and at least 6 other incidents, culled by Business Insider, of federal agencies diverting coronavirus medical equipment.
President Trump lies about the shortages of both equipment and tests almost daily. This week, he said the U.S. will be able to administer 5 million coronavirus tests per day “very soon.”
But Admiral Brett Giroir, who serves as the assistant secretary for health, made mincemeat of Trump’s claim, saying, “There is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day.”
With Trump refusing to make investments and then making claims that his administration can’t back up, states effectively have to be on the lookout for the feds swooping in and grabbing coronavirus equipment that they themselves have secured — all, seemingly, to protect Trump’s ass.