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Hogan slights Trump’s communication, praises Pence on coronavirus response on ‘Meet the Press’

Baltimore Sun - 3/8/2020

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan largely praised the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak on Meet the Press Sunday, saying that while he is at odds with some of President Donald Trump’s messaging, the team led by Vice President Mike Pence has been effective in coordinating with the state.

In the Sunday morning interview with Chuck Todd, Hogan said that as Maryland has now seen its first three confirmed coronavirus cases, the vice president is “doing a good job of coordinating everybody and coordinating with us” since being appointed to head the government’s response to the spread of the virus.

“I think it was a really smart move for the president to elevate Vice President Pence to work across all of the different agencies,” Hogan said, adding that Pence’s experience as Indiana’s former governor has also proved helpful in coordinating with state agencies.

The Trump administration’s ability to handle the outbreak has come under fire after it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had only tested 1,895 people for COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. The administration also told senators that it would fall short of shipping 1 million kits to test for the virus by Saturday.

On Friday, Hogan announced that three Montgomery County residents who had been on an Egyptian cruise on the Nile River had tested positive for the virus. The three -- a couple in their 70s and an unrelated woman in her 50s -- are currently isolated in their homes and their symptoms are abating, officials say.

The next day, the governor said that a New Jersey resident who tested positive for the disease had attended the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Prince George’s County and urged those who attended to keep track of their temperature and report any signs of illness to local health departments.

While the governor largely avoided the topics of the lack of test kits, Hogan did levy some criticism at the president after Todd pressed him on Trump’s largely dismissive comments regarding the spread of the virus.

“Has the president been perfect? I would say he hasn’t communicated the way I would and the way I might like him to," Hogan said.

But the governor continued to bring the interview back to praise for Pence and his team for their response.

“I think the rest of the team has been doing a pretty good job,” he added.

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