Since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has repeatedly said testing is the best way for life to get back to normal. In early April, Hogan directed his state to purchase 500,000 COVID tests from South Korea. The problem, however, was that those tests had "flaws" and weren't used.
According to The Washington Post, Hogan dropped $9.46 million for the South Korean tests. Once Hogan's administration realized the tests were ineffective, Hogan reportedly paid the company another $2.5 million to replace the first batch of flawed tests.
The state offered the tests free to two private labs, one of which declined because the tests took much longer to process than U.S. versions, records and interviews show.
The University of Maryland, which had spent months equipping its lab in Baltimore to process coronavirus tests, abandoned the replacement South Korean tests this fall after a spate of suspected false positives. But the other private lab continues to use them; a state official said Wednesday that 370,000 of the replacement tests have been used.
To make matters even worse, when it became apparent that the tests were flawed, Hogan and his team reportedly kept testing data and flags from the state legislature, state spending authorities and even the public.
Hogan decided to order tests on his own because he was "frustrated" with the Trump administration, The New York Times reported at the time. Hogan reportedly relied on his wife, Yumi, a Korean immigrant, to help broker a deal.
The Hogans touted the deal so much that they shared photos of them meeting with the delivery person at the airport.
On Saturday, First Lady Yumi Hogan and I stood on the tarmac at @BWI_Airport to welcome the first ever Korean Air passenger plane, carrying a very important payload of LabGun #COVID19 test kits which will give MD the capability of performing half a million coronavirus tests. pic.twitter.com/Elf0ADIRnJ— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 20, 2020
Each part of this international collaboration was unprecedented, and required an amazing team effort. I want to sincerely thank our South Korean partners for assisting us in our fight against this common, hidden enemy. pic.twitter.com/X2CrTM1vL8— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 20, 2020
The most critical building block of our recovery plan for Maryland is the ability to do widespread testing. The incredible success of this operation has not only put us on track to achieve that goal, but it will literally help save the lives of thousands of Marylanders.— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 20, 2020
When President Trump received word of the news, he took to Twitter to blast Hogan:
Report: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Anti-Trump Hero, Paid for Flawed Coronavirus Tests from South Korea https://t.co/PHV7euutVb via @BreitbartNews. This RINO will never make the grade. Hogan is just as bad as the flawed tests he paid big money for!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2020
Hogan retorted, saying governors across the nation shouldn't have had to "fend for themselves" to get the coronavirus tests they needed.
If you had done your job, America's governors wouldn't have been forced to fend for themselves to find tests in the middle of a pandemic, as we successfully did in Maryland.— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) November 22, 2020
Stop golfing and concede. https://t.co/tCXO8etxge