by Bryan Renbaum, MarylandReporter.com
Comptroller Peter Franchot applauded Gov. Larry Hogan’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The aggressive leadership by Governor Hogan and his team has been commendable as far as the pandemic and the public safety aspects,” Franchot told MarylandReporter.com in a phone interview on Monday. “Let’s be honest, every state was left to itself by the White House and the national government. The federal government has had a pitiful weak performance. And, in the face of that, Maryland has emerged-along with Massachusetts and a few other states-as one of the more successful states protecting their citizens from the little understood, mysterious, quite deadly, and personally damaging virus that affects us.”
Franchot, a Democrat, who is running for governor in 2022, elaborated on that point.
“I would give Hogan, generally, because he was left to himself-a very good score as far as public safety…It’s easy to be critical in the rearview mirror. But my basic view is that he and his team have done a commendable job given the cards that they were dealt.”
Franchot said Hogan’s decisive leadership stands in stark contrast to that of President Donald Trump and his White House, which the comptroller said: “just continues to embarrass us as to its ineffectiveness.”
Hogan is a Republican and is chair of the National Governors Association. He has received national praise for his handling of the pandemic and has become a frequent presence on morning and primetime television new programs. The first two-term GOP governor of deep-blue Maryland since the 1950s has criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic while at the same time serving as an effective intermediary between Washington and Annapolis.
Hogan, who is considered a moderate, has not ruled out running for president in 2024. The governor told NBC’s Meet The Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday that the GOP will need to figure out a way to expand its base of support when the post-Trump era arrives.
“I don’t know what the future holds in November, but I know that the Republican Party is going to be looking at what happens after President Trump, whether that’s in four months or in four years. And I think they’re going to be looking to: ‘How do we go about becoming a bigger tent party?’”
Hogan also told Meet The Press that Maryland will not bow to pressure from the White House to reopen its schools before it is safe to do so.
“We’re not going to be rushed into this. From the beginning of this crisis, we’ve always been working very closely with our doctors, our scientists and our epidemiologists to make sure that we’re doing the things that make the most sense…We’re going to come up with a plan that is probably going to be a hybrid that talks about how we’re going to provide the best education we can for our kids and do it in a safe way.”
There are 74,260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Tuesday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health, and 3,202 people in Maryland have died from the virus.
More than 834,000 people in Maryland have been tested for COVID. The state’s positivity rate is below 5 percent-which is better than that of most states in the country.