Skip to Content

Hogan: Maryland protected coronavirus tests it secured from South Korea ‘like Fort Knox’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday the state is using the Maryland National Guard and state police to keep the coronavirus test kits it secured from South Korea safe — including from the federal government.

When asked directly in a Washington Post Live interview about whether he was concerned the federal government would seize the shipment of tests, the Republican governor said, “It was a little bit of a concern about trying to get these things and it was a very complicated process.” He said the plane was greeted on the tarmac by National Guard and state police personnel.

“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,” the Republican governor told The Washington Post Live about the delivery of the tests earlier this month.

“And there had been reports — for example, in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker told the story of his planeload came in with masks (and it) was basically confiscated by the federal government.”

Hogan said the test kits are now in “an undisclosed location,” still under protection from the National Guard and state police. He added that the state “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 that needed it.”

He said one such precaution was to have the plane transporting the tests land at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Maryland instead of Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Hogan said it was the first time Korean Air had landed at BWI.

His comments underscore the tense relationship between state leaders and the federal government — and the extreme lengths governors are willing to go to — in procuring tests for the virus as the US grapples with a national shortage.

Governors have been pleading for federal help with testing for more than a month, as a shortage of supplies and a backlog in private labs have made it nearly impossible for the states to reach the level of testing needed to reduce social distancing guidelines.

As a result, Hogan announced earlier this month that he had secured 500,000 tests from South Korea with the help of his wife, who was born in that country.

“The administration made it clear over and over again they want the states to take the lead, and we have to go out and do it ourselves, and that’s exactly what we did,” Hogan said.

He dubbed the test kit mission Operation Enduring Friendship, relying heavily on the bond he and his wife, Yumi Hogan, had established with South Korean Ambassador to the US Lee Soo Hyuk.

“She truly is a champion of Operation Enduring Friendship,” he said of his wife.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content