Maryland's Republican governor flew in coronavirus tests under armed guard so Trump wouldn't steal them

Washington Post / YouTube Screenshot

Here's a fun little anecdote about just how disastrous the Trump administration's ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic has been. To make things extra special, this story involves not one, but two Republican governors, each of whom has had to go to extraordinary lengths to help residents in their respective states stay alive. Toss in some armed guards, and clandestine airplane maneuvers, and folks? Like a wise man once said, it's a sign 'o' the times.

Everyone ready? Comfy? Cozy? Okay.

Speaking with The Washington Post for a live-streamed video chat on Thursday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan described the extraordinary precautions he was forced to take in order to ensure his much-touted order of tens of thousands of COVID-19 test kits was delivered successfully from South Korea. That's because in addition to the various regulatory and logistical hoops that needed jumping through, Hogan had another worry on his mind: the Trump administration.

After hearing from Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker that the federal government was effectively seizing states' own shipments of coronavirus equipment, Hogan — who, again, is also a Republican — decided to bring the flight delivering thousands of testing kits to Baltimore/Washington International Airport rather than through the bigger Dulles International Airport —the first time a Korean Air passenger plane had landed at BWI. When the plane arrived, "a large contingent" of the state national guard and police were waiting, Hogan said.

"This was an enormously valuable payload," Hogan explained. "It was like Fort Knox to us, because it was going to save the lives of thousands of our citizens." He went on to specifically cite Baker's story of the government confiscating a shipment of masks to his state.

"That was so important to us," Hogan continued, "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 that needed it."

In fact, not only was the Maryland-bound flight brought in under military and police protection, but Hogan confirmed that the shipment of testing kits remained under National Guard watch at an "undisclosed location."

So, to recap: A Republican governor brought a shipment of Korean testing kits into the U.S. under armed guard, and then delivered them to a secret stash spot because the Republican president has so bungled his pandemic response that his administration is reportedly going around confiscating gear from states, instead of leading the effort to order and distribute vital equipment.