Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he’s been forced to resort to drastic measures to protect nearly 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from the federal government.
The state bought the test kits from South Korea earlier this month, and the state’s National Guard is guarding them in a secret location to prevent them from being commandeered by the Trump administration.
On Thursday, Hogan, a Republican, told The Washington Post about the careful steps he’s taking to ensure the tests remain in Maryland.
For instance, he had the plane from South Korea land at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport instead of Washington’s Dulles International Airport to reduce the chance that the feds would seize the COVID-19 cargo.
In addition, the plane was greeted by what Hogan described as “a large contingent of Maryland National Guard and Maryland State Police.”
Hogan explained the reasoning for the intense security measures. “This was an extraordinarily valuable payload. It was like Fort Knox to us, because it’s gonna save the lives of thousands of our citizens,” Hogan told the Post.
The federal government has left states largely on their own when it comes to testing their citizens and securing critical equipment during the pandemic. But when it comes to those supplies, Hogan’s concern appears to have been warranted: There have been numerous reports of the Federal Emergency Management Agency hijacking desperately needed protective gear for first responders and health care workers.
“We wanted to make sure that that plane took off from Korea safely, landed here in America safely,” Hogan said. “And that we guarded that cargo from whoever might interfere with us getting that to the folks who need it.”
You can see Hogan explain the secret plan below.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.