News & Politics

Tom Friedman Says He Knows Larry Hogan Is Governor of Maryland

His larger point, he says, was about the "incredible mess the State of Maryland has made in its vaccination response"

Friedman speaks at the Brookings Institution in 2016. Photo by Paul Morigi, via Brookings' Flickr.

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman confused a lot of people on Twitter with a pair of tweets about Maryland’s vaccine program.

Hogan, is of course, still the governor of Maryland, the kind of thing one might expect a very well-informed resident of Montgomery County like Friedman might know. Asked about it, Friedman replied in an email to Washingtonian: “Seriously? It was a joke! I was tweaking the Governor for the state’s utterly incompetent vaccination response. Which is why I followed up the first tweet with a second one right after it saying the same thing — but adding the phrase ‘impeachable incompetence.’ Who do you think I was talking about? Trump?”

The joke goes back to the Truman administration, as CBS News reporter John Dickerson explained in a reply to Friedman’s tweet Monday.

In his email, Friedman confirms that ironic rhetorical device was indeed on his mind when he tweeted. “I can guarantee you that the Governor got it,” he writes. “As for those who didn’t, I really don’t care.” He says he voted for Hogan in 2018.

Friedman says his larger point is the “incredible mess the State of Maryland has made in its vaccination response, which it had months to prepare for.” The 67-year-old says he tried and failed for hours to get a vaccination via Giant Food’s website, which he later discovered was run by a third-party vendor. Maryland has delivered only 47 percent of its distributed doses of vaccine, according to the Times, while Virginia has delivered only 45 percent. The District has delivered 71 percent, among the best rates in the nation.

In a follow-up email, Friedman says the fiasco made him so angry that he tweeted about something other than his column—exactly the kind of thing, he says, that his daughter has counseled him not to do.

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.