U.S. President Donald Trump has been criticized for arguing that it is his prerogative to decide on the timing of economic opening.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday he was ready to challenge in court any Trump decree ordering the state to reopen its economy against the backdrop of a pandemic if it posed a threat to the public.
“If he had ordered me to open the economy in a way that would endanger the health of my state, I would not have done so. And there would be a constitutional dispute between the state and the federal government, and it would go to court,” Cuomo told CNN.
Trump, speaking at a White House briefing on Monday, said the states “can do nothing without the president’s approval.
Trump said this is supported by numerous constitutional provisions.
“When someone is president of the United States, their power is absolute,” he said.
Two prominent Republican senators are challenging that claim. “The federal government does not have absolute power,” a Wyoming senator, Liz Cheney, tweeted.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said: “It is up to governors to decide how and when to adjust social distancing orders.
He also wrote on Twitter: “Federal CDC and White House recommendations will matter more, but the Constitution and common sense dictate that these decisions must be made at state level.
Under the Constitution, powers not delegated to the federal government remain with the states.
When one journalist told the president he was wrong, he swung back: “That’s enough, please.”
Trump’s speech at a briefing on Monday was also criticized for showing a video designed to refute media reports that the White House had ignored warnings about the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic. The president’s critics considered the material to be “propaganda”.
“Everything we did was right,” Trump said, concluding the demonstration with a video produced by Social Media Director Dan Scavino and other White House staff.
Former New York Times editor-in-chief Howell Raines called the video “one of the most striking acts of White House misinformation since the Vietnam War.