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Trump claims “total authority” to override governors, force states to reopen

EnlargeAurich Lawson / Getty
President Donald Trump today falsely claimed he has “total” authority t..

By admin , in Tech , at April 14, 2020

EnlargeAurich Lawson / Getty

President Donald Trump today falsely claimed he has "total" authority to override governors and force states to reopen their economies despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump faced numerous questions from reporters about his views on federal authority hours after he tweeted that the president, not governors, gets to make the "decision to open up the states."

"When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total and that's the way it's got to be. It's total, and the governors know that," Trump said in response to one of the questions at a press briefing.

"You have a couple of bands of Democrat governors but they will agree to it," Trump continued. "The authority of the president of the United States, having to do with the subject we're talking about [reopening state economies], is total."

When one reporter pointed out that it was states, not Trump, that made the decisions to close schools and businesses, Trump said, "that's because I let that happen."

Several fact-checks pointed out that Trump's claim of such authority over the states is false. Here's one from CNBC:

"State and local governments have strong police power to protect their citizens and so I'm unaware of any way in which the federal government could basically try to override anything the states and cities have been doing to protect the public health of their citizens," said William Buzbee, a professor at Georgetown University Law School and an expert in federalism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that "States have police-power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders." Isolation and quarantine orders are among those police-power functions, which are "derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society," the CDC page on the topic says.

One reporter asked Trump which provision in the Constitution gives the president the power to open or close state economies. Trump answered, "numerous provisions. We'll give you a legal brief if you want," but didn't point to any specific sources of authority.

States follow science, not politics

Today, coalitions of governors on both US coasts announced pacts to follow science, not politics, in decisions on when to reopen economies.

Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island announced a council that will include health experts and economic experts from each of the states. The states "will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states' stay-at-home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus," they said.

The states will use tools "including testing, contact tracing, treatment, and social distancing" and "rely on the best available scientific, statistical, social and economic information" to evaluate progress, they said.

Similarly, the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington State today announced an agreement that the "region will move toward reopening based on health outcomes."

"Health outcomes and science—not politics—will guide these decisions," the governors said in their announcement. They conRead More – Source

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