US President Donald Trump

Democratic and Republican governors had a backlash at the US President Trump after he asserted that he and he alone will determine when and how to reopen the economy, despite clear constitutional limitations on federal powers.

Iran Press/America: Invoking the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that objections by governors to his claim of absolute authority over when to lift guidelines aimed at fighting the coronavirus were tantamount to insurrection.

But governors in both parties made clear they saw things differently, and said they would decide when it’s safe to begin a return to normal operations, just as they were the ones who closed things down, the Associated Press reported.

“The President’s position is just absurd,” said New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an appearance Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “It’s not the law. It’s not the Constitution. We don’t have a king. We have a president.”

New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu told CNN, “All of these executive orders are state executive orders and so, therefore, it would be up to the state and the governor to undo a lot of that.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, also a Republican, said he, too, expected the call to remain with the states.

“I welcome national guidance and assistance," he said. "But we will do what is needed in the best interest of Arkansans and I think that’s what the people expect.”

Trump, for his part, indicated he was relishing the fight with state officials — particularly those in hard-hit states run by Democrats — who have voiced fears that the President's ambitious timetable could lead to a resurgence of a virus that is still killing more than 1,000 Americans a day.

“A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain,” Trump tweeted Tuesday, adding, “Too easy!”

Anxious to put the crisis behind him and to deflect criticism of his handling of the pandemic, Trump has been discussing how to roll back federal social distancing recommendations that expire at the end of the month. He is set to launch a new advisory council that will hash out plans to reopen the American economy, which has dramatically contracted as businesses have shuttered, leaving millions of people out of work.

But after weeks of saying he would leave major decisions in the hands of states, Trump abruptly reversed course on Monday, claiming that his power, despite clear constitutional limitations, was absolute.

“When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total,” Trump said at the White House. “The governors know that.” He declined to offer specifics about the source of his asserted power, claiming he would provide a legal briefing at a later date.

Cuomo said that, if Trump ordered him to reopen New York’s economy before he thought it was ready, he would refuse, setting up a “constitutional challenge between the state and the federal government.”

More than 25,000 people with the coronavirus have now died in the United States with more than 600,000 cases, according to John Hopkins University data. The country’s death toll increased by more than 2,000 in a single day for the first time on Friday and has now surpassed the number of reported deaths in Italy.

COVID-19 has infected nearly 2,000,000 people around the world and killed at least 125,000 people, while more than 466,000 have recovered.


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