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'The authority is total': Trump claims he has power to decide when states reopen

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/14/2020 Zachary Halaschak

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President Trump flexed his executive power and claimed that he has total authority over the reopening of states impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump made the remarks at a White House news conference on Monday, which reiterated tweets from him earlier in the day in which he said that reopening states was not up to governors but “is the decision of the president.” 

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The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Delaware said Monday that they would work collaboratively to reopen their school systems and economies. Trump pushed back on the notion that governors are the ones who will decide on the matter.

“The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The president of the United States calls the shots,” Trump said. "If we weren’t here for the states, you would’ve had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before.

“It’s a decision for the president of the United States. Now with that being said, we’re going to work with the states because it’s very important,” he added but emphasized that “they can’t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States.” 

One reporter brought up the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution that orders “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

“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 during the news conference.

Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Response Team, was asked about Trump’s view on federalism and said he agreed with his assessment.

“I support the president's leadership under the national emergency declaration that he signed,” Pence said.

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