- “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,” Trump said.
- "We don’t have a king — we have a president, and that was a big decision," Cuomo replied.
- Governors on both coasts have organized blocs to prepare and strategize for the opening of their states.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., said President Trump has no power to open his state against his wishes. The Democrat said so in reaction to Trump, who said on Monday that that as the President of the United States, he has “total authority.”
“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,” Trump said. “And the governors know that.” In response, Cuomo said on NBC’s Today show, “we don’t have a king — we have a president, and that was a big decision.”
“We ran away from having a king, and George Washington was president, not King Washington so the president doesn’t have total authority. The Constitution is there, the 10th Amendment is there,” Cuomo said. “It’s very clear states have power by the 10th amendment.” Cuomo reiterated on Today that the question of the reopening of the American economy is a “very important decision.”
Asked what he would do if the President ordered him to reopen the New York economy now, Cuomo replied, “the only ways this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis. If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it.”
“And then we will have a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades, where states tell the federal government, ‘We’re not going to follow your order.’ It would be terrible for this country. It would be terrible for this president.” American constitutionalists are divided among those who consider that, in this matter, an order from the President goes beyond the will of the governors, while others consider that the state governments have autonomy of decision.
With more than 10,000 people having already died due to COVID-19 in New York State, Cuomo has repeatedly criticized the federal government’s political decisions, complaining about a lack of support, and denouncing the President’s lack of strategy in fighting the pandemic.
On both sides of the United States’ seashores, governors have organized themselves into blocs, to prepare concerted actions for the moment when it is decided to reopen the economy of their states. Trump said on Sunday that the decision to reopen the US economy will be the “most important decision” of his life, but acknowledged, a day later, that that decision will never be made without consulting the governors of each state.
The United States is the country with the highest number of deaths due to coronavirus, accounting for 25,136 to date, and the one with the most infections, with over 603,000 confirmed cases. The new coronavirus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has already caused more than 125,000 deaths, and infected more than 1.9 million people in 193 countries and territories across the world.