President Donald Trump has claimed “total” power to ease the restrictions across the states in his mandate as he brushed aside governors and legal experts.
“The President of the United States calls the shots,” Mr. Trump during a hot press briefing where he was contradicted by reporters. However, According to the US Constitution maintaining public order and safety rests with its individual states. At least 10 states in the country on the East and West Coasts combine are preparing to lift the lockdown or at least east it. US has now turned into a global epicenter of the Covid-19 with 682, 619 confirmed cases and 23,608 fatalities.
President Donald J. Trump
Mr. Trump on Monday briefing the press from WH said that his administration was planning to reopen the US economy which largely went dormant due to the Corona crisis. The administration has signaled May 1, 2020 as the potential date for easing the lockdown.
The current WH guidelines for Americans to avoid restaurants and all kind of non-essential travel and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people are due to expire on April 30. But when journalists inquired whether the President had the authority to override stay-at-home orders imposed by states, he responded: “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total.”
“It is total. The governors know that. That being said, we are going to work with the states.”
Trump reiterated his claims by further insisting that numerous provisions (without specifying which ones) in the US constitution allow him such powers. But legal experts argue that the President does not have the authority to reverse a public order enforced by state or local governments.
When queried by BBC’s Jon Sopel if he could order to close the economy again in case of a second wave, the President responded: “It does weigh on my mind.”
He told reporters that the country is now seeing the peak in terms of fatalities and confirmed cases indicating that the social distancing measures have proved fruitful. The briefing also saw a video montage played by administration admonishing biased coverage against Trump and his handling of the pandemic and clips of governors praising the President for his successful efforts. Several news houses quickly cut away their coverage when the moment came.
Talking about the firing of top US expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Trump said he did not intend to the fire the doctor who had earlier in an interview to CNN, told that there could be less fatalities in the country if the lockdown was imposed earlier.
Trump confirmed that he and Fauci are on the same page form the beginning and he likes and respects the medic.
“I think he is a wonderful guy,” said president, adding that not everyone was happy with the top doctor.
Mr. Fauci who earlier contradicted the administration has on Monday conceded that he came up with a “poor choice of words”.
On the other hand, Governors have asserted that it is their prerogative to call or call off the restrictions in their states. Responding to Trump’s tweet earlier, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said: “Well, seeing as how we had the responsibility for closing the state down, I think we probably have the primary responsibility for opening it up. “
State governors are sketching out plans to restart the economic activity deserted by the virus apparently without any consultation with Trump administration. New York is the worst-hit among all American states with 190k confirmed cases and has recorded nearly half of the deaths in United States. The governor Andrew Cuomo in Monday briefing was confident that “worst is over” in New York.
“Nobody has been here before, nobody has all the answers,” said Cuomo.
“Addressing public health and the economy: which one is first? They are both first.”
While western states of Oregon, California and Washington have revealed their plans for resuming the economic activity, more than 40 states have recommended statewide lockdown orders for their citizens.