President Donald Trump said Monday that he plans to reopen the American economy “shortly” and that he, and not the individual state governors, has the power to decide when it happens.
“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government,” Trump tweeted.
“Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect,” he continued. “It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”
However, the president offered the caveat that he and his administration will work “closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”
….It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2020
At a coronavirus task force news briefing Friday, Trump said when and how to open the economy back up will be the hardest decision he has ever made.
“And I’ve got to make the biggest decision of my life,” he said. “And I’ve only started thinking about that. I mean, you know, I’ve made a lot of big decisions over my life. You understand that. This is, by far, the biggest decision of my life, because I have to say, ‘OK, let’s go. This is what we’re going to do.’”
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Trump has faced some pushback regarding his claim that he has the authority to reopen the economy.
The 10th Amendment — which provides that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states — was trending on Twitter on Monday.
The broad plenary police power remains with the states, and the governor, as chief executive, oversees it.
All of the talk about Trump “opening the economy” is ignorance!
The President never declared martial law. He never shut anything down. So how can he open it up?
The Governor’s under their 10th amendment powers shut states & cities down. Only they can open things back up!
— Sophia A. Nelson (@IAmSophiaNelson) April 13, 2020
This may be a first. Watching the WH press briefing and a reporter cites the 10th Amendment making the case for states rights.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 13, 2020
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, the police power includes protecting the “public health” and “safety” of citizens and resides primarily with the states.
Twitter Constitutional experts for weeks: Shut the entire nation down. Fauci said to do it. Trump has the power.
Twitter Constitutional experts today: Trump cannot reopen the nation. Only the states have that power. Read the 10th Amendment.
Same people making two cases.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) April 13, 2020
Constitutional legal scholar Jonathan Turley — who testified against Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives in December — argued the president cannot reopen the economy per se but has the power to persuade the governors to do so.
Pres. Trump’s declaration that he, not the governors, has the power to “open up” the economy is constitutionally wrong. The President has persuasive, not command, authority. It remains a state decision under our system of federalism. https://t.co/RIp6Hzd84V
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) April 13, 2020
“His greatest authority is supplying assistance in the production and delivery of necessary resources such as ventilators,” Turley wrote. “While he can put conditions on some assistance, he cannot commandeer the authority of governors in their responses to the pandemic.”
The White House announced last month that it was extending its mitigation guidelines for 30 days to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The period will end April 30.
At the coronavirus task for briefing Monday, Trump was asked how he would respond if states such as New York and California refused to open their economy after he had directed them to do so, with a reporter citing the 10th Amendment.
“I don’t think that would happen,” he responded, while asserting the president has the authority to make the call.
“If some states refuse to open, I would like to see that person run for election,” Trump added, perhaps as a nod to the fact he cannot force a governor to open his economy up.
He acknowledged different states and localities will have to approach opening differently based on the impact of the coronavirus in their areas.
“All states want to open, and they want to open as soon as possible, but they want to open safely, and so do I,” the president said.
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