President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he believes some states will be able to “reopen” their economies before the end of April by lifting the social distancing restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump’s announcement came a day after he claimed “total” authority over when to lift the state-imposed measures. Legal experts say that despite Trump’s claims about his presidential powers, he cannot override the public-health measures that were implemented by states.
Still, Trump said during a White House press briefing on the virus that “the plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized.”
“I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly,” Trump said, “And I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate.”
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., U.S. on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | CNP | Bloomberg via Getty Images
“The day will be very close because certain states as you know are in a much different condition and are in a much different place than other states. It’s going to be very very close. Maybe even before the date of May 1st,” he said.
On Monday, governors from six northeastern states, including New York and New Jersey, announced they would form their own working group to monitor the outbreak and coordinate plans to eventually reopen parts of the economy. Three west-coast states formed their own pact later Monday.
But Trump maintained that he, not the governors, was in charge of lifting states’ draconian social distancing measures, which include statewide stay-at-home orders and forced closures of nonessential businesses.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on MSNBC on Tuesday morning that Trump “basically declared himself king” by disregarding the separation of powers between states and the federal government cemented in the Constitution.
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