Trump Backs Away From ‘Total Authority’ Claim on Reopening Economy
By Yancey Roy
Apr. 15, 2020
A day after President Donald Trump asserted he had “total authority” over states in reopening the economy, he backed away on Tuesday, saying governors would make such decisions without any pressure from him.
The reversal came hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he’d refuse any order by Trump to reopen the economy before it was safe to do so, argued that the executive branch had no authority to do so anyway and implied the Republican was trying to act like a king.
The tumult had stemmed from a standoff between Trump, who wants to move quickly to reopen businesses, and governors on both coasts calling for a deliberate approach that puts health concerns first. The governors on Monday announced coalitions designed to collaborate on how and when to reopen schools and end stay-at-home orders.
Trump said then that the decision was up to him and further asserted that the office of president has “total authority.”
Trump is wrong on the law, numerous constitutional scholars said Tuesday.
“There is a huge variety of emergency powers that Congress has authorized the president to use over the years, but none of those emergency powers, even in the broadest meaning of emergency powers, grant the authority to send students back to school, to order businesses to reopen,” said James Sample, a Hofstra University Law School professor. “That is the realm of governors, the realm of state legislators.”
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