New York, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that the decision to lift coronavirus quarantines belongs to the states and not to the federal government, contradicting what President Donald Trump claimed on Monday, and he emphasized that the US is not an absolute monarchy but rather a republic, asking the president to stop acting in a “dictatorial” manner.
“We ran away from having a king, and George Washington was president, not King Washington. So the president doesn’t have total authority,” Cuomo told CNN, adding “If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it.”
Cuomo also noted that the US Constitution says that the federal government does not have absolute powers and that any powers not specifically allocated to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people. “We don’t have King Trump, we have President Trump,” he said.
On Monday, Trump sparked heated controversy by declaring that he, as president, has the sole power to reopen the country amid the coronavirus epidemic. He claimed this authority at his daily coronavirus press conference after several Democratic governors on the East Coast, including New York, and in other regions, announced separately that they were cooperating on a joint plan to gradually resume economic activity in their states.
Trump, meanwhile took to Twitter once again, saying: “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. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect.”
“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!” the Republican president added in a subsequent tweet on Monday.
And at his coronavirus press conference on Monday, Trump asserted that “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total. … It’s total. And the governors know that … They can’t do anything without the approval of the president.”
It was these clearly false remarks with which Cuomo – and other governors, lawmakers from both parties, legal experts and observers – took issue, and the New York governor on Tuesday said that “I don’t know what the president is talking about, frankly. … We have a Constitution; the Constitution is based on a balance of powers.”
“The president doesn’t have total authority. The Constitution is there, the 10th Amendment is there, number of cases over the years, it’s very clear. States have power by the 10th Amendment, and the president is just wrong on that point,” Cuomo said in another appearance on local media.
After noting that New York has suffered more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths, Cuomo insisted on CNN that if Trump “ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it.”
“And we would have a constitutional challenge between the state and the federal government, and that would go into the courts. And that would be the worst possible thing he could do at this moment, would be to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way,” the New York governor said.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has earned widespread praise for his handling of his state’s response to the epidemic but has frequently insisted he does not want to get into a battle with Trump.
Trump quickly responded to Cuomo’s remarks on Twitter, saying: “Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!”
In fact, there is widespread evidence that the Trump administration delayed responding to the coronavirus pandemic for weeks and has consistently failed to meet states’ full requests for ventilators and other medical supplies, reportedly going so far as to intervene in the states’ own purchasing of such materials and seizing it for the federal government stockpile.