Apr 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo says "king Trump" could cause "constitutional crisis" with forced coronavirus reopening

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday to push back on President Trump's assertion that he has the sole authority to end states' stay-at-home measures and move to reopen the economy from the coronavirus crisis.

The big picture: Cuomo said Trump "basically declared himself King Trump" with his claim, adding that he would oppose a too-early reopening that put public health at risk and would create "a constitutional crisis like you haven't seen in decades."

  • Cuomo argued the federal government already passed the responsibility to shut down the economy to the states. "I'm in this position because the federal government, frankly, didn't want to be in this position," Cuomo said.

Why it matters: Under the Constitution, the president and federal government do not have the power to implement nationwide measures to stop the spread of the virus — or move toward a reopening — though Trump has used his daily briefings and social media to influence governors' decisions.

  • Cuomo's comments come a day after the governor announced that a coalition of northeastern states will form a regional task force to guide the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

What he said:

"The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis. If he says to me, I declare it open, and that is a public health risk or it's reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it. And then we will have a constitutional crisis like you haven't seen in decades where states tell the federal government, we're not going to follow your order. It would be terrible for this country, it would be terrible for this president."

The other side: Trump responded to Cuomo in a tweet, "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!"

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