America has no king, but a constitution, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Tuesday as he debunked President Trump’s statement that he has “total authority” to determine when the coronavirus stricken states can open for business.
Cuomo on NBC’s Today Show and CNN said Trump was flat-out wrong when he said he can overrule state leaders in determining when to reopen businesses and relax social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“I don’t know what the president is talking about, frankly,” Mr. Cuomo said on NBC’s “Today” show.
“We don’t have a king in the United States, we have a constitution”, he told CNN.
In both interviews, Cuomo underscored the power of the states over health, welfare and quarantine.
He also reminded Mr. Trump about the political history of the United States.
“The colonies created the United States, not the other way round”, Cuomo said.
He said if America wanted to have a king, the constitution would have made George Washington a king.
“The Federal Government does not have absolute power. It is the exact opposite of what President Trump said”, Cuomo told CNN.
“States have power by the 10th Amendment, and the president’s just wrong on that point,” he told NBC.
Mr. Trump on Monday said a president’s authority is “total” and that he had the “ultimate authority” on when to start reopening things once the coronavirus crisis eases.
“If we don’t reopen correctly, you will see those virus numbers go up again, and more people will die,” said Cuomo.
Although New York has till date over 10,000 deaths, he has reported relatively positive trends in recent days in terms of hospitalisations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.
Mr. Cuomo, who has mixed flattery, tough love, and aggressive berating in his relationship with Mr. Trump during the pandemic, said he doesn’t have a time frame for when things might start to look like normal again.
“I don’t, and I think if anybody tells you they do, they don’t understand the issue ahead of us,” he said.
“This is all uncharted territory.”
Asked by CNN what he would do if Trump orders him to re-open New York, Cuomo said he would disobey the order.
Mr. Cuomo and six other northeastern governors banded together on Monday to announce that they will try to coordinate strategy for when to reopen schools and businesses.
The governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced a similar pact.