Coronavirus: New York Gov. Cuomo says Trump will have ‘no fight with me,’ but he’s ‘wrong’ on the law
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will not engage in a fight with President Donald Trump as tension escalated between the two this week over who has authority to reopen the U.S. economy. Trump said he has "total" authority over the states.
"This is not time for politics and it is no time to fight. I put my hand out in total partnership and cooperation with the president. If he wants a fight he's not going to get it from me. Period," Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Tuesday, adding that Trump is "wrong on the law."
On Monday, Cuomo announced a formal working group with several other Northeastern governors to coordinate the region's Covid-19 mitigation efforts as well as any plans to reopen the states for business. Trump, later in the day, told reporters that only he had that power: "When somebody's the president of the United States, the authority is total, and that's the way it's got to be," which prompted a sharp rebuke from Cuomo.
"Our Founding Fathers understood and we have to remember today that the balance today between the state and the federal, the magnificent balance that is articulated in the Constitution, is the essence of our democracy," Cuomo said while displaying a quote from Alexander Hamilton.
"We don't have a king in this country, we didn't want a king. So we have a constitution and we elect a president," he said.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo during a press conference.
Cuomo said there had been confusion regarding whether Trump or individual governors have the right to lift social distancing restrictions put in place by the states in recent weeks that have shuttered nonessential businesses and kept people at home across much of the U.S. since mid-March. Governors in the Pacific Northwest also announced similar plans on Monday. Trump likened their actions to mutiny, saying Cuomo has been calling daily, if not hourly, begging for medical supplies and seems to want his independence now. "That won't happen," Trump said over twitter.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cuomo told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Trump had "basically declared himself King Trump" and that what the president had said during a press conference late Monday claiming that he has the power to lift the restrictions put in place by governors to try to slow the spread of the disease was a breaking of the Constitution.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.