'We have a constitution, we don't have a king': Andrew Cuomo rejects Trump's claim of 'total authority' to lift shutdowns as he leads 'Coronavirus Council' of nine Democratic governors to coordinate reopening

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rebuked President Trump's claims that he has blanket authority to order a reopening of the country and cease stay-at-home orders, saying Monday night that the last time he checked the US had 'a constitution...not a king'. 
In a heated press conference inside the White House on Monday evening, Trump claimed that his office holds 'absolute power' over the shutdowns prompted by the novel coronavirus outbreak - hours after Cuomo and eight other Democratic governors unveiled a pact to work together to co-ordinate the reopenings of their respective states.
'When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total,' Trump told reporters in response to the announcement, declining to specify where his authority to overrule states resides when pressed by DailyMail.com. Instead, he reiterated: 'The federal government has absolute power.'
But Trump's claims of total authority were quickly refuted by Cuomo, who slammed president for what he perceived to be an 'abrogation of the Constitution'.
'Mr Trump offered no legal or constitutional basis to back up his claim to exclusive authority to reopen society,' Cuomo told MSNBC. 
In his own heated press briefing, the president launched a furious attack on the media and screened a White House-produced video to reporters claiming he took early action against the virus. 
The show reel claimed that the 'media minimized the risk from the start', and showed reporters seemingly agreeing with Trump and governors praising the White House response. 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has rebuked President Trump's claims that he has blanket authority to order a reopening of the country and cease stay-at-home orders, saying Monday night that last time he checked the US had 'a constitution...not a king'
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has rebuked President Trump's claims that he has blanket authority to order a reopening of the country and cease stay-at-home orders, saying Monday night that last time he checked the US had 'a constitution...not a king'
Six governors from states on east coast - Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island - and three on the west coast - California, Oregon and Washington - announced their own pacts to come up with a framework on how and when to ease their coronavirus lockdowns
Six governors from states on east coast - Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island - and three on the west coast - California, Oregon and Washington - announced their own pacts to come up with a framework on how and when to ease their coronavirus lockdowns
President Trump during the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing yesterday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Trump did not have 'total authority' to relieve the virus shutdowns
President Trump during the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing yesterday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Trump did not have 'total authority' to relieve the virus shutdowns 
In his response to Trump's claims of absolute power to ease the lockdowns, Cuomo added: 'Why he [Trump] would even go there, I have no idea.
'The constitution says we don't have a king. To say I have total authority over the country because I'm the president, it's absolute, that is a king. We didn't have a king, we didn't have king George Washington, we had President George Washington.'
Cuomo then pointed out that it was in fact state governors who imposed a variety of stay-home orders under their state constitutions in response to the outbreak of Covid-19, not the federal government.
Questioning the logic behind Trump's sudden assertion that he'll have the final say on any reopenings, Cuomo continued: 'Why [Trump] would want to say that after he initially did the 'closing down of the government' - he never did the close down. He wants to say the travel ban with China was a close down, it wasn't — it was a travel ban with China. 
'The close down was left to the governors to do individually state by state. Now the reopen should be total authority? That makes no sense.' 
Trump speaking about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Monday
Trump speaking about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Monday

Cuomo issued the president a parting shot, warning him that if he takes any measures that could potentially endanger the lives of New Yorkers - such as enforcing premature reopenings - then Cuomo will seek legal action. 
'If he tried an edict from the White House that put the people of the state of New York in jeopardy or violated what I thought was in their best interest, from a public health point of view, we would just be off to a lawsuit,' he said.
'And that’s the only way this really horrendous situation could get worse, is if you now see a war between the federal government and the states.' 
Later, the governor phoned into CNN to double-down on his admonishment of Trump, and what he conceived to be a blatant example of the president disregarding the 10th amendment.
'I don't agree with the president's analysis...we don't have a king - we have an elected president,' the New York governor reaffirmed. 
'That's what our founding fathers said when they wrote the constitution. And the Constitution says the powers not specifically listed for the federal government are reserved for the states.'
Earlier Monday, six governors from states on east coast and three on the west coast announced their own pacts to come up with a framework on how and when to reopen.
All nine governors are Democrats and include Gavin Newsom of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York - both of whom have seen their ratings soar during their handling of the crisis.
Pointedly, the governors on both coasts said that 'public health' was their leading priority. 
But they put themselves on a collision course with Trump, who hyped his proclamation that he would decide on Twitter, after saying for days it would soon become time to 'reopen' the U.S. economy. 
The president's emphatic statement came as it was revealed his task force on the vital matter will include cabinet members, his daughter and his son-in-law.
'A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!' 
The task force is expected to include Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared, who has taken a key coronavirus response role, fielding calls from hot-spots seeking protective gear and trying to line up deliveries.
Both Ivanka Trump and Kushner have appeared with the president at separate White House coronavirus events – Kushner at a White House briefing and Ivanka Trump at a small business meeting in the Roosevelt Room. 
The team will be headed by Trump's new chief of staff Mark Meadows, who previously headed the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Fox News reported.
Also serving with be Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao – who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Other cabinet members to serve include Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, White House advisers Larry Kudlow, Peter Navarro – who penned memos warning of the impact of the coronavirus, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, along with other officials. 
'A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!' President Trump tweeted about the decision to reopen the country
'A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!' President Trump tweeted about the decision to reopen the country

Trump attacked the media and added confusion to how the decision to reopen would ultimately be made with a pair of tweets Monday. 
'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,' Trump wrote.
'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!' he wrote.
It is state governors who issued the stay-at-home orders that took effect across the country. 
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence issued 'guidelines' but the administration and health officials have provided considerable discussion and feedback to state officials.
Trump has previously noted on shut-down orders that it is governors who have imposed them, and he deferred to a group of GOP governors, many in rural states, who held back from issuing stay-home orders during as the coronavirus spread.
But on Monday his sudden volte-face to taking control himself threatened to become a source of confusion and possible constitutional clash. 
Jared Kusner
Ivanka Trump
Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner have advised him during the coronavirus pandemic

In Albany, New York, Cuomo convened a virtual press conference with five governors of what he called the 'Covid corridor' - the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island which are joined by the I-95 freeway and Amtrak's Acela corridor and form New York City's vast economic hinterland.
Massachusetts and Maryland, which both also sit along the I-95 but are not yet part of the council, have Republican governors - although both men have contradicted Trump's position and said reopening is a matter for them.
The six Democratic governors revealed they were creating the first multi-state database in order to share information about the virus and help come up with reopening plan that would happen 'within weeks'.  
A health official, economic official and the governor's chief of staff from each state will work on the plan.
The governors gushed over one another and Cuomo's leadership both of New York and of the country throughout the pandemic. 
Cuomo, when asked about the president's remarks, challenged him to produce a plan and said wryly that it was 'interesting' that the federal government shrugged the responsibility of shutting down the economy at the start of the crisis but wanted to be the authority to reopen it. 
Trump pointing towards a multimedia presentation created by the White House on Monday to defend the president's response to the coronavirus outbreak as he stands beside Vice President Mike Pence
Trump pointing towards a multimedia presentation created by the White House on Monday to defend the president's response to the coronavirus outbreak as he stands beside Vice President Mike Pence
Trump shows highlight reel of people praising coronavirus response
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The New York governor said: 'He [Trump] left it to the states to close down and that was a state by state decision, without any guidance really. He took the position that it was a state's decision and that the states were responsible for purchasing supplies. 
'That was the model of management for this disaster emergency. If they want to change the model, they can change the model. He's the President of the United States. He's the federal government. 
'Let him change the model. But change the model and explain it,' he said. 
He went on to challenge Trump by listing all of the things he would have to consider and come up with answers for if he wanted to implement a reopening plan for all 50 states. 
'Are you going to say when each state will open and should open? Are you going to set a formula that says when this jurisdiction has this infection rate it can reopen? This is what can be on public transit, this is what can be on the roads. 
'Anyone that is on the roads has to follow these precautions..
'Testing. States don't have the capacity to test. It is not as simple as saying, 'states should.' They can't without the federal government. 
'You want to change the management model? You can do it as president. But what's the model? Let's learn from the past. This was not smooth sailing, let's be honest,' he said.  
Later, when asked about whether he found Trump's remarks frustrating, Cuomo said: 'It's not about an emotion. 
'I just want clarity. It is an interesting construct that it wasn't the fed responsibility to close the economy but it is to open the economy,' he said. 
Gina Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, said: 'Throughout the crisis, the governors are the ones who have been showing great leadership and taking action. 
'I think it's only appropriate that we take leadership now.' 
Governor John Carney of Delaware said thanked Cuomo for his leadership 'on a day to day basis under very difficult circumstances across the country'.  
Cuomo was joined on a televised conference call by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island where they revealed they were creating the first multi-state database in order to share information about the virus and help come up with reopening plan that would happen 'within weeks'.
Cuomo was joined on a televised conference call by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island where they revealed they were creating the first multi-state database in order to share information about the virus and help come up with reopening plan that would happen 'within weeks'.
Dialing in for the launch: The governors of all six states took part in the briefing, with Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania representing the largest economies in the group
Dialing in for the launch: The governors of all six states took part in the briefing, with Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania representing the largest economies in the group
Dialing in for the launch: The governors of all six states took part in the briefing, with Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania representing the largest economies in the group
While deaths continue to rise in New York, the new death toll across the state is 10,056 - it is rising at a slower rate. On Sunday, there were 671 new deaths as opposed to more than 700, which was the figure over the last few days. 
The number of new cases across the state rose by another 6,129 to 195,031. 
There were 18,825 new hospitalizations on April 12 which was an increase of more than 100 from the previous day but when taken as a three-day average, shows the curve flattening.  
'I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart and we can start on the path to normalcy and we can have a plan when you start to see some businesses reopening understanding the balance.
'We have to understand on the reopening, as much as we have this emotion that we want it to happen and that we can't take this anymore, it is a delicate balance,' Cuomo said.    
On the West Coast, governors Newsom, Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon unveiled their own scheme just after the north-east version.
A homeless man carrying cardboard and bags as he crosses the almost deserted Times Square yesterday
A homeless man carrying cardboard and bags as he crosses the almost deserted Times Square yesterday
An empty street in a mostly desolate Times Square during the virus lockdown yesterday
An empty street in a mostly desolate Times Square during the virus lockdown yesterday
'California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business,' the governors said in a joint statements.
The nine states combined account for more than 98 million people, close to 30 per cent of the population of the U.S., and more than 30 per cent of GDP. 
Trump also launched an attack on the media during the Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Monday.
He showed reporters a White House-produced video claiming the 'media minimized the risk from the start', whereas Trump took early action. 
The White House team found audio of New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman saying that Trump's travel ban o foreign nationals arriving from China was 'probably effective' because it 'did take a pretty aggressive measure against the spread of the virus'. 
The video also featured a number of governors, including Democrats Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo, praising the Trump administration's leadership on the pandemic.
'So the story in the New York Times is a total fake, it's a fake newspaper and they write fake stories. And someday, hopefully in five years when I'm not here, those papers are all going out of business because nobody's going to read them,' Trump told the reporters in the room. 
Small businesses have been shuttered during the coronavirus epidemic in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn
Small businesses have been shuttered during the coronavirus epidemic in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn
New York and five other states plan reopening after coronavirus
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The story, written by Haberman and five of her colleagues, detailed the 'extent of his halting response' to the threat. 
The president said he wanted to share this presentation amid the pandemic 'because we're getting fake news and I'd like to have it corrected.' 
'They're saying what a great job we're doing,' he said of the governors' praises. 'And the reason they did was to keep you honest,' Trump added. 
The briefing began with Dr. Anthony Fauci coming to the podium to explain that he used a poor choice of words when he said that earlier mitigation would have saved lives. 
Fauci had appeared on CNN's 'State of the Union' on Sunday and said the federal government 'could have saved more lives' if social distancing measures would have been put in place sooner.
'Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could've saved lives, obviously,' Fauci said.
During the interview on Sunday, Fauci mentioned being met with 'pushback' for his recommendations, but revised his wording on Monday. 
'That was the wrong choice of words', he told the journalists in the room. 
Trump denied he intended to fire Fauci when he retweeted a '#firefauci' tweet. 'I'm not firing him, I think he's a wonderful guy,' Trump said.
'We have a constitution, we don't have a king': Andrew Cuomo rejects Trump's claim of 'total authority' to lift shutdowns as he leads 'Coronavirus Council' of nine Democratic governors to coordinate reopening 'We have a constitution, we don't have a king': Andrew Cuomo rejects Trump's claim of 'total authority' to lift shutdowns as he leads 'Coronavirus Council' of nine Democratic governors to coordinate reopening Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:32 Rating: 5

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