President Donald Trump has asserted that it is his decision as leader of the United States to reopen the economy following weeks of social distancing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a tweet on Monday, Trump suggested that governors did not have the power to open up their states. Instead, he said it would be up to his administration to work with those state leaders to decide on whether to reopen schools and nonessential businesses, including retail stores and restaurants.
“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,” he wrote in a two-part post on Twitter. “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 White House is scheduled to host a press conference at 5 p.m. ET, where officials are expected to address the economic impact of COVID-19, which has sickened 572,500 people in the U.S. and killed at least 23,000.
Under the Constitution, public health and safety is primarily the domain of state and local officials. As coronavirus infection rates appear to be stabilizing, top government officials — including leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis president Neel Kashkari — have spoken out about when it would be safe to ease the widespread lockdowns that have immobilized the U.S. economy.
“We are hoping that at the end of the month, we can look around and say, ‘OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on?’ ” Fauci said on Sunday, adding that when such restrictions are eased, “we know that there will be people who will be getting infected. I mean, that is just reality.”
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