The Governor of New York – the United States’ worst-hit location in the coronavirus pandemic – has said he will defy any order from President Donald Trump to reopen if it endangers people.
“If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it,” Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
Cuomo said any such order would set up a constitutional challenge between the states and the federal government that would go to court.
“And the worst possible thing he could do at this moment – to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way,” he said, referring to the president’s impending bid for re-election in November.
Cuomo said the country’s founders had already settled the matter.
“We had this argument. It was done a long time ago. People by the name of Hamilton, and Jefferson and Madison and Washington. And they concluded this. They wrote a document that’s called the Constitution of the United States.”
“It says the federal government does not have absolute power,” said Cuomo. “It says the exact opposite of what the president said. It says that would be a king.”
It comes as Trump overnight called a journalist a “disgrace” and a “fake” for asking him about what his administration did to combat coronavirus in February.
The US president took the unprecedented step of playing what appeared to be a campaign video during his daily coronavirus briefing.
But CBS reporter Paula Reid questioned what action the president took in the month of February to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.
“That video has a gap for the entire month of February,” Reid said in the briefing room.
“What did your administration do in February with the time that your travel ban bought you?”Mr Trump responded by lashing out at her.
“You know you’re a fake,” he told her.
“The people are wise to you. That’s why you’ve had a lower approval rating than you have ever had before, times probably three.”
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