A group of Northeastern states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island — said Monday they are developing a coordinated plan to end coronavirus lockdowns and reopen schools and businesses. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker became the first Republican to join the effort when he announced later on Monday he had joined the discussions. On the West Coast, California, Washington and Oregon said they would create a similar framework. Trump lashed out following the announcement and declared he has the power to override governors.
President Donald Trump: “The president of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the states, you would have had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before.”
Steve Holland: “There’s a debate over what authority you have to order the country reopened. What authority do you have?”
President Donald Trump: “Well, I have the ultimate authority.”
Trump also said Monday he would reopen the country “based on a lot of facts and a lot of instincts.”
At the start of his Monday coronavirus press briefing, Trump showed a campaign-style video defending his response to the pandemic — an apparent response to recent reporting he gravely mishandled the early days of the crisis. Trump clashed with CBS reporter Paula Reid when questioned about reports of his early inaction.
Paula Reid: “You bought yourself some time, and you didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing.”
President Donald Trump: “You’re so — you’re so” —
Paula Reid: “Right now nearly 20 million people are unemployed.”
President Donald Trump: “You’re so disgraceful.”
Paula Reid: “Unemployed. Tens of thousands” —
President Donald Trump: “It’s so disgraceful the way you say that.”
Paula Reid: “Well, what did you do with the time that you bought?”
President Donald Trump: “Look, look, you know you’re a fake. You know that. Your whole network, the way you cover it is fake.”
Meanwhile, Trump is expected to formally announce his council to “reopen America.” On Monday, Fox News reported members include Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, none of whom are experts in medicine, science or public health. Wilbur Ross previously said the pandemic would boost the U.S. job market. Last month, Larry Kudlow declared the coronavirus was “contained” shortly before states around the country started to shut down.