President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that “when somebody is the president of the United States,” their “authority is total.”
Trump made the alarming claim during Monday’s daily coronavirus task force briefing.
When a reporter asked Trump how he would compel governors to reopen their states’ economies during the outbreak, Trump responded, “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be.”
President Trump: "When somebody's the president of the United States, the authority is total." pic.twitter.com/APAJZKsUOy
— The Hill (@thehill) April 14, 2020
Trump’s remark also came hours after he falsely suggested on Twitter that reopening the country “is the decision of the President,” not the states’ governors.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pressed Trump during Monday’s briefing on his false claim that his “authority is total” as president, saying, “That is not true. Who told you that?”
“Yeah, so you know what we’re going to do?” Trump replied. “We are going to write up papers on this. It’s not going to be necessary because the governors need us one way or the other. Because ultimately it comes with the federal government.”
Business Insider notes that the Tenth Amendment delegates “police powers” to the states to regulate behavior during public health crises.
“The federal government has absolute power,” Trump continued. “As to whether I’ll use that power, we’ll see.”
He added: “I’d rather have [the states] make decisions, but I have absolute right to make the decisions if I want to. The relationships we have with the states and governors is very good.”
TRUMP: "The federal government has absolute power. It has the power. As to whether or not I'll use that power — we'll see … I have an absolute right." pic.twitter.com/76wPDK1GPe
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 13, 2020
Trump has previously claimed he has the “absolute right” to pardon anyone he wants.