New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump fires back at critics during briefing | Trump claims he has authority on when to reopen states | Governors form groups to discuss plans | Fauci offers support to Trump | House delays return 18 things to know for today on coronavirus Paul Krugman: ‘Crazy’ to reopen economy in the next few weeks MORE (D) said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate committee to investigate origin of, response to coronavirus pandemic Amash teases possibility of third-party presidential bid Overnight Health Care: Trump fires back at critics during briefing | Trump claims he has authority on when to reopen states | Governors form groups to discuss plans | Fauci offers support to Trump | House delays return MORE is “clearly spoiling for a fight” but that he would not play along.
The remarks came just hours after the governor did a number of interviews in which he sharply pushed back on Trump’s claims that the president has the authority to overrule governors in deciding when to reopen the economy. Trump responded to those interviews by lashing out at Cuomo in a tweet.
In his coronavirus press briefing Tuesday, the Democratic governor called for lawmakers to continue putting politics aside and work together to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“I put my hand out in total partnership and cooperation with the president. If he wants a fight he’s not going to get it from me, period,” Cuomo said at his briefing. “This is going to take us working together. We have a real challenge ahead. Just because those numbers are flattening, it’s no time to relax, we’re not out of the woods.”
At the heart of the controversy are Trump’s claims from the day before that he has the authority to reopen businesses in states where they’ve been closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful,” Trump said Monday. “The president of the United States calls the shots.”
Cuomo pushed back Tuesday morning in a series of cable news shows before his briefing, claiming Trump is wrong in his statement and said the power lies with the states.
Trump fired back at Cuomo Tuesday morning, about an hour before the start of Cuomo’s briefings.
“Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “That won’t happen!”
Asked during his briefing why he responded to Trump if he’s not looking for a fight, Cuomo said Trump’s comment that he has “total authority over the states can not go uncorrected.”
“That is factually wrong,” Cuomo said, citing the 10th Amendment which states that powers not delegated to the U.S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.
“[There’s] many things you can debate in the Constitution because they’re ambiguous. This is not one of those things that is ambiguous. … This was the first battle, do we want a king or do we want a president? And we opted for a president,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo said it would be his “pleasure” to speak to Trump, but said he has no plans to speak with the president today.