Trump Claims He Has The Power To Force States To Reopen. He Doesn’t.

President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing on COVID-19 in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
April 13, 2020 12:18 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

President Donald Trump falsely declared Monday morning that he has the authority to force states to allow businesses to reopen in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Twitter, Trump accused the media of “creating conflict and confusion” by (accurately) reporting that only governors can open up their states’ economies.

“Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect,” he tweeted. “It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”

Neither the President nor the federal government have that power. Trump has resisted a nationwide stay-at-home order, so the states have enacted their own. The Bay Area in California was one of the first regions to declare a stay-at-home order, and many other states and cities have followed suit.

Although Trump has been lobbying for a swift end to the directives, which have damaged the economy, governors on both sides of the aisle have pushed back against the idea.

“I think that sometimes we all think we’re going to turn a switch and we’re going to be back to normal, and that’s just not going to happen,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said earlier on Monday.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: