Speed Reads

'we would have a problem'

Cuomo says he would ignore an order from Trump to reopen New York before it was safe

After President Trump claimed "total" authority amid the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) says he would not follow a presidential order to reopen the state too soon.

Cuomo spoke to CNN on Tuesday morning after on Monday, Trump insisted it's his decision when states reopen after issuing stay-at-home orders and closing non-essential business during the coronavirus pandemic. "When somebody's the president of the United States, the authority is total," Trump said. Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that it is not the "governors' decision to open up the states" but rather "the decision of the president."

Trump's assertion of "total" authority came after the governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island said on Monday they'd coordinate plans to reopen. With Trump's comments in mind, Cuomo was asked Tuesday what would happen if Trump ordered him to reopen New York on a specific date.

"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," Cuomo said. "And we would have a constitutional challenge between the state and the federal government, and that would go into the courts, and that would be the worst possible thing he could do at this moment, would be to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way."

The New York governor also warned that Trump "should not even think of going there."

Cuomo similarly told Today in an interview Tuesday that "we would have a problem" if Trump ordered New York to reopen in a way that wasn't safe, adding, "If we don't reopen correctly, you will see those virus numbers go up again, and more people will die." Brendan Morrow