On Monday, Trump said his “authority is total” and insisted he could force states to reopen their shuttered economies.
“When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that is the way it’s gonna be,” Trump said. “It’s total. And the governors know that.”
Trump’s claim of “total” authority was met with immediate pushback from Republican and Democratic governors alike. Trump softened his stance ― sort of ― the following day, when he announced he was “authorizing” governors to determine when to reopen states.
Republicans for the Rule of Law communications chief Carson Putnam said in a news release that Trump had claimed new authorities for himself while denying all responsibility for his administration’s flawed response to the crisis.
“His job is to be a leader,” Putnam said. “Not a king, not a commentator, not a rabble-rouser, but a responsible leader in a time of crisis.”
Protect Democracy policy advocate Justin Vail said Trump was acting like an authoritarian by using the crisis to claim new powers for himself.
“The president’s authority is not total,” Vail said in the news release. “There is no debate here.”
The ad will run Friday morning in Washington, D.C., on “Fox & Friends,” known to be one of the president’s favorite shows.
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