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13 Apr, 2020 19:20

Collision course with Trump? Cuomo says governors will decide when to lift lockdown, not White House

Collision course with Trump? Cuomo says governors will decide when to lift lockdown, not White House

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and five regional governors have banded together to decide when to reopen their economies. The move clashes with President Donald Trump’s insistence on making that call himself.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Cuomo announced that he would work together with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island to decide together when to lift the quarantine measures in their respective states.

Each state will nominate a public health official and an “economic health” official, who will lift restrictions in the region after consulting with the group as a whole. No date was given for the economic restart, with Cuomo stating that the decision will be made “smartly,” based on “the facts” as they present themselves.

There is “a new day coming,” Cuomo declared, “and it can be a bright day.”

All six governors are Democrats, and the decision to ignore federal directions and work together will likely set them up for a showdown with President Trump.

Earlier on Monday, Trump insisted on Twitter that “it is the decision of the president” when to reopen the economy, “and for many good reasons.” Trump has said that he will lift lockdown measures on May 1, a goal considered unrealistic by his own coronavirus task force.

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Cuomo defended his decision to go it alone. “Let’s see what the federal government’s plan is,” he told reporters. Trump “left it to the states to close down. Without any guidance really, he took the position that it was the states’ decision.”

“If they want to change the model, they can change the model,” he said.

Cuomo’s working group will meet on Tuesday to discuss a date for the reopening. The governor did not suggest a date, but said he wishes to lift the lockdown “ASAP.”

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