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Trump Accuses Governors of 'Mutiny'

President says he's up for the fight on executive authority
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2020 1:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – Early Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused President Trump of behaving more like a "king" than a president in asserting authority over the states on the coronavirus outbreak. Trump himself later floated a different comparison, that of a ship captain. A very specific ship captain. "Tell the Democrat Governors that 'Mutiny On The Bounty' was one of my all time favorite movies," he tweeted. "A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!" Coverage:

  • Another: Trump's tweets came after Cuomo's "king" criticism, and the president directed another rejoinder directly at the governor: "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." he wrote. "I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!"
  • About that captain: Vanity Fair is among those who found Trump's reference to the movie (there were two, one in 1935 and another in 1962) a little perplexing. That's because the infamous Capt. Bligh was "an arrogant, nasty, paranoid, freakishly obsessive, and brutal man," and things didn't end well for him.

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  • Skeptics: Trump was expected to lay out his arguments on exerting presidential authority, but in the meantime, the skeptics were out and NPR rounds up the opinions of legal experts. "It's so plain and obvious it's not even debatable," says Kathleen Bergin, a professor at Cornell Law School. "Trump has no authority to ease social distancing, or to open schools or private businesses," she adds. "These are matters for states to decide under their power to promote public health and welfare, a power guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution."
  • Republicans, too: Rep. Liz Cheney and Sen. Marco Rubio were among prominent Republicans to say that Trump cannot force the states to do his bidding, reports USA Today. "The federal government does not have absolute power," tweeted Cheney, and she included the text of the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Rubio wrote that federal guidelines "will be very influential," but "the Constitution & common sense dictates these decisions be made at the state level."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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