Blue state governors take lead on plans for reopening states — ignoring Trump's demands
Blue state governors on both coasts are making clear that they couldn't care less what Donald Trump has to say about easing the social distancing restrictions they put into place to contain the novel coronavirus. After Trump took a pass on issuing national stay-at-home orders, this group of coastal governors said their decisions will be based on their own parameters—competence being chief among them—in coordination with neighboring states.
“Well, seeing as we had the responsibility for closing the state down, I think we probably have the primary responsibility for opening it up," Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania tweeted in response to Trump's assertion Monday that he retained the ultimate authority to reopen America for business.
On the East coast, Wolf is joining with the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island to form a committee of public health officials and economic advisers to guide the timing of easing social distancing restrictions implemented at the state level.
The West coast governors of California, Oregon, and Washington sent a similar message, specifically noting that science—not Trump—would be the main driver of their public health decisions.
"The West Coast is guided by science," California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. "We issued stay at home orders early to keep the public healthy. We’ll open our economies with that same guiding principle."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a similar tweet, stating: "Our residents' health comes first," and adding that health outcomes and science, "not politics," would be the overriding goal of the three governors.
Meanwhile, Trump announced an absolutely frightening cast of characters for his so-called Council to reopen America, headed by know-nothing stooges like his son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. Notably, the group didn't appear to include even a single epidemiologist or public health expert, including no one from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control. It's a glaring omission that would matter greatly, except that every governor who has moved to protect the health of their constituents has already told Trump to shove it (albeit in more diplomatic terms).
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC that Trump trying to take some sort of unilateral action would "raise legal issues if it becomes confrontational and hostile." Cuomo noted it was quite a "shift" for the federal government to want to reopen the country since Trump had left the responsibility to the states, calling the approach a "hodgepodge."
During his daily coronavirus address Monday, Newsom emphasized that it was important to work in concert with neighboring states because this "virus knows no boundaries, no border, you can't build around it, and you can't deny basic fundamental facts."
Newsom is expected to lay out the framework for California's plan on Tuesday.