White House

Trump Guidelines to Reopen Economy Will Let States Decide: ‘The Buck Stops with the Governors’

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, March 29, 2020. (Al Drago/Reuters)

The Trump administration’s guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy will give recommendations to state governments on when to relax business closures, effectively recognizing that the final decision rests with individual governors.

“The buck stops with the governors,” a senior administration official involved in development of the guidelines told the Wall Street Journal. During a conference call with several state governors on Thursday, Trump also emphasized that governors will have the authority to reopen local businesses when they see fit.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump said, according to a person briefed on the call. “We’ll be standing right alongside of you and we’re going to get our country open.”

The guidelines for reopening the country detail steps that states should take to open businesses and schools depending on the severity of coronavirus outbreaks in different areas. The guidelines have the backing of senior health officials including Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Over the past week Trump has asserted that he has the ultimate authority to reopen state economies, even though all business and school closures were enacted by state governments.

“For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government…this is incorrect,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday. “It is the decision of the President.”

The comments received bipartisan pushback, including from Florida senator Marco Rubio.

“The Constitution and common sense dictates these decisions be made at the state level,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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