Fox Business host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday blasted President Donald Trump’s attack on governors for staging a “mutiny” against him after several state leaders rebuked the president’s claim he had total authority to force them to relax stay-at-home measures imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Cavuto appeared baffled by the president’s take, which contradicts his previous refusal to call a national stay-at-home order, insisting that governors should call the shots in their own states.
“Just surprising, because he was the one himself who left it up to the governors to decide if they wanted to practice social distancing, shelter-at-home provisions, that each governor would decide,” Cavuto said.
“He was never critical of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among the later entrants in that policy,” he said, referring to the pro-Trump Republican.
“So the states say they ultimately want to decide ― as the Constitution provides ― whether it’s safe or not to reopen, and then all of the sudden it’s a bad ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’” he said.
“That I don’t get. The Constitution allows them to do that.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump had accused Democratic governors of being “mutineers” after several rebutted his declaration of “total” authority and said they would start to revive their state economies only when it appears safe to do so.
The president’s claim of power over governors was widely criticized by legal experts, who noted that the Constitution gives powers to states, not the federal government, to enforce local orders during public health crises.
The president had said just more than a week earlier that he would not force governors holding out on enforcing local shelter-at-home measures to act, saying, “We have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish.”
Cavuto forecast a potential “legal nightmare” if the president were to push ahead. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has threatened to sue Trump if he endangers public health by ordering states to lift stay-at-home measures too soon.
Cavuto also noted that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution could allow Congress, not the president, to intervene, but even then, states maintain considerable authority over their jurisdictions.
“It’s not to say that the president lacks a powerful bully pulpit, he indeed does,” Cavuto said. “But it is not the law of the land, it is not in our Constitution. And it invites a sort of confusion on the part of people who want to know, you’ve granted us — the states — the power to do a lot of the things you said we should decide at our level, and now you’ve come up with a decision that is counter to that. We are the ones ignoring policy and the Constitution? It’s crazy.”
Watch the full segment below via Raw Story.