Trump Warns Governors He 'Will Step In' if Dissatisfied with State Reopening Plans
President says Democrats' reluctance to lift the coronavirus measures 'a political thing'
President Donald Trump has sent out a warning to governors that he "will step in" if he disagrees with their plans for reopening their states.
During a Monday conference call, President Trump spoke with governors regarding their plans to reopen each state as lockdown measures are eased.
The presdient largely expressed satisfaction with how the individual states are moving to lift coronavirus restrictions, according to a report.
Trump has vocally pushed for the rapid reopening of the economy.
Last month, his administration revealed guidelines for when states should begin lifting stay-at-home orders and other social distancing measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo last week, Trump said that his critics want the economy to remain shuttered until the November election, blasting the Democrats' reluctance to lift the coronavirus measures as "a political thing."
"The governors are making their decisions, and want to make their decisions, and that's the way I want it to, and we will step in if we see something going wrong, or if we disagree, and some people say that's nice, and some people say I shouldn't be doing that, but we're going to do it if we see something wrong," Trump said to the governors Monday, according to audio of the call obtained by CBS.
"If you have any problem, let me know please, but it seems that the governors are largely happy," Trump continued.
"And I think I can say extraordinarily happy with respect to what we've done."
The conference call was part of a weekly series of calls between the president and the governors.
During Monday's teleconference First Lady Melania Trump joined to ask governors to also focus on "mental health and how we can partner with each of your states to support all Americans — especially children," according to Fox News.
The restrictions, which are keeping students home from school, nonessential workers out of the office and many businesses shuttered, took a massive toll on the economy — tanking the stock market, causing approximately 36 million people to lose their jobs and leading to a string of bankruptcies of major businesses like J.C. Penny which were already weak before the pandemic hit.
The White House's reopening guidelines suggest states see two full weeks of an uninterrupted decline in positive coronavirus tests before moving on to the first stage of reopening, something National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci has emphasized as important.
He warned in Senate testimony last week that moving to open too early would lead to avoidable "suffering and death."
Also in his testimony, Fauci didn't exactly take a stance on whether or not schools should be able to reopen in the fall but said a vaccine's development would not play into whether or not states should make the move to get kids back in classrooms.
Trump, in his interview with Bartiromo, appeared to take issue with Fauci's cautious tone on schools.
REOPEN OUR COUNTRY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2020
"So [Fauci] is a good person, a very good person — I've disagreed with him,” Trump said.
“We have to get the schools open, we have to get our country open, we have to open our country.
"Now we want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible, we can't keep going on like this …
"You're having bedlam already in the streets, you can't do this. We have to get it open. I totally disagree with him on schools."
Meanwhile, Democratic governors have sought to keep their restrictions in place, citing public health concerns, despite prodding from the president and protesters gathering to call for the reopening of their states' economies.
"I’ve been focused on doing my job, and I’m going to keep doing that and I’m not going to apologize about that," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in an exclusive interview with Fox News on Monday.
"I’m not changing the way I run this state because of some protests.
"We are in the third phase of a six-phase process to bring life back to normal,” she said.
“But we have to be careful as we’ve had a really bad experience with COVID-19."
But in the state next door to Whitmer's, the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week struck down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ coronavirus restrictions, saying his administration overstepped its bounds by imposing them unilaterally.
Evers lamented the court's decision in a statement after the ruling was issued.
"Republican legislators have convinced 4 justices to throw our state into chaos," he said.
"We cannot let today's ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices Wisconsinites have made over these past few months."
As of Monday, every state in the U.S. has taken at least some limited reopening measures, with Connecticut and Massachusetts moving the slowest but with plans to expand their reopening in the next week.
Only Washington, D.C., is still almost entirely shut down.