Congress Announces Power Move To Strip Trump ‘Total Authority’ During Pandemic


President Donald Trump has faced steep criticism this week after he claimed, with no legal basis whatsoever, that he has “total authority” over when states get their economies going again after the steep social distancing measures enacted to help stem the spread of the Coronavirus. On Tuesday, the day after Trump’s completely ridiculous remarks, Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), and Justin Amash (I-Mich.) jointly introduced a simple, one-sentence resolution in the House of Representatives directly asserting, quite simply, that Trump was wrong.

The resolution reads:

‘The House of Representatives affirms that when someone is the president of the United States, their authority is not total.’

In a rant to reporters at a Monday press conference, Trump had asserted:

‘When somebody’s president of the United States, the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to to be. It’s total. It’s total, and the governors know that.’

That is not correct, and there is no basis anywhere in U.S. law for Trump to claim as much. Hundreds of years of U.S. legal precedent stretching all the way back to the establishment of the U.S. Constitution itself have enacted the separation of powers across all levels of government. Trump’s authority is not total; he does not know what he’s doing.

This Tuesday, Malinowski commented:

‘I introduced this one-sentence House resolution this morning, with @RepDeanPhillips and @justinamash. We can only pass things with unanimous consent these days, so I’m curious if anyone will object.’

Although no Republicans were among the resolution’s initial backers, it’s worth noting that even some GOP’ers spoke out against the president’s remarks.

Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for instance — an ardent conservative — tweeted:

‘The constitution doesn’t allow the federal gov’t to become the ultimate regulator of our lives because they wave a doctor’s note. Powers not delegated are RESERVED to states & the PEOPLE. If we dispense with constitutional restraints, we will have more to worry about than a virus.’

It took Trump basically declaring himself a dictator to move Paul to even tweet something, but whatever works!

Over in the U.S. House, top Republican Liz Cheney also spoke out. She tweeted succinctly:

‘The federal government does not have absolute power. “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.” United States Constitution, Amendment X’

Perhaps more pressingly, a slew of governors around the country including New York’s Andrew Cuomo have indicated they’re prepared to defy any so-called orders from the president for them to reopen their economy and potentially expose people to the virus.

Will any of these concerns come to a head, or is this spectacle nothing more than yet another instance of Trump’s endless self-confident gusto? Who knows. If the economy reopens before authorities have a chance to amass the resources to get the virus under control, the virus could spread even farther than before and there could be more unnecessary deaths – although that hasn’t stopped Trump from trumpeting premature reopening plans in the past.