When governors lack the support they need from top government, they are joining forces and forming plans to reopen their states and boost the economy together.
“Call your own shots,” President Donald Trump said, referring to the lifting of stay-at-home orders once the coronavirus threat subsides.
Soon after telling the governors to take matters into their own hands, the president posted a contradictory tweet which caused some to scratch their heads. He chose to “push some to reopen their economies quickly and tell them it was their job to ramp up testing,” according to Time.
With confusion, comes chaos.
“This is mayhem,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “We need a coordinated approach between the federal government and the states.”
Cuomo, along with sixteen other governors, mostly Democrats on the West Coast, around the Great Lakes and Northeast, are coming together to organize three separate clusters of states which cover several big metropolitan areas, including New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The pacts are all committed to jumpstarting the economy and reopening businesses and schools, while also avoiding a spike or resurgence of infections.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the teamwork recognizes “that this pandemic virus knows no boundaries, knows no borders, you can’t build walls around it, and you can’t deny basic fundamental facts.”
While the pacts seem to have put one foot in front of the other and begun making progress, other states want to walk alone.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that, “he would ease some pandemic-related restrictions next week, while Florida chooses not to participate in an alliance.”
According to Time, California, Oregon and Washington state teamed up out west, and the Northeast pact united Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Midwestern states Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin have all joined together, as well.
While states are linking up and forming plans to reopen, their efforts seem to be overshadowed by Trump, who has been performing acrobatic flip-flops on where he stands. Now, the president has asserted that he has “total authority” over when states lift restrictions.
Time reports, “He then deferred to governors as he issued broad guidelines for reopening economies over time in places with extensive testing and decreasing cases of the virus. But by Friday, he was tweeting support for those protesting stay-at-home orders in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia and arguing that “States have to step up their TESTING!”
Addisu Demissie, a Democratic strategist, said the alliances are “largely an acknowledgement that the federal government is not going to get done what the states need to get done.”
Though the states want to tread lightly on reopening, Republican and Democratic governors warned they won’t be able to expand testing without the help from the Trump administration.
While governors have voiced that they have the final decision on when to reopen, their efforts to do so are just beginning. So, it is not yet clear how coordinated the states’ actions will ultimately be.