Trump, who clashed with governors over who was responsible for reopening the country, told reporters on April 14 that the governors can decide when and how to reopen their states, but that the federal government would be watching closely.
“I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly and I will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening and a very powerful reopening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate,” he said in the Rose Garden at the White House.
“The governors will be opening up their states. Some can open very, very shortly, if not almost immediately. We will give a date, but the date will be in the very near future,” he added.
Federal guidance on strict social distancing as an attempt to stem the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, expires at the end of the month. The guidance prompted a number of governors to order lockdowns.
Over 20 states are in extremely good shape, according to the president, and some could begin reopening before May 1. None of those states were named. Many states in the middle of the country have seen few cases and deaths from COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the CCP virus.
“We think we’ll be able to get them open fairly quickly, and then others will follow,” he said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is poised to unveil a reopening plan this week and two compacts, led respectively by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, are working on plans to loosen near-total economic shutdowns in nine other states.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday morning that 19 or 20 states have seen “limited impact” from the CCP virus.
“There are a number of counties within this country that have not experienced really any coronavirus despite testing,” he said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” adding, “I think we will see some states that are, the governors feel that they’re ready, we’re poised to assist them with that reopening.”
The federal government will support the states, as it has already by sending ventilators, dispatching the military to erect field hospitals, and shipping personal protective equipment, Trump said.
“The best way—I’m talking now from a managerial standpoint—is to let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty and we will help them,” he told reporters.
But each governor will be held accountable, he warned twice, saying states needed to do testing for the virus.
Asked if he would consider withholding funding from governors who resist federal guidance, Trump said the governors would listen.
“They’ll listen. They’ll be fine. I think we’re going to a have a good relationship. They need the federal government” for funding, equipment, and advice, he said.
“The governors will be very, very respectful to the presidency. Again, this isn’t me, this is the presidency.”