Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Life Imitates Art - Trump as Homer Simpson

Life imitates art, as Donald Trump morphs into 'Max Power' in his stand-off with state governors over who calls the shots in the vital decision to relax America's Coronavirus lockdown.

In episode 13, series 10 The Simpsons Homer changes his name to Max Power to avoid being ridiculed as a bumbling buffoon, having acquired his new name from the words 'Max Power' on a hairdryer.

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania told Trump: "Well, seeing as how we had the responsibility for closing the state down, I think we probably have the primary responsibility for opening it up."

Read the BBC's report via the link below.


Coronavirus: Trump claims 'total' authority to lift lockdown

Media caption - WATCH: Reporter challenges President Trump at briefing

President Donald Trump has claimed "total" power to lift the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, contradicting governors and legal experts.

"The president of the United States calls the shots," Mr Trump said during a combative press conference in which he feuded with reporters.

But the US Constitution says the states maintain public order and safety.

Ten states on the US East and West coasts are planning to lift their strict stay-at-home orders.

The US is the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with 554,684 confirmed cases and 23,608 deaths.

Image copyright - GETTY IMAGES Image caption - Governor Cuomo has begun plans for reopening New York after the virus shutdown

What did President Trump say?

Mr Trump, a Republican, told the daily White House coronavirus briefing on Monday that his administration was finalising a plan to reopen the US economy, which has been largely shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Trump administration has signalled 1 May as a potential date for easing the restrictions.

The current White House recommendations for Americans to avoid restaurants and non-essential travel and keep in-person gatherings to no more than 10 people expire on 30 April.

But when journalists queried whether Mr Trump had the authority to over-ride stay-at-home orders imposed on a state-by-state basis, he said: "When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. 

"It's total. The governors know that."

He added: "That being said, we're going to work with the states."

The president insisted "numerous provisions" in the US founding charter give him such power, without specifying which ones.

But legal experts say the president does not have the authority to reverse a public health restriction put in place at the state or local level.
Asked by the BBC's Jon Sopel if he was concerned about the possibility of having to close the economy again if a second wave of coronavirus strikes, Mr Trump said: "It does weigh on my mind."

Image copyright - EPA Image caption - Wall Street has been deserted during the lockdown

He told reporters the number of deaths from the virus in the US had begun to plateau, indicating that social distancing efforts had succeeded.

During the briefing, the White House played a video montage lambasting the media coverage, touting the president's handling of the pandemic and clips of governors praising the Trump administration.

Several news outlets, which have been broadcasting the daily briefings live, quickly cut away.

What are governors saying?

Governors assert it is their prerogative when the coronavirus-related restrictions get lifted.

Responding to a Trump tweet earlier in the day claiming unilateral authority on the matter, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said: "Well, seeing as how we had the responsibility for closing the state down, I think we probably have the primary responsibility for opening it up."

State governors are discussing plans to resume economic activity without apparent input from the Trump administration.

Officials in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania promised an "overwhelmingly prudent" approach, but gave no timeline.

New York has almost 190,000 coronavirus cases and has seen more than 10,000 deaths - among the highest rates in the world. 

Media caption - Olympic dreams dashed by a pandemic and politics

But Governor Andrew Cuomo told a briefing on Monday he believed the "worst is over" for his state.

"Nobody has been here before, nobody has all the answers," said Mr Cuomo. "Addressing public health and the economy: which one is first? They're both first."

The western states of California, Washington and Oregon also announced plans for a shared approach to reopening.

Except for Massachusetts, all the 10 states are led by Democratic governors.

More than 40 states have imposed state-wide stay-at-home orders for their entire population.