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Fact check: Trump falsely claims the president has 'total' authority over coronavirus restrictions

April 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Monday, April 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that, as President, he has "total" authority to decide to lift restrictions governors have imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that, as President, he has "total" authority to decide to lift restrictions governors have imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"When somebody's the President of the United States, the authority is total, and that's the way it's got to be," Trump said at a bitter White House coronavirus briefing.

Trump then said: "The authority of the President of the United States having to do with the subject we're talking about is total. " And after speaking about local governments, he said, "They can't do anything without the approval of the President of the United States. "

James Hodge, a professor and director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University, said Trump is "wrong" to claim he has the power to lift the states' coronavirus restrictions.

"He can strongly encourage, advise, or even litigate whether states' authorities to restrict public movements re: shelter in place or stay home orders are warranted, but cannot tell sovereign governors to lift these orders all at once just because the federal government determines it is high time to do so," Hodge said in an email.

When another reporter explained that the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution grants to states the powers not delegated to the federal government, Trump did not contest this interpretation -- and instead sidestepped the question, saying he did not believe a state official who refused to reopen the economy could win reelection.

While Vladeck said Congress might be able to pass a law authorizing the President to override some state and local restrictions -- he emphasized the "might" -- he said Trump does not have the power to override the restrictions on his own.

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