President Donald J. Trump joined by Vice President Mike Pence, participates in a governors’ video teleconference on partnership to prepare, mitigate and respond to COVID-19 Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the White House Situation Room. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

By Duncan Smith

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump has been anxious to get America reopened for business amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a desire that has only grown since the outbreak domestically has begun to level off.

Many states have taken the president’s advice and the White House’s recommendations for reopening and have begun the process.

It’s not a moment too soon. Business closures ordered by governors upon the White House’s prior ‘shutdown’ recommendations have laid waste to more than 36 million jobs.

But some governors and mayors have stubbornly resisted reopening the bulk of their states, instead claiming that longer lockdowns are still needed to continue ‘bending the curve.’

The data show that while coronavirus infection and death rates are still prevalent, we’re not seeing the promised ‘spikes’ in either as more and more states open up.

So, this begs the question: Are the prolonged lockdowns, which are now occurring primarily in blue states, simply political at this point? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Either way, a report Tuesday claimed that President Trump is set to “step in” and force states and regions to reopen if their leaders don’t do so voluntarily.

“gradual reopening plans are moving along and they’re moving along very rapidly,” Trump said in a recording of his weekly teleconference with governors that was leaked to CBS News.

“The governors are making their decisions, and want to make their decisions, and that’s the way I want it to, and we will step in if we see something going wrong, or if we disagree, and some people say that’s nice, and some people say I shouldn’t be doing that, but we’re going to do it if we see something wrong,” he continued.

“If you have any problem, let me know please, but it seems that the governors are largely happy. And I think I can say extraordinarily happy with respect to what we’ve done,” the president continued.

Now, if this is all CBS News has, then it isn’t at all clear what the president was saying hasn’t been taken out of context. We are well aware of the mainstream media’s penchant for playing “gotcha” with this president.

But if the recording is legitimate and President Trump was indeed implying that he’d use the power of his office reopen regions that refused to do so, then that’s going to become a constitutional question at some point.

Still, given that a court — and perhaps even the nation’s highest court — may decide the question of presidential authority versus state authority, governors in most parts of the country are coming under increasing pressure to reopen because Americans not only want to get back to work, they want to get back to normal.

Even if some governors claim that’s not going to be possible yet.

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