RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
President Trump is defending his response to the coronavirus pandemic. On the White Home briefing final evening, he pushed again towards detailed essential accounts of his management on this disaster. In a pandemic that has now killed greater than 23,000 People, the president targeted on a well-known enemy – the media. President Trump additionally made the false declare that he can order states to reopen their economies.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The federal authorities has absolute energy. It has the facility. As as to whether or not I am going to use that energy, we’ll see.
MARTIN: In actuality, the U.S. Structure reserves many powers for Congress, the courts, the states and the individuals. NPR’s Scott Detrow was watching that briefing and joins us now. Hello, Scott.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So this was completely different from another performances by the president, wasn’t it?
DETROW: Yeah, even towards the baseline of the tenor and tone of a number of these briefings and the Trump presidency as a complete, this was an offended and defensive briefing. And this is the context. A number of information shops, together with The New York Occasions – which the president was largely targeted on – had printed prolonged tales in current days wanting again on the early days of the pandemic, January, notably February, at occasions when President Trump and plenty of senior advisers had been downplaying the specter of coronavirus and weren’t taking the drastic steps that they and most states ended up taking in March.
This clearly received to President Trump. He spent the primary 45 minutes or extra of this briefing simply attacking the media and defending himself.
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TRUMP: All I am saying is that this – how do you shut down the best economic system within the historical past of the world when, on January 17, you don’t have any instances and no dying?
DETROW: And that is the newest in an elevated emphasis on the president going again to attempt to reframe what occurred in these early months fairly than concentrate on the present response. Nonetheless it is effectively documented; checks had been gradual to roll out, and there is nonetheless a number of issues with federal coordination of response efforts and provides. And there is a number of reporting that President Trump was, the truth is, gradual to embrace the large nationwide steps that would have curbed the unfold of the virus.
MARTIN: Proper. So later immediately, the president says he’ll unveil this activity power whose job will likely be placing collectively a plan to reopen the nation. However let’s simply be clear on this, Scott – is that this a call that’s really below the president’s authority?
DETROW: Properly, in relation to providing tips and a highway map, there’s a number of demand for some type of cohesive nationwide plan right here. However in relation to the authorized authority, that is one thing that occurs on the state stage, with the governors and the mayors who ordered these restrictions and closed faculties to start with. And despite the fact that for a lot of final week President Trump was saying that he’s deferring to the governors, he appeared to – this concept appeared to get below his pores and skin.
He stated one thing fairly notable yesterday, that the president has the final word authority to reopen the economic system. That’s constitutionally not the case, particularly, once more, in a scenario the place it was state legal guidelines to start with.
And that being the case, it is notable that you’ve two teams of states, one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast. Collectively, these governors signify greater than 100 million individuals. They introduced yesterday they’re going to work collectively. They’re going to coordinate and take a look at the information and make the choice themselves on when to start out reopening issues.
MARTIN: The president additionally performed this video through the press convention final evening that we must always point out. Clarify what that was about.
DETROW: Yeah, many critics have stated these briefings typically substitute for the Trump marketing campaign rallies that the president cannot maintain proper now, that they are simply political in nature. So it was hanging that he paused in the course of this briefing for what amounted to a marketing campaign advert displaying clips, with music behind him, of him making bulletins like shutting down flights from China and issues like that, displaying clips of the media giving him credit score for these steps. Although Maggie Haberman, The New York Occasions reporter who was quoted in it, stated that she was taken out of context.
The president did say that it was White Home staffers who put this video collectively – authorities workers, not a marketing campaign workers.
MARTIN: All proper. NPR’s Scott Detrow for us this morning. Scott, thanks.
DETROW: Thanks. Transcript supplied by NPR, Copyright NPR.