Liz Cheney refutes Trump’s false claim of total authority: ‘federal government does not have absolute power’

“The federal government does not have absolute power,” Cheney, who serves as a member of House GOP leadership as Republican Conference chairwoman, tweeted on Monday evening, though she did not mention the President explicitly.

The Wyoming Republican invoked the 10th Amendment to the Constitution in her tweet, saying, “‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.’ United States Constitution, Amendment X.”

“When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total,” he said. He later added he would issue reports backing up his claim, which legal experts say isn’t supported by the Constitution.

The claims come as US state, local and federal government officials contemplate how to reopen the country after a widespread shutdown of businesses and economic activity as a mitigation and containment measure to combat the spread of Covid-19.

At the briefing, Trump 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.”

But the President of the United States does not have “total” authority.

Without seeking or requiring Trump’s permission, governors, mayors and school district officials imposed the restrictions that have kept citizens at home and shut down schools and businesses, and it’s those same officials who have the power to decide when to lift those restrictions.

There is no legislation that explicitly gives the President the power to override states’ public health measures. In addition, Trump said last week that he prefers, because of the Constitution, to let governors make their own decisions on coronavirus restrictions.

CNN’s Daniel Dale and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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