CNN’s John King Mocks Trump ‘Authorizing’ Governors to Do Their Jobs: ‘Full Retreat Wrapped in Trumpian Bluster’


CNN’s John King called out President Donald Trump for completing a full reversal in just 24 hours on his baseless claim that he had unlimited power to override — and cease — any state or local guidelines or rules put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

King’s comments came amidst Tuesday’s daily White House briefing on the pandemic, which the network cut away from to offer context on Trump’s latest narrative on the timing of reopening the economy. The CNN anchor told Wolf Blitzer that the president was now pretending to have granted permission to the governors that he didn’t have and that they didn’t need.

At Monday’s coronavirus press briefing, the president notably tried to argue that his “authority was total” in terms of being able to rescind governors’ and mayors’ shelter-in-place and social distancing decrees. Trump’s unlimited powers claim was swiftly shot down on both MSNBC and Fox News as flagrantly unconstitutional. And on Tuesday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised a lawsuit if Trump tried to follow through on his empty boast.

“John King, I want your analysis as well,” Blitzer said. “He realizes that he doesn’t have total authority over the governors, but he still is pretending that he does?”

“Exactly right,” King agreed, before zeroing in on the president’s flip-flop. “That was a full retreat wrapped in Trumpian bluster: ‘I will authorize the governors to do their jobs.’ He has no authority. As you noted with Daniel [Dale], he recognized that as most appropriate in each state — in other words, ‘I today agree that the governors will do this as they see fit in their states,’ which is what the governors were saying all along and what they were going to do no matter what the president said. So this ‘I authorize,’ so he can seem like he still has power was a full retreat from yesterday.”

“Now he’s trying to clean it up,” King continued. “There’s a couple little pieces of what he’s talking about today that would actually be helpful for the American people to hear. Have they finally got the supplies lined up and running? Are they actually producing ventilators at the right speed? Are they doing some of the things that they did not do early on now? Have they learned lessons? That would be great.”

“Instead we get the daily airing of grievances at the White House,” King pointed out. “Things we have to fact check and we have to correct, which some of our viewers get mad at us, too, they want to know: ‘Am I safe? Can I go back to work? When can I go back to work? Can I trust my governor and mayor when they tell me I can go back to work? Can I trust my boss when they say it’s okay to come back to work?’

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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