CT Gov Calls Out Trump Over His ‘Total Authority’ Claim About Reopening the Economy: He’s Throwing ‘Verbal Hand Grenades’


Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont pulled no punches in calling out President Donald Trump for lobbing “verbal hand grenades” when he claimed to have the power to rescind state and local shelter-in-place and social distancing decrees to restart the economy.

Speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Lamont began his interview by dismissing the president’s comments from just hours earlier, where he claimed to have “total authority” to override governors and mayors and CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins challenged that premise.

“I’ll tell you what I saw when I heard that,” Lamont said, charging out of the gate. “Verbal hand grenades.”

“Two weeks ago, he told your brother [Gov. Andrew Cuomo] and myself, I want a mandatory quarantine of the New York metropolitan area,” Lamont added, before noting Trump’s complete reversal now, though the national death toll is still peaking. “We called him up and talked him down. We got something more reasonable. Now, two weeks later, he wants the mandatory opening up of everything. I just think he likes us to run down these rabbit holes. You’re right, the governor is going to make the determination what’s best for their state. We care deeply about the health and safety of our citizens and get our economy going in a prudent, thoughtful way.”

“You said ‘verbal hand grenade.’ The problem is, he throws them, they blow up in your face,” Cuomo responded. “Now he says, ‘Well, testing, that’s on the states. My decision is just to reopen the economy.’ We’ll deal with what he is doing in a moment. Let’s be painfully honest. I know in New York they can’t handle that kind of responsibility, not with that kind of scale. Can you in Connecticut guarantee the people who voted for you and those who didn’t, frankly, you’re in charge of all of them, if they reopen, the job markets and all of the attendant services in Connecticut, that you can mark any new cases and make sure you can contact trace and get people treated?”

“Absolutely not,” Lamont confirmed. “But we’re working our heart out right now to get the reagents in place, make sure we do the molecular testing, ramp up our antibody testing. Obviously, if the feds would take the lead on that, it would be a lot more effective. Short of that, look, Andrew Cuomo, myself, [NJ Gov.] Phil Murphy and six other governors got together and said we’ll take the lead in the absence of the federal government. We’re going to set up the rules and standards I terms of how we do our testing. Connecticut will never be safe unless New York is safe and vice versa.”

“I could not keep my people safe if we tried to do that overnight,” Lamont added. “Telling me that anybody go in and out of nursing homes when our nursing homes are on fire. Look, we’ve still got a rising infection rate in this state. We still have rising hospitalizations. Not as fast as two weeks ago, thank God, but they’re still going up fast. The boat is very tippy right now. This is the time for steady leadership. Let’s not throw any more of these verbal hand grenades.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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