New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and several other northeastern governors are reportedly developing a plan they hope will thwart attempts by President Donald Trump to influence how and when they reopen their states’ economies.
What are the details?
According to Reuters, Cuomo has hired high-powered consultants from McKinsey & Company to produce models on “testing, infections, and other key data points that will underpin decisions on how and when to reopen the region’s economy.” Cuomo has also recalled former top aides as part of the effort.
The goal is to “Trump-proof” the plan, an adviser to New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy told Reuters.
A Cuomo adviser added, “We think Trump ultimately will blink on this, but if not, we need to push back, and we are reaching out to top experts and other professionals to come up with a bullet-proof plan” to open the economy on the states’ terms.
A McKinsey adviser confirmed to the news agency that consultants are providing analysis on testing demand and availability, supply chain for important supplies, virus projections, and hospital capacity.
What’s the background?
Cuomo, Murphy, and governors from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts formed a coalition Monday to work on a coordinated plan to reopen their economies as the coronavirus pandemic dies down. Of the seven states, only one has a Republican governor — Massachusetts.
The New York Times noted that the northeastern coalition announcement “appeared to be an implicit rebuke to President Trump.”
Trump, who had previously desired to reopen the economy by Easter but later decided to extend social distancing guidelines until April 30, has been sensitive to the consequences of a long-term economic shutdown since the start of the outbreak. He had been growing increasingly frustrated with Democratic governors who appeared more comfortable with the idea of continuing economic shutdowns in their states.
During a White House press briefing on Monday, Trump argued that he possesses “total authority” in regard to reopening the economy after a crisis. It wasn’t immediately clear what the president meant by this statement, but nonetheless, the clash with governors over who has the power to reopen the economy had evidently reached a boiling point.