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Sooner rather than later.
That’s the message President Trump gave the country from the White House Rose Garden Tuesday saying that portions of the country could open “even before the date of May 1.”
According to the president, plans are being finalized for "new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states," Trump said.
He added that a teleconference with the state governors is scheduled for Thursday.
According to the president, there are at least 29 states in "extremely good shape” that should be ready to open, but in taking questions from reporters, Trump said no state will be forced to change its current course of action if that state is not ready.
“I am not going to put any pressure on any governor to open,” he declared.
On the flip side, Trump said if the federal government disagrees with a state that believes it's ready, “we’re not going to let them open.”
During a press briefing on Monday, Trump seemed to suggest it would be his decision, not the governors or the individual states.
"When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be," Trump said.
But many state officials, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, argue that's not the case.
"We don't have a king in this country", Cuomo said during a briefing on Tuesday. "We didn't want a king. So we have a Consitution and we elect the president."
Cuomo added that he looks forward to working with Trump in "cooperation and partnership."
Trump promised to give the states control over the decision for the time being, but encouraged any state to come to the federal government for help if they need it.
"You could talk about the constitution, you can talk about federalism, you can talk about whatever you want," Trump said. "But the best way now, I’m talking from a managerial standpoint, is to let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty and we will help them.”
The news comes as the president's top health experts, including director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned against Trump committing to any date in the near future to reopen the country. Fauci told The Associated Press on Tuesday that early next month is "a bit overly simplistic" as a goal.
According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 608,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 25,000 deaths in the United States.