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President Trump claims he has 'total authority' during 'TV meltdown'
14 April 2020, 09:13
President Donald Trump claimed that he has 'total authority' to lift the US lockdown as he launched a blistering attack on the US media at his latest coronavirus press conference.
Speaking at the White House on Monday night, Trump said: "The president of the United States calls the shots".
His comments come as ten US states confirmed they are planning to lift their stay-at-home orders.
The President continued: "When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total.
"It's total. The governors know that. That being said, we're going to work with the states."
He said that "numerous provisions" in the US constitution give him power to override state decisions to reverse lockdowns, although he did not specify which ones.
One television network described it as "the biggest meltdown from a US president" they'd ever seen.
The US is the country worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with 554,6849 confirmed cases and 23,608 deaths.
Later in the conference, Trump also launched a scathing attack on the US media.
At one point, he told a reporter that she is "fake, so fake", after she asked what his administration had been doing in February to stop the virus.
"You're disgraceful, you're so disgraceful," he continued.
Trump also played a video produced by White House staff which included a montage of clips of state governors praising his work during the pandemic.
When challenged over the clip, he retorted that the video had been put together in a couple of hours and he had "hundreds of other statements, better clips could have been shown."
"We're very close to completing a plan to open our country." pic.twitter.com/xnV4XxwnjL— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 13, 2020
He also stated: "We've done this right, we've really done this right, the problem is the press doesn't cover it," when asked what he had done well during the crisis.
Multiple news networks cutaway during the conference, saying that the president was wrongly using the session as "propaganda" rather than update on the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the US.