News

Actions

President Trump continues to claim broad powers he doesn't have

Donald Trump
Posted at 5:08 AM, May 28, 2020

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has been claiming extraordinarily sweeping powers during the coronavirus crisis that constitutional and legal scholars say the president simply doesn’t have.

He has threatened to wield those powers while repeatedly refusing to spell out what statutes he believes grants them.

Trump has threatened to shut down Twitter for flagging false content. On Tuesday, Twitter took the unprecedented step of adding fact-check warnings to two of President Donald Trump’s tweets about voting by mail.

On Wednesday, the president threatened social media companies with new regulation or even shuttering. Twitter's move and Trump's reaction raise a host of questions, from why Twitter acted now to how it decides when to use such warnings to the political reaction its action may fuel, to what it means for the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

For now, experts say Trump likely can't enforce his threats, and that Twitter will probably continue the practice of flagging misleading tweets on certain subjects such as voting.

Trump has also claimed he can “override” governors who dare to keep churches closed to congregants. And that he has asserted the “absolute authority” to force states to reopen, even when local leaders say it’s too soon.

Experts say that while the president holds a great deal of power to respond to public health crises, those are not among them.