Trump plans to reopen country, but governors call the shots

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday. (Alex Brandon/AP photo via Courthouse News)

WASHINGTON (CN) — Defying experts warning that social distancing is still critical to stop the spread of Covid-19, President Donald Trump on Thursday set forth a plan to allow states to roll back restrictions across the country.

Trump reportedly told governors on a phone call Thursday afternoon “you’re going to call your own shots.” The unveiled guidance follows demands from Republicans to reopen the economy, even at the risk of increased deaths from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The instruction to governors indicates the president is walking back his claim on Monday that his “authority is total” to reopen states. The Constitution does not hand that power to the Oval Office occupant, as governors later pointed out.

The plans to begin reopening the nation come as the government announced Thursday that 5.2 million American applied for unemployment benefits in the last week, reinforcing fears of continued economic strains ahead.

Trump is expected to officially roll out the plan during the White House coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday evening.