Conservative radio host and litigator Mark Levin observed Friday that Democrats are guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to their latest attack on President Donald Trump: namely, that he is ignoring “federalism” by re-opening the economy.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this week, Democrats and the media attacked Trump for saying he had “total” authority to reopen the economy — after they complained for weeks that he would not impose his authority on all states to shut down.
Levin mocked Democrats on Facebook for demanding that Trump “nationalize” the economy, then demanding that he not reopen it. On his radio show, he added that Democrats loved “monarchy” when it came to their own policies — such as the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA), which was imposed in defiance of Congress — but not when it came to emergency matters of national interest for the nation as a whole, such as putting millions of Americans back to work.
In an interview with Breitbart News Editor in Chief Alex Marlow on Breitbart News Daily on Friday, Levin reiterated his criticism of Democrats, noting that they wanted everything from the federal government but gave nothing in return:
[New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo created this false battle with the president, when the president said, “I have total authority to open this economy,” and Cuomo said, “Excuse me, federalism.” I got to thinking the other day: “Federalism? Isn’t this the guy that keeps coming to the federal government for everything?” Federalism isn’t a one-way street — that is, where a governor can make whatever decisions he wants, even without his legislature, that a governor has dictatorial authority to shut things, open things, punish people — I don’t know where that authority comes, I’m not familiar with the New York constitution, but all these governors seem to be doing the same thing — and then say, as a result of my decisions, mass number of unemployed, mass number of business closings, and I need the government to pay for that, and I need the government to pay for my budget shortfalls, and by the way, even though it’s my responsibility to make sure we have ventilators and beds and so forth under state law, I need the government, the federal government, to provide that. But when Trump says, “I want you to open your state, or at least parts of it” — uh, that’s “federalism.”
Levin echoed an argument Breitbart News pointed out earlier this week defending the president’s power: namely, that under the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause — as interpreted by liberals — the federal government had great power to tell states what to do with regard to the economy, which would likely be Trump’s best argument for his broad authority to do so.
“This isn’t a federalism issue. This is an interstate commerce issue,” Levin said. “That is, if a governor stops the flow of goods and services interstate … he has no authority to regulate that. The Constitution’s very specific … only Congress can regulate it. … The executive branch enforces the Constitution … and that would include the Interstate Commerce Clause.”
Levin cited the Supreme Court’s controversial Wickard v. Filburn (1942) decision that allowed the federal government even more power, to regulate intrastate commerce, which allowed the New Deal, and other laws backed by Democrats, to take root. If that is the precedent, Levin said, the president could easily challenge a governor’s closure of a state’s economy.
Democrats appear to have shifted their arguments again in the wake of President Donald Trump’s release Thursday of his guidelines for reopening the economy. Former Vice President Joe Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Thursday night that Trump “punted” because he “decided that he doesn’t have the right to make the call for the country.”
"I wouldn't call it a plan," says Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, responding to Pres. Trump's plan to reopen the American economy. "…He's kind of punted. He's decided that he doesn't have the right to make the call for the country." #CNNTownHall pic.twitter.com/KqwBt9jwQv
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 17, 2020
Levin pointed out that 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment compensation since the start of the shutdowns, and the federal government had spent $2 trillion to help them. “The idea that that is a state, and wholly a state, issue, is absurd.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.