The President is talking about something he has no authority to do. The sooner we stop talking about it, the better. It's the kind of thing meant to make Real America feel like he's locking down those filthy East Coasters, but it's not something he can actually do.— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 28, 2020
Yeah, I didn't think so, either. So what did Trump say?
“As I said, I just spoke with [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo, I just spoke with [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis. We’re thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s the hot spot. New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there’s the possibility that sometime in April we’ll quarantine.”
First, Gov. Cuomo has no idea what Trump is talking about, becuase Trump didn't mention it to Cuomo today. Second, note who else Trump spoke to: Gov. DeSantis of Florida. Gov. DeSantis is blaming New Yorkers for the problems Florida has:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for closures of gyms and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, but he has yet to issue a shelter-in-place order — and is now blaming New York for the state's coronavirus outbreak.
DeSantis spent a substantial portion of the 33-minute news briefing on Wednesday slamming New Yorkers for getting on flights out of the city, even though the state is under a shelter-in-place order.
Trump wants to win Florida. More to the point, Trump wants to help out a fellow Republican who is a Trump supporter. Ergo, Trump gets in front of cameras and surprises everyone in the White House (again!) by declaring he will quarantine states so as to save DeSantis' bacon from the fire. And why not? DeSantis, like Trump, refuses to take responsibility for problems under his jurisdiction.* It's not exactly xenophobic of him to denounce fellow Americans; then again, it's very Southern to blame the "damn yankees" for your troubles.
Besides, Trump just moved to Florida, right?
Federal statutory authority to quarantine is limited to “any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease.” No such authority empowers executive officials to quarantine on a statewide basis. Nor does POTUS have any such power under Article II.— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 28, 2020
QED. The "police" power to quarantine (among other things) resides solely with the states. Florida has a problem with travel from New York? That's Florida's problem, not the federal government's.This is beyond Trump’s power. Congress has delegated to the president broad powers over foreign immigration but not power to restrict movement within or among the states. Such powers are reserved by the 9th & 10th amendments to the states & the people. https://t.co/sphT3hn2sl— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 28, 2020
*More like Trump than I thought:
Governor, this is a bad look. https://t.co/CQimAU5FMc— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 28, 2020