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As Trump Asserts His Authority, Baker And Other Govs. Commit To Work Together To Reopen States

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined the Massachusetts National Guard and Michael Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare, as they toured a field medical station in a gymnasium at Joint Base Cape Cod on Tuesday. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/pool)
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined the Massachusetts National Guard and Michael Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare, as they toured a field medical station in a gymnasium at Joint Base Cape Cod on Tuesday. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/pool)

Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated Tuesday he's committed to cooperating with his fellow northeastern governors as they consider how and when to reopen their states for business once the worst of the coronavirus pandemic passes.

The Massachusetts Republican's remarks came as a number of other governors pushed back against President Trump's assertion that those decisions will be up to him. Several Democratic governors have rejected the president's claim of "absolute authority," saying it runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution.

“You don’t become king because there’s a federal emergency,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on CNN.

A number of Republicans have also pushed back against the President.

"How & when to modify physical distancing orders should & will be made by Governors," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a tweet. "Federal guidelines issued by ⁦@CDCgov⁩ & ⁦@WhiteHouse⁩ will be very influential. But the Constitution & common sense dictates these decisions be made at the state level."

But Baker ducked the political back-and-forth, saying that he would rather focus on readying the state for an expected surge of COVID-19 infections in the coming days.

"If you've learned one thing about the Baker-Polito administration over the last five years it's that we are a lot more interested in the work than in the noise," he said.

His comment came just a day after it was confirmed Baker would join the compact between the Democratic governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to game out how to restart their respective economies once the disease threat eased. Like his counterparts, Baker said the present moment is too soon to stop mitigation measures like social distancing, as Massachusetts continues to brace for a surge in cases.

President Trump suggested Tuesday that the governors are engaged in a mutiny.

But Baker said it makes sense for governors to coordinate, so when the time comes, they can reopen their states in the safest way possible.

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Anthony Brooks Twitter Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.

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