New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused President Donald Trump of “spoiling for a fight”, as the US leader lashed out at “Democrat Governors”.
Several states, including New York, have begun cautious talks on reopening, but Mr Trump has claimed “total” power to lift virus lockdowns.
Mr Cuomo refuted the claim on Tuesday as the president took to Twitter to criticise the governor.
The US is the epicentre of the pandemic with 554,684 cases and 23,608 deaths.
New York has the most cases, but has seen signs of improvement, leading Mr Cuomo and regional governors to discuss plans for eventual relaxation of restrictions.
The governor criticised Mr Trump at his daily press briefing, telling reporters that this was the governors’ prerogative, not the president’s. He would “not engage” in a fight with Mr Trump, he claimed, but added he would have “no choice” if the president the threatened the welfare of New Yorkers.
What’s been said?
Mr Trump drew rebuke after claiming on Monday that he had the ultimate authority to lift lockdown orders, contradicting governors and legal experts.
He took the row to Twitter on Tuesday, criticising Mr Cuomo and issuing an oblique snipe at other governors.
“Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favourite movies,” Mr Trump, a Republican, wrote on Twitter.