New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to go to war with the state of Rhode Island over its actions in sending the National Guard after visiting New Yorkers to make sure they self-quarantine for 14 days. He is threatening to sue the state for its new policy of targeting visiting New Yorkers by using law enforcement to ensure they self-quarantine.
The governor is a little miffed. He believes that Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s actions in calling out the National Guard and setting up checkpoints on highways is “absurd.”
“I understand the goal … but there’s a point of absurdity, and I think what Rhode Island did is at that point of absurdity,” said Cuomo. “We have to keep the ideas and the policies we implement positive rather than reactionary and emotional.”
So, what’s more important? Being “positive” or staying alive? I’ll have to think about that one.
He added that he believes the two governors could “work it out.”
Raimondo said the policies were intended to make sure people from New York would self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Rhode Island.
“I want to be crystal clear about this: If you’re coming to Rhode Island from New York you are ordered into quarantine,” she said. “The reason for that is because more than half of the cases of coronavirus in America are in New York.”
Raimondo isn’t kidding around and is using law enforcement to drive the point home — to both Rhode Islanders and New Yorkers.
State Police reportedly set up a checkpoint on Interstate 95 in Hope Valley on Friday, where drivers with New York license plates had to stop and provide contact information, WPRI-TV of Providence reported. They were told to self-quarantine for two weeks.
New Yorkers who fail to comply could face fines and jail time, Raimondo said — although she added it wasn’t the goal of her policy.
Cuomo told CNN, “I think what they did is wrong, it was reactionary. I think it was illegal but we’ll work it out amicably, I’m sure,” Cuomo said. “ No state should be using police to prohibit interstate travel in any way.”
Cuomo didn’t say on what grounds he would sue Rhode Island, although I’m sure the commerce clause would come into play. But you can see Governor Raimondo’s frustration. Thousands of Typhoid Mary’s are coming into the state refusing to follow the 14-day quarantine rule. Meanwhile, her citizens are getting sick and Cuomo is apparently saying it’s better to appear positive than “reactionary.”
These are unprecedented times, calling for unprecedented measures. We can debate the constitutional niceties later.