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EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to state leaders

The Dispatch Editorial Board
Gov. Tom Wolf has let Pennsylvania’s health secretary, Rachel Levine, take the public lead.

Thumbs up to the governors, including Gov. Tom Wolf.

On Monday, Wolf joined five other Northeastern governors announcing a deal — spearheaded by New York's Andrew Cuomo — that created a council aimed at safely reopening the region's battered economy, shuttered in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

West Coast governors, led by California's Gavin Newsom, announced a similar agreement late Monday. 

The deals came after President Donald Trump forgot that there are no kings in the U.S. and claimed he could order states to re-open businesses at any time.

It was a bizarre claim from a Republican president, standard bearer of a party that for decades has proclaimed the supremacy of federalism and state's rights. 

But while Trump has flailed and fibbed his way through the worst public health crisis in a century, it's the governors that have made the difficult, fact-based decisions required to save thousands of American lives.

And it's the governors who — under authority granted by the U.S. Constitution — will be deciding when their states can again ramp up economic production.

Reopening the economy amid the pandemic requires a slow, coordinated and fact-based approach. It's something the governors have shown they can deliver.

Thumbs up to the countless York County residents and not-for-profits stepping up throughout the cornavirus crisis.

Food banks have grappled with long lines and increased demand. Multiple business — themselves facing significant financial strain — have transitioned to making protective equipment for medical professionals. And residents themselves have started making masks in an effort to help.

And, by and large, local elected officials have treated the pandemic with the seriousness with which it deserves. 

These are trying times. No one has gone untouched by the coronavirus outbreak. More than a million Pennsylvania residents are out of work thanks to the mitigation efforts. Countless more workers have taken pay cuts.

Nurses and physicians are put in harm's way every day. So, too, are employees manning the cash registers at grocery stores.

But many continue doing it out of a sense of duty. Many others keep working because it's the only financial option.

And religious leaders throughout the county acted responsibly during the week of Easter and Passover, using webcams and parking lots to exercise responsibly their First Amendment rights. 

Regardless, the community's response has been something that we all should be proud. 

Thumbs down to President Trump's latest red herring, defunding the World Health Organization.

Always keen to find someone or something to blame for his own shortcomings, Trump announced this week that the U.S. would withhold funding from the United Nation's panel of medical experts.

And he's doing it in the midst of a global pandemic. As Microsoft founder Bill Gates said, "it's as dangerous as it sounds." 

But Trump can't accept that any global organization doesn't work directly for the U.S. and, thereby, in his mind, him.

He's threatened and undermined NATO. He's thrown tantrums at the G7. Now, he's blaming the WHO, even after he ignored and downplayed warnings about the coronavirus for more than two months.

Trump didn't cause the outbreak. But he's mishandled it about as poorly as one could imagine. 

So much for the "buck stops here."