Adam Schiff Says Donald Trump's Power Isn't Absolute 'But His Incompetence Is' After Coronavirus Briefing

Rep. Adam Schiff said America would not reopen without "a plan to get the virus under control" and accused President Donald Trump of making "alarming" claims of absolute power.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman said Trump's "incompetence" was absolute in a Monday night tweet responding to the president's remarks at a White House coronavirus press conference.

"There is no 'reopening' without a plan to get the virus under control and keep it that way," the California Democrat tweeted.

"Trump's false claims of absolute power are alarming, of course. But his failure to scale up testing is unforgiveable and deadly. His power isn't absolute—but his incompetence is."

Data published by the COVID Tracking Project shows coronavirus testing in the U.S. has increased significantly since the end of March.

At the time of writing, 2.96 million coronavirus tests have been carried out in America, up from around 350,000 on March 24.

Reuters reported on Monday that South Korea will send the U.S. up to 600,000 testing kits this week following a request from Trump on March 25.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment and will update this article with any response.

Schiff tweeted his criticism of Trump in response to a video of Monday's coronavirus briefing at the White House.

In the clip shared by Pod Save America, Trump said: "When somebody's the President of the United States, the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be. Total. It's total, and the governors know that. The governors know that."

At the press conference, he also suggested he had total authority to override state-level stay-at-home orders if he wished to get the country's economy up and running again.

"I'm gonna put it very simply, the President of the United States has the authority to do what the President has the authority to do, which is very powerful," the president told reporters.

He also suggested he had "allowed" governors to issue stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns to protect public safety, later adding that the state authorities could not "do anything without the approval of the President of the United States."

"The authority of the President of the United States having to do with the subject we're talking about is total," Trump added.

Rep. Adam Schiff at Senate Impeachment Trial
Rep. Adam Schiff speaks to the media during a dinner break in the Senate impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images