Nikki Haley Points to State Responsibility Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: 'Burden Is on the Governor'


Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley does not believe President Donald Trump should be receiving all of the blame for the handling of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Haley penned an op-ed for The New York Times explaining why the nation should be focusing partly on the responsibility governors hold to provide resources and reassurance to their constituents. She writes there is not a one size fits all solution. 

“The coronavirus presents enormous national challenges that call for a strong federal response,” Haley writes. “But we should not lose sight of the essential role that states and governors must play.”

Governors have played a part in issuing stay-at-home orders, postponing primary elections and vying with other states for resources such as ventilators and masks. They have also been critical in closing restaurants, bars, beaches, and parks. 

Haley goes on to point out the challenges she faced as governor of South Carolina. She reiterates the importance of preparing for emergencies while the nation is not presently facing one.

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She describes the role F.E.M.A. plays in sending aid to states and how states are responsible for cultivating a relationship with federal officials who are in charge of allocating resources. 

“Once a crisis hits, state responsibility is primary,” Haley writes.

She adds, “The federal government can provide crucial resources, but the burden is on the governor and her team to distribute them. No two states are alike, and blanket approaches won’t work.”

She continues to illustrate the relationship governors have with their constituents including business leaders, hospital personnel, and leaders of faith communities. 

While Haley recognizes the responsibility Trump holds for the federal response, she encourages Americans to look to their governors for support. She alleges there are some governors using Trump’s approach to distract from their shortcomings. 

“In this crisis, as in any, some are showing their competence and leadership, while others are revealing their shortcomings. It’s true that states shouldn’t have to compete, to bid against each other for supplies at inflated prices. And party politics shouldn’t factor in disbursing federal resources to states. But, most often, this is not the case. Governors who complain about the Trump administration are, in some cases, attempting to distract from their own failures to plan and execute.”

Haley closes the op-ed by pointing to the Constitution’s provision for states to act as individual entities. 

“We face a painful challenge, but we will get through it,” Haley writes. “When we do, we will look back and see that governors rose to meet the challenge, and they did it best when Washington did not impose too much on them.”

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