Governors are responsible for combatting the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic and not President Donald Trump, according to former South Carolina governor and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

“Once a crisis hits, state responsibility is primary. 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,” Haley wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Wednesday, April 8.

Haley explained that governors know their residents and their state’s needs better than the federal government does, and they are in the best position to “control what happens on the ground.” She added that governors should be aware of their states’ supplies for emergency situations and reach out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the federal government before a crisis.

“As our highest nationally elected leader, of course President Trump has enormous responsibility in this unprecedented crisis, and he is marshaling the federal response on a massive scale,” Haley wrote. “But in implementing plans to save people’s lives and keep our economy afloat, look no further than the governors.”

Haley said that some governors have shown strong leadership during the crisis and condemned others for blaming President Trump in order to hide their own failures. She noted that the president is often accused of being an “authoritarian,” but now his critics are upset that he has not taken more power from the states. “It’s a curious thing,” she said. 

“I was a Republican governor with a Democrat in the White House. We disagreed on most policy matters, but we put those differences aside to serve the immediate needs of our joint constituents,” Haley wrote. “You don’t serve your people if you let politics get in the way.”

Haley said that federalism is important but governors are the most successful when they are given the flexibility to determine their own response during the crisis.

“Our Constitution has it right: Keep control and decision-making close to the people. We are seeing that play out in every state today. We face a painful challenge, but we will get through it. 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,” she concluded.