Watch: Donald Trump meets recovered COVID-19 patients at the White House

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US President Donald Trump spoke to several patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

“I’ve lost several family members to COVID all in one household. My cousin, Cheryl Fowler, was in ICU. She lost her husband. He was turned away from numerous hospitals. As was she over four times and within six hours she lost her father in law, who was turned away numerous times,” Karen Whitsett, Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, told Trump during their meeting at the White House.

Trump sparked controversy when he claimed on Monday he had the “absolute” power to force state governors and big-city mayors to lift quarantine and distancing policies.

Determined to quickly reopen the US economy when the coronavirus threat eases, Trump warned governors and local leaders he would step in, if they insist on maintaining their own rules to prevent the spread of the virus beyond what he believes is necessary.

“They can’t do anything without the approval of the president,” Trump said.

“When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total,” he said. “I would rather work with the states... But I have the absolute right to do it if I want to.”

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