In the post there is the text about Trump:

He claimed powers never envisioned by the Constitution and insisted his "authority is total" to order states and cities to get moving again to break out of the frozen economy. His warning came as two blocs of Eastern and Western hot-spot states banded together in an implied challenge to his vow to get people back to work soon, setting off a brewing confrontation over the power of the federal government.

The full text you can find here

I have 3 questions:

1) Does "powers never envisioned by the Constitution" mean "powers of USA is never set by Constitution"? And why is "power" in plural here?

2) What does "to break out" mean here and why there is "of"? I can find "to break out" in dictionary but not "to break out of".

3) Please, explain me "over" in text. I can guess "brewing confrontation over the power of the federal government" is meaning "brewing confrontation for the power of the federal government" or "brewing confrontation between the power of the federal government".

  • "Powers" is plural because the Constitution lists different functions that are allocated to the President, Congress, and the federal courts. These are collectively referred to as "powers."
    – SarahT
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 20:42
  • Never previously envisioned implies not previously considered and, therefore, not included in the constitution. Break out implies emerge from a state of stagnation. Over implies with regard to, in the sense that the division of opinion about federal power is causing the confrontation. Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


1) The phrase "powers never envisioned by the Constitution" means specific acts by the President which are not covered by the Constitution.

2) You break out of a situation with a similar meaning as break out of jail. You would not say "break out jail".

3) The word over here means about or concerning. The concern is in the phrase "the power of the federal government" so there is no idea of "between" in that phrase. There is going to be an argument about the power of the government.

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