President Donald Trump organized a dramatic unscheduled press conference on Friday to proclaim that he would require governors to reopen churches and other houses of worship and to exempt them from coronavirus blockades.
Trump made a brief statement – and avoided questions – in the White House briefing room, as many other states reopen shortly before Memorial Day weekend, with some states such as Maryland and Virginia still not seeing the slopes of the infection that health experts want.
‘Today I am identifying the houses of worship – churches, synagogue[s] and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services, “Trump said in the White House briefing room.
President Donald Trump said he is asking governors to exempt churches and houses of worship from coronavirus blockades
To hammer the point at home two days before Sunday, Trump mocked the governors who considered the establishments to be “essential” liquor stores that could remain open despite closings affecting houses of worship.
‘Some governors considered liquor stores and abortion clinics essential, but excluded churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling the essential houses of worship, “said Trump, reading from a statement.
“I ask governors to allow the immediate opening of our churches and places of worship,” he continued. But getting a waiver will be a high order, he said.
“If there is any question, they will have to call me but they will not succeed in that call. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people together. People ask to go to the synagogue of the church, go to their mosque.”
A number of states – including those run by Trump’s allies – have kept liquor stores open between block orders and some states have shown improvements in drinking.
Pastoress Emily Nesdahl conducts a virtual online broadcast of the Sunday service due to restrictions of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Lutheran Peace Church, with drawings of parishioners attached to pews, in Burlington, North Dakota, United States, on April 26, 2020. Photo taken on April 26, 2020. REUTERS / Dan Koeck
People walk through the church before a press conference with the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in our Savior parish in Manhattan regarding the reopening of churches in the archdiocese amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 21, 2020 in New York City
Rev. Jorge Gomez walks to the altar before holding morning mass with no faithful present in the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle on Saturday March 21, 2020 in San Juan, Texas. The mass was broadcast on the church’s Facebook page. The diocese of Brownsville has announced that the public will not be allowed in the church to stop the spread of coronavirus
Trump said that the governors who tried to give up would not get them
Trump left without question
Houses of worship across the country closed when states banned the gathering of over ten people, and remained on display even when Trump reopened Easter once it came and was touted.
There were early coronavirus groups in some churches, including one in the Washington, DC area, as well as funerals and other services.
Churches that meet the employee threshold have been able to get government assistance from small businesses to keep paid staff on the payroll.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany attacked journalists who questioned the proposal and wanted to know on what grounds Trump was exercising federal power over governor orders.
“Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to see these churches and houses of worship remain closed,” she snapped.
This prompted Jeff Mason of Reuters to declare: “I am against. I am going to church. I am dying to go back to church. The question we are asking you and we would have liked to ask the president and dr. [Deborah] Birx is, is it safe? And if he is not sure, the president is trying to encourage or agree with dr. Birx that people should wait? “
“Jeff, reopening your churches is safe and you do it according to the guidelines,” McEnany replied.
Trump mentioned three different faiths and triumphed in the decision, in accordance with the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
‘Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life. Ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders will make sure their congregations are safe as they gather and pray, “said Trump.
‘I know them well. They love their congregations. They love their people, they don’t want anything serious to happen to them or anyone else, “he added.
‘The governor must do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend. If they don’t, I will replace the governors in America, “he said, although he did not say which authority he would use.
“We need more prayer, not less,” he said, before abruptly leaving a press conference that other officials conducted. Trump did not answer questions about whether he would attend church. He participated in an Easter service with a remote evangelical miner.