Trump Demands Immediate Reopening Of Places Of Worship

President Trump Holds News Conference In White House Briefing Room

United States President, Donald Trump, on Friday demanded that US state governors allow places of worship to reopen immediately, as the country moves gradually towards a lifting of COVID-19 lockdown measures.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” the president told reporters at the White House on Friday. “It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential”,  Trump told a news conference at the White House.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,” Trump said.

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“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.”

Establishing what constitutes essential services has been a prerogative of state and local officials, rather than the federal government, and many have restricted houses of worship from holding group services to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In some areas, churches have opened under strict social distancing rules, while in others, pastors and priests have held services outdoors, with worshippers staying in their cars.

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But Trump said houses of worship should be allowed to open just like other places that were designated essential services — including drug stores, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and health clinics, as well as stores that sell alcohol.

There has been debate in some states over allowing facilities providing abortion services, like those operated by Planned Parenthood, to stay open during the COVID-19 shutdown.

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At Friday’s briefing, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, deflected questions about Trump’s threat to override governors and clashed with reporters.

“Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed,” she said sardonically.

Jeff Mason of Reuters replied: “Kayleigh, I object to that. I go to church. I’m dying to go back to church. The question that we’re asking you, and would like to have asked the president and Dr Birx, is is it safe?”

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