Trump: States must allow churches to reopen this weekend, otherwise 'I will override the governors'

Trump said churches should be considered essential, similar to grocery stores.

Updated: May 26, 2020 - 1:21pm

President Trump on Friday said states must allow churches to reopen this weekend, otherwise "I will override the governors."

Trump said U.S. churches would be allowed to re-open if they followed coronavirus social distancing protocols. 

"Today I'm identifying houses of worships: churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services," the president said at the White House. "Some governors have deemed liquor stories or abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. That's not right. So I'm correcting this injustice and I'm calling houses of worship essential."

Trump said that spiritual leaders "will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray. I know them well, they love their congregations. They love their people. they don't want anything bad to happen to them or to anybody else. The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they don't do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less." 

The president has been eager for churches to resume in-person fellowship as part of his bigger push to reopen the country. He said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be releasing a "very strong" recommendation for places of worship.

"If there's any question, they're going to have to call me. But they're not going to be successful in that call. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque. many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life."

The CDC this week issued reopening guidelines for schools, small businesses, restaurants, childcare facilities, and public transport. According to media reports, the White House was unhappy with the CDC guidelines for reopening churches because they were too restrictive.

"We want our churches open, we want places of faith, synagogues, we want them open," Trump said during a Memorial Day ceremony earlier on Friday.

Trump has recently been urging the CDC to issue guidance specific to places of worship as soon as possible, pressing the issue Thursday before and during a trip to Michigan to tour a Ford plant.

Speaking at the Memorial Day ceremony, Trump said churches should be considered essential, similar to grocery stores.

"I consider them essential and that's one of the things we're saying, we're going to make that essential you know they have places essential that aren't essential," he said. 

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