President Donald Trump has said local officials should reopen churches and other places of worship this weekend, calling them “essential” institutions.
The US president revealed that a new Center for Disease Control classification will now mean churches are considered “essential”, paving the way for governors to reopen places of worship.
“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less,” he stated.
Trump called it an “injustice” that while churches were closed, “liquor stores and abortion centers” remained open during the lockdown.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores & abortion clinics essential, but have left out churches … it’s not right,” he said.
“So I’m correcting this injustice in calling houses of worship essential.”
He also warned Democrat governors that they would not change his mind on the matter.
“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me,” Trump said. “But they are not going to be successful in that call.”
“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united…if they don’t do it I am going to override the governors.”
— The Hill (@thehill) May 22, 2020
The president had lobbied the CDC on Thursday about the reopening of churches, telling reporters afterwards that “we want to get our churches back and our country is coming back.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany however admitted that the decision was still “up to the governors”, casting doubt on the legal weight of Trump’s demands.
The US administration’s coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx also warned that people who have health issues and live in areas with a high number of cases “maybe…can’t go this week.”