Trump calls churches ‘essential,’ says governors must reopen during COVID-19 pandemic
- Author: Sonia Alvarado May 23, 2020,
May 23, 2020, 0:30
"If there's any question, they're going to have to call me", Trump said of governors. The recommendations are voluntary.
"Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential" but not churches, he said.
"As ill-advised as these gubernatorial orders are - as essential as is the right to worship, as fundamental as it is - as absolutely protected by the First Amendment as it is, the president does not have any authority to override the governors", he said.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared a draft of reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago that included measures like maintaining distance between parishioners and limiting the size of gatherings. Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus response task force, suggested that churches in areas with high infection rates may want to wait before reopening, regardless of Trump's order.
"Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will again lead the American people in solemn remembrance of those fearless American patriots who laid down their lives so we can live in the land of the free", the official said in a statement.
Tropical Storm Arthur develops, becomes the first Atlantic-named storm in 2020
Over the past few years, the Atlantic Basin has seen tropical cyclones form ahead of the official start of the hurricane season. Regarding its forecast track, Arthur will remain well offshore the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina Sunday.
Trump made the announcement Friday afternoon (May 22) at a press conference at the White House, and appeared to set up a potential standoff between his administration and governors that have halted worship services during the pandemic.
Despite many churches holding services online, President Trump remarked Thursday that it was not the same as attending in person. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque.
"If there's any questions, they're going to have to call me, but they will not be successful in that call", Trump said.
"These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united", he said. The ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray. "It sends a bad, bad message to the citizens of Baltimore because I'm asking them to stay home and only come out for essential reasons", Baltimore Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young told CNN's "Inside Politics" on Friday. Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life. For this weekend. If they do not do it, I will override the governors.