President Trump on Friday ordered governors to allow houses of worship to open immediately, declaring them “essential” to American life during COVID-19.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, this weekend,” Trump said.
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. America we need more prayer, not less.”
Trump comes out to announce that he is demanding that churches be recognized as "essential" services and that "I will override the governors" if they don't fall in line with his decree. He walks off the stage and refuses to take questions on the strange announcement. pic.twitter.com/I3DdkH2nO3
— The American Independent (@AmerIndependent) May 22, 2020
The Hill notes:
While Trump is legally unable to override these state orders, the Department of Justice has been pressuring governors to treat houses of worship the same as secular institutions in reopening plans. DOJ attorneys told California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week that his reopening plan amounted to “unequal treatment of faith communities” by allowing restaurants, schools, malls and other businesses to open sooner than religious institutions.
However, public health experts warn that houses of worship can become hotspots for COVD-19 infection in communities if strict social distancing requirements aren’t followed.
Trump said Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would issue guidance to houses of worship on safely reopening.