Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Trump tells United States governors to let places of worship reopen ‘right now’

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"Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential" but not churches, he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy's office told NJ Advance Media that indoor church services in New Jersey will remain closed despite the president's call, though Murphy and Trump had a "productive" talk about the issue Friday. "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". "It's not right", said Trump.

Any governor that has a problem with this can call the president, but will not find understanding, Trump added. Only New York has more deaths and cases among American states.

"So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential".

Trump's push to return churchgoers to pews that have been empty for weeks comes just days after churches in Georgia and Texas, both states with Republican governors, announced that they would close again after experiencing acute outbreaks of the virus after they opened.

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

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Lawsuits filed by pastors, congregants, and others have challenged orders in multiple states after governors and other officials put stricter conditions on houses or worship than other places.

The president made a brief announcement about churches and left the podium as Dr. Deborah Birx detailed information about the fight against the coronavirus.

"I said, 'You better put it out.' And they're doing it", Trump said during a tour of a Ford Motor Co plant repurposed to make ventilators in MI. The Trump administration Department of Justice issued a Statement of Interest siding with the church, writing, "there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights".

"If there's any questions, they're going to have to call me, but they will not be successful in that call", Trump said.

He went on to say that "These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united". When people do need to go out, the CDC recommends practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and frequently washing hands and sanitizing surfaces.