President declares churches, mosques and synagogues “essential services” but has no power to order reopening
Donald Trump has declared churches, mosques and synagogues “essential services” and has threatened to overrule the governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics essential, but have omitted churches and other places of worship,” the president told reporters at the White House on Friday.
“It is not true. I therefore correct this injustice and I consider places of worship to be essential.”
Trump added, “Governors must do the right thing and allow these very important and essential places of faith to open this weekend. If they don’t, I will replace the governors.
In America, we need more prayer, not less.
” After his two-minute statement, the president left the podium in the briefing room without answering questions.
His remarks caused confusion because the federal government does not have the constitutional right to unilaterally order individual states to reopen businesses, churches, or schools. But they seemed likely to play well with his support base:
Trump won four out of five evangelical Christian voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control released a 60-page plan for restaurants, schools, child care programs, public transportation and other businesses on the reopening. But he omitted details of places of worship and faith-based organizations.
There was friction between Trump and state governors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, the president said he had “full” authority over the reopening plans, but then appeared to back down from that position.
During Friday’s briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany hijacked questions about Trump’s threat to bypass the governors and clashed with reporters.