Friday, May 22, 2020

Trump Presses For Reopening of Houses of Worship

In remarks today (full text) from the Blue Room balcony to ceremony honoring veterans and POW/ MIA's, President Trump said in part:
Today, I just spoke to CDC.  We want our churches and our places of faith and worship; we want them to open.  And CDC is going to be — I believe today they’re going to be issuing a very strong recommendation.  And I’m going to be talking about that in a little while.  But they’re going to be opening up very soon.  We want our churches open.  We want our places of faith, synagogues — we want them open.  And that’s going to start happening.  I consider them essential, and that’s one of the things we’re saying.  We’re going to make that essential.
You know, they have places “essential” that aren’t essential, and they open.  And yet the churches aren’t allowed to open and the synagogues and — again, places of faith — mosques, places of faith.  So that’s going to — see that — you’re going to see that.
Later, at a White House press conference, the President again spoke about reopening of houses of worship. CNBC reports on the press conference:
President Donald Trump on Friday demanded that governors reopen churches, synagogues and mosques “right now,” and threatened to “override” state leaders’ restrictions if they do not do so by the weekend....
Trump said it was an “injustice” that some state leaders have allowed “liquor stores and abortion clinics” to stay open amid the Covid-19 pandemic while closing houses of worship.
“It’s not right,” Trump said. “I’m calling houses of worship essential.”
“If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call,” Trump said of state leaders.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,” Trump said.
“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.” ...
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, when asked what authority allows Trump to override a governor’s rules, did not provide a specific provision.
Instead, she said “the president will strongly encourage every governor to allow their churches to reopen – and boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed.”
UPDATE: Here is the CDC's Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith.