The US President, Donald Trump has ordered state governors to open up places of worship amidst the coronavirus pandemic, while he also criticized governors for allowing businesses like liquor stores and abortion clinics to function while forcing churches to close.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump had said that Democratic governors are not treating churches with respect and had mentioned that his administration would “address the issue.”
On Friday however, at a White House press conference, Trump deemed churches and houses of worship “essential services” and ordered governors to allow them to open, saying he will “override governors if they don’t cooperate.”
“Today, I’m identifying houses of worship- churches, synagogues and mosques- as essential services,” Trump said as he addressed reporters.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right, so I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.
“I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any questions, they’re gonna have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque. Many millions of Americans embrace worship as and essential part of life.
“The ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray.
“I know them well. They love their congregations. They love their people. They don’t want anything bad to happen to them or to anybody else. The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”
Trump declined questions after the address.
The United States has recorded over 1.6 million coronavirus cases with over 97,000 deaths.