Donald Trump has announced that because abortion clinics have been allowed to stay open during lockdown that churches must now reopen too.
Speaking at a White House press briefing Friday, the president said: ‘Today I’m identifying houses of worship, churches synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out houses of worship, its not right. So I’m correcting this injustice, and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to let churches and houses of worship open right now.’
The president said: ‘These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.’
Trump then promptly left the briefing without taking questions, with White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx following him with an update on Covid-19 figures. President Trump has repeatedly complained about churches having to switch to online services during the pandemic, which has infected at least 1.6million Americans and killed over 95,000.
Friday’s announcement will be well-received by his political base, many of whom are evangelical Christians. Trump, who was once vocally pro-choice, has also taken a hard line on abortion since achieving political success.
He says he only supports terminations when the woman has been raped, or when continuing the pregnancy poses a danger to the patient’s health. The president has also been pushing hard for US states to begin reopening from lockdown, with many – including Georgia, Florida and Texas – quickly rolling back closures in recent days.
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