Trump says churches are ‘essential,’ demands states let them reopen this weekend

Trump wants to restart rallies, as Baltimore's mayor asks him not to come

Pundits were quick to blast Trump's announcement.

Trump added: "The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now".

Trump threatened to "override" governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations, but he does not have the authority to do so.

A rabbi and a Catholic priest are suing Murphy over his order. The city's mayor, Bernard "Jack" Young, said Trump's travel would set a poor example for the city's residents. "While the Governor's orders will remain in effect, this matter continues to be under serious consideration as New Jersey moves toward Phase 2". Pastors who have held "parking lot" services during which parishioners stayed in their cars have been fined.

In one case highlighted by the CDC, 38 percent of attendees at one rural Arkansas church developed COVID-19 in early March.

"In America, we need more prayer, not less", Trump said at a White House press conference.

President Donald Trump talks to reporters before departing the White House for a trip to Michigan, Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Washington.

S&P 500 flat as investors weigh trade tensions; TJX surges
The S&P 500 closed lower, with signs mounting that Trump will make his tough-on-China stance a key element of his re-election bid. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 190.67 points, or 2.1%, to 9,375.78.

"You're posing a hypothetical, though", McEnany responded. That is a hypothetical question.

"Maybe they can't go this week", Birx said.

Lockdown-favoring governors have pointed to the fact that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had not issued guidelines for houses of worship, prompting Trump to order the CDC to do so on Friday.

But that guidance had been delayed for more than a month by the administration until Trump abruptly changed course on Thursday.

"I said, 'You better put it out.' And they're doing it", Trump said Thursday at a Ford Motor Co. plant repurposed to make ventilators in MI. If there's any question, they're gonna have to call me, but they're not gonna be successful in that call.

Trump on Friday stressed the importance of churches in many communities and took issue with some of the businesses that had been allowed to reopen.

"It's not right" that some governors have declared liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship, according to the president, calling it an "injustice". When the Knoxville, Tennessee government began to allow people to go to church again, it told churches, "t$3 he physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation".

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