By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged state governors to allow the reopening this weekend in the United States of places of worship which have been closed due to the coronavirus, warning that he will override governors who do not do so.
At a short appearance in the White House briefing room, Trump said he was declaring that places of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – are providing essential services and thus should be opened as soon as possible.
Places of worship have been closed along as part of stay-at-home orders most states have tried to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the infection rate declining in many areas, there is pressure to begin reopening.
Trump issued a warning to governors who refuse his appeal but did not say under what authority he would act to force the reopening of religious facilities.
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said.
(Reporting Jeff Mason and Steve Holland, Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)