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President Trump slammed Democratic governors on Thursday, saying churches should be “essential” and haven’t been respected during the coronavirus shutdown.
The president said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon be issuing new guidelines on the matter, after several governors – including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker – have been under fire for their restrictions on houses of worship.
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“The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn. “I want to get the churches open, and we’re going to take a very strong position on that very soon … including mosques.”
During a session with African-American leaders at a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., that has been repurposed to make ventilators, Trump was asked by a reporter if he is prioritizing churches over other establishments. He said he is not.
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“Churches, to me, they’re so important in terms of the psyche of our country,” he said. “I think churches are essential.”
“People want to be in their churches,” Trump explained. “It’s wonderful to sit at home and watch something on a laptop, but it can never be the same as being in a church and being with your friends, and they want to have it open. And I think that’s going to be happening very shortly, so that’s going to be put out. Maybe tomorrow, maybe today.”
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The church guidance is coming out “hopefully soon,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Thursday afternoon. A senior administration official said it was expected to be released Friday.
Trump’s comments come after a number of pastors across the nation have said they are planning to reopen with or without permission from governors.
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This week, Chicago began fining churches for holding services that do not comply with the statewide stay-at-home order. The Chicago Police Department told Fox News that three churches will be hit with penalties for holding services last Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.