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Trump deems churches ‘essential,’ calls on governors to reopen them this weekend

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) President Donald Trump on Friday said the country must reopen churches and other places of worship as he is now deeming them “essential.”

Trump said he will overrule governors and is calling on them to reopen all churches and places of worship this weekend despite the threat of the coronavirus.

“Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said during a hastily arranged press conference Friday. He said if governors don’t abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it’s unclear what authority he has to do so.

The CDC had prepared reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago, but the White House had refused to release them until Thursday when Trump abruptly changed course.

“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 Michigan. “And they’re going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches. We got to get our churches open.”

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