U.S. President Trump makes statement about reopening churches at the White House in Washington

President Donald Trump delivers a statement to reporters about reopening places of worship by declaring them “essential” on Friday.

WASHINGTON — 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 as part of stay-at-home orders as 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.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Friday he, not the president, would decide when New Hampshire’s churches can safely reopen, with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s the governor’s decision,” Sununu said.

Union Leader staff writer Josie Albertson-Grove contributed to this report.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020