Despite many states imposing local bans that prevent churches from holding services amid the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump said Saturday during a White House press briefing that he is considering allowing congregations to open for Easter Sunday, Raw Story reported.
“Maybe we could allow special, for churches, maybe we could talk about it,” he said.
“Maybe we could allow them, with great separation outside, on Easter Sunday. I dunno, it’s something we should talk about.”
While Trump noted that local bans would remain on Palm Sunday, he continued to express his desire to make an exception the following Sunday.
“And I brought it up before, I said, maybe we could allow special — for churches, maybe we could talk about it. Maybe we could allow them, with great separation outside, on Easter Sunday.”
Trump has no idea how coronavirus is transmitted from person to person and therefore doesn't get why packed churches amid a pandemic is a bad idea. This clip of him talking about how he considered an Easter exemption from social distancing shows it. pic.twitter.com/G4LXzNIGKf
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2020
In the same briefing, Trump warned of “a lot of death” in the week ahead. As reported by The New York Times, along with the coronavirus task force, the president noted that the virus is reaching its peak in many states.
Trump previously wanted to reopen large portions of the American economy by Easter. Although the president now says social distancing measures will continue until the end of April, The Guardian reported that U.S. Christian leaders pushed back against the Easter reopening when it was proposed.
“It is the height of hypocrisy for Trump to suggest that Easter is a time to defy public health recommendations and ‘reopen’ America,” said pastor and activist the Rev William J Barber II.
Barber II noted the disparity between the actions of Jesus, who he says helped the poor and battled oppression, and Trump, who he claims “ignored the pandemic of poverty” and “tragically dismissed” coronavirus intelligence.
Rev. Laura Everett, a pastor and executive director of Massachusetts Council of Churches, expressed anger at Trump’s plan, which she claimed was co-opting Easter for capitalistic purposes.
Christianity Today published an editorial that pushed back against Trump’s plan, noting that even physical distancing and proper hygiene during a pandemic would drag down the faith.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump has been growing restless with the social distancing measures that public health officials claim are crucial for ensuring hospitals are not overwhelmed by the spread of COVID-19. During Saturday’s White House briefing, the president pushed back against the idea of a nationwide lockdown, putting him at odds with Anthony Fauci, who has pushed for such an order.
Trump also said at the briefing that he hopes to have the economy reopened by the end of the summer.