Trump disappointed that churches can't congregate due to pandemic, says it's a 'great time to be together'
The president's comments came after he was asked about reports of churches flouting government guidelines
President Trump is disappointed that churches cannot congregate on Sundays during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My biggest disappointment is that churches can’t meet in this time of need,” Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, April 2. “This is really a great time for churches to be together — for people to be together on a Sunday or any day that they meet.”
The president's comments came after he was asked about reports of churches flouting government guidelines and gathering, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the virus, Breitbart reports.
A Florida pastor was arrested and charged on March 30 with misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and violation of the public health rules after he held services at his Tampa Bay megachurch breaking social distancing protocols.
Meanwhile, a New Orleans pastor violated the governor’s executive order barring large gatherings and was subsequently issued a misdemeanor summons on six counts of the violation.
The commander-in-chief proceeded to warn Americans they would only help spread the virus by gathering inside churches.
“If you do it close, you’re really giving this invisible enemy a really big advantage,” Trump said, adding, “You get too close and somebody’s sick, you’ll probably catch it, so you have to be careful.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has since reached out to some pastors who are allegedly refusing to comply with state orders.
“If I thought this was an attack on religious freedom, I’d be right there with him,” Perkins told The Advocate. “It’s a directive for the sake of public health not to meet.”
During an appearance on ABC'S Nightline, Vice President Mike Pence said he was “so grateful to churches and synagogues and places of worship around America that have heeded the president’s coronavirus guidelines for America.”
“We really believe this is a time when people should avoid gatherings of more than ten people,” he cautioned. “And so, we continue to urge churches around America to heed to that.”
While the Trump administration continues to be criticized over its response to the pandemic by left-wing personalities (despite gaining more than 60% of the public's approval in a recent Gallup poll), the president's re-election campaign has been working round the clock to bolster his public image.
Trump’s campaign is reportedly delivering large quantities of food to hospitals to cater to the first responders who are having a torrid time. Over 6,058 people have died in the US in the pandemic while over 245,573 — the most in any country — have been affected.
According to Fox News, the incumbent’s re-election campaign team has been contacting restaurants since last week to order the food to be delivered to more than a dozen hospitals in states like New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan. The report said that these orders are being placed anonymously and confirmed it from sources who also claimed that there is nothing political in it.
“They’re doing it as a donor who cares,” Fox cited one source as saying. “So nothing politically is tied to it... We’re just trying to, you know, show a thank you.”
Another source said the orders were saving local restaurants that were facing an existential crisis.
“They’re trying to send things that are like, local restaurants that may need support [and] cool restaurant icons of the area that may need the business,” they said.