Briefing gets heated after press secretary's remark

Trump feeds the base with the request to reopen the churches as the Americans head for an uncertain holiday weekend

But, like his decision not to wear a mask during his tour of a Ford factory in Michigan, Trump was offering fighting words to his faithful at a time when the public is increasingly skeptical about how he manages the pandemic. A Fox News survey This week showed that Trump’s global approval rating dropped to 44%, down from 49% in April. And in a new one ABC / Ipsos survey, only 39% of Americans approved the President’s handling of the crisis.
However, Trump Friday’s comments have been intertwined with his impatience for the cautionary warnings of scientists and medical experts within his own administration, who are concerned about a resumption of coronavirus cases and have highlighted the risks of large gatherings (which many religious services may involve). Throughout the week, he courted his evangelical supporters with his accusation that governors are treating churches unfairly and his insistence that he wants to “open churches”.

Trump said Friday that some governors “deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics essential,” but left churches and other houses of worship out. “It’s not fair. So I’m correcting this injustice and defining essential houses of worship,” he said during a brief statement in the White House.

“I ask governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there is any question, they will have to call me, but they will not be successful in that call,” said Trump. “Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend. If they don’t, I will replace governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said. said, without answering questions from reporters.

As his general election campaign with former Vice President Joe Biden heats up, Trump has increasingly called for American culture wars. Last Friday during a “Rolling to Remember” ceremony to honor the nation’s veterans, prisoners of war and missing persons in action – where he spoke to motorcyclists who then traveled two laps around the White House driveway – Trump noted his political support from bikers.

“Always there, motorcyclists,” he said. “What do I have? 98%? 95? We are trying to find who 3% or 2% are. We are looking for them, right?”

“November 3 is a great day,” said Trump, referring to the November election after having lapped on South Lawn Drive. “We don’t want to destroy this country. We will make it bigger, better, bigger than ever.”

Birx recommends safety precautions

Although Memorial Day weekend traditionally starts the summer, This year’s holidays will be far from normal with many governors, mayors and local officials urging residents of their states to continue social distances, wear masks and stay as close to home as possible.

Speaking from the meeting room podium later on Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the administration’s response to the coronavirus, mitigated part of Trump’s enthusiasm for the reopening, emphasizing both the social distance guidelines that churches should adhere to. reopen both safety precautions Americans must take to enjoy their favorite pastimes this weekend.

In encouraging news, Birx noted that 42 states now have a positivity rate of less than 10% of cases as a seven-day moving average. But he noted that Maryland, the district of Columbia and Virginia are still the first states with a high number of cases, followed by Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota. “There is still a significant virus circulating here,” he said of the Washington area.

Birx also highlighted the major metropolitan areas where the positive case rate has stalled or increased as places where Americans should be especially cautious this weekend. The DC metropolitan area was high on that list, followed by Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis. (All the others were below the 10% threshold, which Birx claimed, showed “great progress”).

Despite Birx’s encouraging news about the drop in the positive case rate, the holiday weekend could also mark another tormenting moment in the pandemic as the death toll in the United States approached 100,000.

“We plan to go hit the finish line of 100,000 deaths over the four-day weekend, “said Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who produced one of the most influential coronavirus models.

Ahead of the holiday weekend, Birx said Americans could come up with a long list of warnings. Some Americans could play golf, he said, for example, if they are “very careful” and “don’t touch the flags”. He suggested playing tennis with “marked balls” and only one other person, so “you’re just touching the ball”.

This weekend, if Americans want to have some sort of social gathering, “it’s very important to keep that six-foot distance and very important to have the mask with you in case you can’t keep a six-foot distance,” he said. Birx.

“We continually ask all of you to be out, to enjoy Memorial Day weekend; to play golf; to hike as Dr. (Anthony) Fauci said; to play tennis with marked balls – and to go out with your families that you have been home with you and have also considered sharing a socially spaced space as long as you have utensils that belong to individuals and that perhaps can be thrown out immediately, “said Birx. “There are many things to think about. I know you can do it. I know the American people can do it.”

Asked about Trump’s statement that churches and houses of worship should reopen, Birx said leaders of the faith community should be in contact with their local health departments to check for new cases in their postal codes, so that they can communicate the risks to the congregates.

“Certainly people who have significant comorbidities, we want them protected. I know those houses of worship that want to protect them,” said Birx. “So really making sure that – maybe they can’t go this week if there’s a high number of Covid cases. Maybe they’re waiting for another week, but there’s a way to social distance like you’re here,” he said, pointing to the reporters who have been spaced several places in the meeting room of the White House, “in places of worship”.

Although Baltimore is one of the areas of concern for public health officials such as Birx, Trump and first lady Melania Trump are planning to travel to Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Monday to commemorate Memorial Day.

They will do so despite an appeal by the mayor of Baltimore, Bernard “Jack” Young, who said that the trip will send a wrong message when he asks the city residents not to travel.

“I ask the President to rethink his trip. Send a bad, bad message to the citizens of Baltimore because I am asking them to stay home and to go out for essential reasons only,” Young told CNN’s John King. “I just want you to set an example for the rest of the country and not take this trip, because it’s not essential.”

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere responded to Young’s earlier criticism by stating that “the brave men and women who have preserved our freedoms for generations have not stayed at home and the President will not do it even while honoring their sacrifice by visiting such a historic landmark in the history of our nation. “

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