On Monday morning, CNN took a shot at President Trump, with a CNN political analyst essentially labeling him a hypocrite because he has pushed for churches to reopen, deeming them essential, but did not attend church on Sunday. CNN senior political analyst John Avlon said Trump playing golf on Sunday instead of going to church was “more of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ presidency.”
On Friday, President Trump stated at a press conference:
At my direction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith. I want to thank Dr. Redfield and the CDC for their work on this matter and all the other work they’ve been doing over the past what now seems like a long period of time. Today I’m identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogue and mosques as essential places that provide essential services. Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now.
As Mark Finkelstein of Newsbusters reports, “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota and Avlon had this exchange on Monday morning:
Camerota: Joining us now is CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. John, great to see you. There are a few interesting things about the president choosing to play golf yesterday. And one is, that over the past week, he’s been very interested in churches. He’s been very interested in churches reopening. He’s encouraged them to do so, even against the advice of medical experts. But then, yesterday, he didn’t go to church. He played golf. So, how do we process that?
Avlon: Well, it’s just more of the “do as I say, not as I do” presidency. But I think it shows how he uses — he’s willing to use religion as a political weapon, but not walk the walk. And that’s because he’s never particularly been a person of faith, even though he’s very popular among evangelicals.
Finkelstein noted, “The free exercise of religion also implies the right not to practice one. And so, contrary to Avlon’s claim, there was no ‘walk to walk.’ There was nothing hypocritical about President Trump choosing not to attend church over the weekend.”
Finkelstein took note on Saturday of MSNBC’s Ali Velshi pontificating that Trump declaring houses of worship essential was somehow problematic regarding the separation of church and state, saying, “Regardless of how that plays with separation of church and state, and even if the president has no authority to issue such a decree, Trump’s insistence on a rushed reopening flies in the face of what public health experts continue to advise: that this is not a time to become complacent.” Finkelstein pointed out the ridiculousness of that assertion because the First Amendment bans the establishment of an official state religion and Trump spoke of all houses of worship, not just one.
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