A frustrated reporter shot back Friday at White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany after she berated “all journalists” for being “desperately” opposed to reopening houses of worship.
She seemed to be implying that reporters are anti-religion.
“I object to that,” Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason countered. “I go to church. I’m dying to go back to church.” What reporters want to know, he emphasized: “Is it safe.”
The confrontation occurred after President Donald Trump demand that churches and other houses of worship open immediately amid the COVID-19 crisis. He threatened to override governors who ignore him out of concern for health and safety — even though most legal experts say he has no authority to do so.
McEnany was first pressed by CBS News’ Ben Tracy about Trump’s legal authority to second-guess governors. “What specific provision of federal law allows the president to override a governor’s stance?” he asked.
McEnany dodged the question, answering: “The president will strongly encourage every governor to allow their churches to reopen.” (At another point, she referred to the situation as “hypothetical.”)
Then she added: “Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed.”
That’s when Mason unloaded.
"Kayleigh, I object to that. I go to church. I'm dying to go back to church" -- @jeffmason1 takes umbrage after McEnany suggests that reporters don't want churches to reopen because they have something against religion pic.twitter.com/uEJQDgcApN— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 22, 2020
“The question we are asking you and would have liked to have asked the president” — who left without answering any questions after his announcement — “is: Is it safe?” Mason said.
“Jeff, it is safe to reopen your churches if you do so in accordance with the guidelines” issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and...