President Trump urged state governors to allow the opening of places of worship as an essential service, adding that he would replace them if they did not want to.
The president has considerable power, but it is not in his power to order governors to do so. However, he could potentially withhold federal aid to states that, he said, are not adequately allowing locals to provide religious services again.
Governors are responsible for the varying degrees of stay-at-home measures that have been taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Trump said: "In America, we need more prayer, not less."