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Trump’s press secretary suggests journalists don’t believe in God after question about Trump ordering churches to reopen – The Sun

TENSIONS boiled over at the White House when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany implied journalists at a press briefing did not believe in God.

McEnany was facing questions Friday after President Donald Trump ordered governors to allow places of worship to reopen this weekend.

“Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately seems to want to see these houses of worship closed,” she said to the White House correspondents.

Reuters reporter Jeff Mason objection to McEnany’s statement.

“Kayleigh, I object to that,” Mason said.

“I go to church. I’m dying to go back to church,” he continued.

“The question that we’re asking you is, is it safe? And if it’s not safe … should people wait?"

McEnany, a Harvard Law School graduate and former commentator on CNN who began the role this month, responded that “it is safe if you reopen in accordance with the guidelines.”

Moments earlier, when another reporter asked if the President was urging churches to defy governor’s order to stay shut, McEnany replied:

“You’re posing a hypothetical. You’re assuming governors are going to keep churches shut down. I think we can all say that we hope this Sunday people are allowed to pray to their Gods across this country.

“That’s a good thing,” she added.

The tense briefing followed President Trump’s order to governors to allow places of worship to reopen this weekend, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

"Today I'm identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services," Trump said at the White House Friday.

"I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now," he added.

"If there is any question, they're going to have to call me but they're not going to be successful in that call."

He said if governors don’t abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it’s unclear what authority he has to do so.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago, but the White House had refused to release them until Thursday when Trump abruptly changed course.

The President criticized governors who deemed "liquor stores and abortion centers" essential, but not places of worship.

"It's not right," he said at the press conference. "So I'm correcting this injustice."

"These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united."

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Navy Secretary Modly submits resignation after firing captain for coronavirus warning

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly submitted his resignation Tuesday after delivering a profane speech on an aircraft carrier to explain why he fired the ship’s commander for a warning that went public about the coronavirus outbreak onboard that left 230 crew members stricken, according to reports.

Modly submitted a resignation letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, but it was not immediately clear if Esper would accept, CNN and Politico reported.

The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

On Sunday, Modly trashed Capt. Brett Crozier to his former crew, saying Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” for command after raising concern about the coronavirus spreading through his ship.

Crozier sent an email warning of symptoms among his men last Monday to at least 20 people. It was published by the San Francisco Chronicle, creating an international news story.

Some 230 crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt — including Crozier — tested positive for COVID-19 after the vessel docked in Guam.

“The T-R has to demonstrate to the citizens back home that it has its act together and that it’s knocking down this virus just like it would knock down the Chinese or the North Koreans or the Russians,” Modly told the crew Sunday.

“What the f–k?” an apparent sailor says in leaked audio as Modly disparages Crozier. “He was just trying to help us!” a man’s voice protests.

The Navy secretary on Friday claimed that Crozier put the 5,000-man crew “at risk” of attack when he sent the email.

President Trump said at a Monday news conference that he would like to mediate between Modly and Crozier, saying the captain may have simply had a “bad day” when he emailed his warning to people outside his chain of command.

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World News

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden becomes second Cab

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden becomes second Cabinet minister to self-isolate as he announces a family member has coronavirus symptoms and he is entering 14-day quarantine

  • Hertsmere MP announced he was going into quarantine this morning 
  • He was working in the heart of Government just yesterday
  • He attended a Cabinet meeting with Boris Johnson in Downing Street
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden became the second Cabinet minister to self-isolate today after announcing a family member has coronavirus-type symptoms. 

The Hertsmere MP announced he was going into a fortnight’s quarantine this morning as the country began going in to lock-down to delay the spread of the disease.

He was working in the heart of Government just yesterday, attending a Cabinet meeting with Boris Johnson in Downing Street. 

The 41-year-old, a married father of two, said he would now be remaining at his home in his Hertfordshire constituency in line with the latest Government advice. 

In a tweet he said: ‘A member of my family currently has #covidー19uk symptoms so in line with government advice I will be remaining at home.

‘I’m feeling fine and will of course be working on DCMS priorities in these very challenging times, and continuing to support my constituents in Hertsmere.’

The Hertsmere MP was working in the heart of Government just yesterday, attending a Cabinet meeting with Boris Johnson in Downing Street (pictured)

Mr Dowden is the second Cabinet minister overall to self-isolate so far. 

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan last week tested negative for the coronavirus but underwent seven days of separation as a precaution.

Yesterday a Labour backbencher announced today she had become the second British MP to contract coronavirus.

Jarrow’s Kate Osborne made the announcement on Twitter as Parliament began to take steps to operate with fewer politicians present.

She followed Health Minister Nadine Dorries, 62, who is recovering at home after testing positive last week.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces overhaul of smart motorways

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insists controversial smart motorways are safe despite 38 deaths over the last five years as he announces 18-point plan to improve them

  • Grant Shapps today published 18-point plan to boost safety of smart motorways
  • He said smart motorways are ‘in most ways’ as safe as conventional motorways
  • Campaigners had urged government to conduct overhaul due to safety concern 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today insisted controversial smart motorways are safe as he published an 18-point plan to improve them. 

The government has been under intense pressure to change the way the roads work amid fears that the lack of a hard shoulder puts too many broken down motorists in harm’s way. 

Mr Shapps said the latest evidence ‘shows that in most ways smart motorways are as safe as or safer than conventional ones’.

But he said more could still be done to to ‘raise the bar on smart motorway safety’ and his ‘action plan’ would deliver improvements.

Statistics published by the government in January revealed 38 people have been killed on smart motorways in the last five years.

New measures will include introducing more places to stop in an emergency and faster roll-out of a radar-based system to detect broken down vehicles. 

Mr Shapps today published the findings of an ‘evidence stock take’ he commissioned in October 2019. 

The report stated that the risk of a collision between moving vehicles is lower on smart motorways because technology is installed to smooth traffic flow.

But the chances of a crash involving a moving vehicle and a stationary vehicle is higher when the hard shoulder is removed.

Grant Shapps, pictured in Downing Street yesterday, has insisted smart motorways are safe but they will be overhauled

Mr Shapps said: ‘I’ve been greatly concerned by a number of deaths on smart motorways, and moved by the accounts of families who’ve lost loved ones in these tragic incidents.

‘I commissioned an urgent stocktake of smart motorways to provide a clearer picture of their safety and make recommendations on next steps. I envisaged it to be swift, but during the course of our investigations a complex picture emerged – which warranted further work.

‘That work has now concluded and overall, evidence shows that in most ways smart motorways are as safe as or safer than conventional ones.

‘But I am clear that there is more we can do to raise the bar on smart motorway safety.

‘The extended package of measures I have set out will help rebuild public confidence in our motorway network and ensure that safety is firmly at the heart of the programme.’

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, which manages England’s motorways and major A roads, said: ‘Every death in any road accident is tragic, and we are determined to do all we can to make our roads as safe as possible.

‘We will be taking forward the measures the Secretary of State for Transport has set out, and we will be improving further our information to drivers to help them be safer on all of our roads, including our smart motorway network.’

The ‘action plan’ creates a new standard for the spacing of emergency refuge areas (ERAs), which are designed for vehicles that need to stop when there is no hard shoulder.

The ERAs had been installed every 1.5 miles but now the distance between them will be slashed to every 0.75 miles.  

The use of a radar-based stopped vehicle detection (SVD) system will be rolled out on all smart motorways without a hard should over the next three years.

SVD is specifically designed to detect stationary vehicles, typically within 20 seconds.

Campaigners had piled the pressure on the government to change the way smart motorways operate amid concerns the lack of a hard shoulder puts broken down motorists at risk of harm

This leads to a message being automatically displayed on overhead gantries and a control room operator being alerted.   

Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘For the last decade we have been campaigning to improve the design and safety of smart motorways. 

‘The measures announced by the Transport Secretary today are a victory for common sense and safety.’

He added: ‘The fact that 38 per cent of breakdowns happen in live lanes on smart motorways means drivers have been at risk. 

‘Tragically people have lost their lives, and in some cases coroners have indicated this could have been avoided.

‘No driver wants to be stuck in a live lane with nowhere to go; at best it is incredibly distressing, at worst it can be fatal.’  

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