President Donald Trump sent his well-wishes to Americans on Easter Sunday in a video message that encouraged people to celebrate and worship separately amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump had initially been hopeful that he'd be able to reopen the country by Easter, those his tune soon changed and he later announced that he would be extending his social distancing guidelines through the end of April. Just last week, he said that the decision to reopen the country would be "the biggest decision of my life."
HAPPY EASTER! pic.twitter.com/UX5Bhm82H2— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
"For Christians all over America, this is Holy Week. We remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So important," Trump began the address. "But this Easter will be much different than others, because, in many cases, we'll be separated physically only from our churches. We won't be sitting there next to each other, which we'd like to be, and soon we'll be again."
"But right now we're keeping separation, we're getting rid of the plague. It's a plague on our country like nobody's ever seen. But we're winning the battle, we're winning the war," he continued. "We'll be back together in churches right next to each other. Celebrate, bring the family together like no other. We have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Easter, everybody!"
According to CNN, the president spent his Easter Sunday livestreaming the Easter services of a megachurch in Dallas led by his friend and sometime-adviser Robert Jeffress. The changes also continued into Monday, which would typically see families gathering on the South Lawn for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. First Lady Melania Trump had announced in March that the annual even would be canceled.
In a statement released from the White House, the president acknowledged that this year's observance of Easter comes during a somber time for our Nation," but said that he hoped "all of you are filled with the joy, love, and hope that marks this holiest of days." The statement went on to acknowledge and applaud the drastic measures Americans have taken to help slow the spread.
"Countless Americans have selflessly answered the calls for help in their communities and have performed extraordinary acts to help their neighbors in times of need," Trump said. "Healthcare workers and medical professionals have worked tirelessly to heal the sick, and thousands of volunteers, first responders, critical workers, and businesses have contributed their time and resources to help defeat this virus."