The final line of the proclamation, issued by the White House press secretary’s office Wednesday evening, reads: “I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.”
Coronavirus cases are surging, and public health officials warn that family gatherings like Thanksgiving, which are often indoors and multi-generational, could put vulnerable people at risk.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 261,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the United States. More than 12.7 million people have been diagnosed with the virus and the United States has set several new daily records for hospitalizations.
Though presidential proclamations on holidays are typically perfunctory statements put out by the White House, from time to time, they take on the political tones of the administration or current events. This year’s proclamation also included sections dedicated to addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has frequently flouted public health warnings and hosted large groups at the White House for events that have later been deemed superspreaders, including a ceremony for new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, after which the President tested positive for coronavirus.
The first lady’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said Monday that many of the traditional White House holiday parties will go on, but there will be safety precautions, including smaller guest lists and mask requirements, at the indoor events.
CNN’s Nikki Carvajal, Betsy Klein and Kate Bennett contributed to this report.