Atlanta Journal-Constitution, As some Ga. businesses get set to reopen, Trump kicks Kemp even harder:
President Donald Trump delivered a blistering rebuke Thursday of Gov. Brian Kemp, hours before Georgia takes a tentative first step into a world dramatically altered by a global pandemic.
Trump amplified his criticism from Wednesday of Kemp’s decision to let businesses resume operations, beginning Friday, after being shuttered to curb the new coronavirus. Trump’s condemnation of Kemp — during a nationally televised White House briefing — was all the more remarkable because he long had been considered the governor’s most important political patron.
“I told him very distinctly, ‘You do what you think is best,’” Trump said, relating a telephone call with Kemp. “But if you ask me if I’m happy about it, I’m not happy about it, and I’m not happy about Brian Kemp.” …
“I want the states to open, much more than he does,” Trump said of Kemp. “But I didn’t like to see spas at this early stage. I didn’t like to see spas opening, frankly, and I didn’t like to see a lot of things happening. I wasn’t happy with it. And I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp. I wasn’t at all happy.”
During the briefing, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence praised by name the governors of at least seven other states. Trump reserved his only criticism for Kemp, repeatedly calling out the governor’s full name for emphasis.
“I could have done something about it if I wanted to, but I said let the governors do it,” Trump said. “But I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp.”
“I said, ‘You make your own decision, you’re not in the guidelines, but I’m letting you make your own decision. I want the people to be safe, and I want the people in Georgia to be safe, and I don’t want this thing to flare up because you are deciding to do something that is not in the guidelines.’”