‘I Think It’s Too Soon’: Trump Strongly Disagrees With GA Gov’s Plan That Violates Federal Reopening Guidelines, But Won’t Block the Moves
President Donald Trump effectively abandoned enforcement of his administration’s own federal plan for reopening the economy on Wednesday, saying that he “disagrees” with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s economic restart rollout, but that he won’t take any action against the state even though it will be “in violation of the phase one guidelines.”
Kemp’s plan to reopen part of his state’s economy as soon as Friday would include the relaxing of stay-at-home orders for a number of businesses that demand physical contact with their clientele, like barbershops, nail salons, and massage therapists. Kemp’s insistence that those businesses — and their customers — would be expected to continue to practice social distancing was widely derided as “insane” and mocked as comically implausible. One Georgia mayor at the epicenter of the state’s outbreak pointedly called out Kemp for making “the wrong decision.”
During his White House press briefing, Trump indirectly addressed the criticism and indicated that he had spoken with Kemp earlier in the day to express his misgivings about the governor’s aggressive push to reopen. Though the number of coronavirus cases in the state appear to have peaked, they have not consistently declined for 14 days, a key White House criteria in its Opening Up America Again plan to end the widespread shelter-in-place orders that have helped stop the spread of Covid-19. Georgia currently ranks 11th in the nation with more than 20,000 positive tests, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
“Some of the governors have done a fantastic job working with us,” Trump said, before turning to Georgia’s Republican governor. “I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities, which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.”
Just seconds later, however, he gave in to Kemp, even though last Thursday, in the rollout of his plan, he threatened those states who violated the federal rules with repercussions.
“But at the same time he must do what he thinks is right,” Trump said, backing off while still hinting at his power to reverse a state’s decision. “I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he’s doing, but I want to let the governors do — now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I’ll do. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barber shops in phase one, we’re going to have phase two very soon. It’s just too soon. I think it’s too soon. And I love the people. I love those people that use all of those things, the spas and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors. I love them.”
“But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit, ot much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that,” Trump then said, suggesting that he would enforce his own reopening plan rules and implying that Kemp’s order would not go into effect.
That sentiment did not last, though, as Trump said in the very next sentence: “So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right.”
And with that, Trump moved on to announce that the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels would begin holding air shows around the country soon.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]