President Donald Trump said he disagreed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to reopen certain businesses and facilities, calling it "too soon." At Wednesday's White House coronavirus task force briefing, Trump said while he opposes the decision, the governor "has to do what he thinks is right."
"I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp that I disagree agree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase I guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia," Trump said. "They are incredible people. I love those people. They are great. They have been strong, resolute but at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right."
"I want him to do what he thinks is right but I disagree with him on what he is doing but I want to let the governors do... now if I say something totally egregious, totally out of line I will do it but I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in phase 1. We're going to have phase 2 very soon is 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 in the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors. I love them but they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit, not much because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision but he has to do what he thinks is right," the president said.
President Trump was asked about Kemp's decision later in the briefing:
QUESTION: Can I ask you about your conversation with Governor Kemp? What did he say to you when you said you strongly disagree with him? And for--for gym owners and tattoo parlor artists and barbers in Atlanta--or in Georgia generally, would you advise them to listen to you and not to their governor?
TRUMP: Look, I'd like them to listen to their governors, all of their governors. I have the right to do if I wanted to clamp it down but I have respect for our governors. They know what they're doing.
I think I--and as you know, Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, I worked very hard for his election. He--he beat their superstar. He beat the superstar of their party. I think you can say I helped a lot. Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, they all went in, they campaigned for him very, very hard and he lost. He also was way down in a primary and he ended up winning a primary after I came out and endorsed him.
So, a lot of good things and there's a lot of good feeling between myself and Brian. I like him a lot. I happen to just disagree with him only in time--in timing. I disagree. When you have spas, beauty parlors--and I love these people. I know the people from spas and beauty parlors, tattoo parlors. Bikers for Trump, a lot of tattoos. I love them. I love these people. And barbershops, these are great people.
But you know what? Maybe you wait a little bit longer till you get into a phase 2. So, do I agree with him? No. But I respect him and I will let him make his decision. What I do that? No, I'd keep them a little longer. I want to protect people's lives. But I'm going to let him make his decision. But I told him I totally disagree.