Atlanta mayor says she opposes governor’s decision to call in National Guard

ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she does not agree with the governor’s decision to call in the National Guard.

Bottoms spoke on Good Morning America on Channel 2 Tuesday morning about the shootings, violence and vandalism over the weekend.

She said Gov. Brian Kemp never asked her about his decision to declare a state of emergency and call in 1,000 National Guard troops to her city.

“The irony of that is that I ask Governor Kemp to allow us to mandate masks in Atlanta and he said no, but he has called in the National Guard without asking if we needed the National Guard,” she said.

Kemp signed the executive order Monday afternoon after a weekend of violence across the city. Thirty-one people were shot in 11 different incidents. Five of them died, including an 8-year-old girl.

Protesters also vandalized the Department of Public Safety headquarters in the city.

Bottoms called the unrest upsetting.

“People are obviously anxious and even angry about COVID-19. Loved ones are dying. People are losing their jobs. I think there’s a lot of frustration, a lot of angst,” she said.

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During her interview she also discussed her recent positive test for COVID-19 and her thoughts on reopening schools next month.

“I have a low-positive test so either I’m on the way up or the way down, they don’t know which one, but they told me to treat it as if I’m positive just in terms of quarantining and all the things we recommend that people do,” Bottoms said.

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As it relates to the increase in new COVID-19 cases, Bottoms said she believes the state’s reopening was too soon and she says, while it’s not her decision, she doubts schools will be back to business as usual next month.

“The school systems are independently controlled by independently-elected boards. They are making independent decisions so it’s a hodgepodge of responses,” she said. “But with the way our numbers are going up, I don’t know how it could possibly be safe to send kids back into school for the sake of our teachers. The kids may be OK but our teachers certainly will be at risk so we’ll see what happens in a few weeks with that.”