Gov. Kemp responds to President Trump’s comments on state reopening plan

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp responded Wednesday night to comments made by President Donald Trump about the state’s plan to start reopening.

Kemp announced earlier this week Georgia is on track for the first phase of reopening businesses again starting Friday and Monday.

Trump said he told Gov. Brian Kemp he disagreed with some of his reopening decisions, particularly salons and spas.

“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 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia,” Trump said during Wednesday’s news conference.

“They can wait a little bit longer, because safety has to pre-dominate,” Trump said. “I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right."

[RELATED: What’s opening in Georgia in Phase 1 of COVID-19 recovery]

[RELATED: Gov. Kemp says data is on his side in decision to reopen state]

Kemp posted a statement in a series of tweets responding to the president’s remarks. The governor praised Trump’s leadership but explained why he made the decision.

“I discussed Georgia’s plan to reopen shuttered businesses for limited operations with @POTUS. I appreciate his bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward,” Kemp said in his series of tweets.

“Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians.”

“Just like the thousands of businesses currently operating throughout Georgia, I am confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to Minimum Basic Operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers.”

Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer spoke one-on-one with Kemp on Tuesday to address the concerns from Channel 2 Action News viewers.

Kemp told Farmer that the data showed it is safe to start reopening the state. Kemp said the data he has from health officials around the state is that Georgia may have actually hit its peak April 6.

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