‘I will not back down’: Gov. Kemp blasts MLB’s decision to pull All-Star game from Atlanta

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp held a news conference Saturday blasting the MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star game and draft from Atlanta.

The MLB announced its decision on Friday citing Georgia’s controversial new voting law and saying relocating the events was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

Gov. Kemp fired back, calling it a “kneejerk decision” and an “attack on our state.”

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On Saturday, he told Georgians that the MLB caved to pressure and is hurting Georgians who were depending on the game for a paycheck.

“They don’t care about jobs, they don’t care about our communities and they certainly don’t care about access to the ballot box because if they did MLB would’ve announced it was moving it’s headquarters from New York,” Kemp said. “In New York, they have 10 days of early voting. In Georgia, we have 17 … It’s easier to vote in Georgia than it is in New York.”

During the news conference, Kemp reiterated much of what he told Jovita Moore during an exclusive interview on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.

“Major League Baseball has caved to the cancel culture and a bunch of liberal lies, quite honestly. He didn’t cite one specific part of the bill that he disagrees with. And it’s because Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams continue to lie about the Election Integrity Act that I just signed. And I believe for your viewers at home, you might as well get ready because now that they’re coming for your baseball game, they’re going to come after your business, they’re going to come after your way of life,” Kemp told Moore. Click here to read his full interview.

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The All-Star game was supposed to be played at Truist Park in July, but now the MLB commissioner said they will choose another spot.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States,” commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a statement.

[READ: President Biden ‘strongly supports’ moving MLB All-Star game out of Atlanta]

The Atlanta Braves released a statement saying they were deeply disappointed by the decision and are offering refunds to anyone who had already purchased tickets.

The new election law makes ballot drop boxes an official part of Georgia elections and replaces signature matches on absentee ballots with a voter ID. Critics, however, contend the new law is more about voter suppression than election integrity, especially the law preventing people from providing food and water to voters within 150 feet of polling places.

[EXPLAINER: What does Georgia’s new GOP election law do?]

Kemp reiterated during Saturday’s news conference that election officials are allowed to provide water to anyone in line, saying the bill solely stops other people, including partisan groups, from approaching voters in line.

“I want to be clear. I will not be backing down from this fight,” Kemp said. “We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced. Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not.”