As nonessential businesses in Georgia reopen Friday despite federal coronavirus guidelines, the Associated Press is reporting that President Donald Trump signed off on GOP Governor Brian Kemp’s ill-advised plan before publicly coming out against it.
The AP reports that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly told Kemp they approved of his decision to allow gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to reopen. According to one coronavirus model frequently cited by the White House, Georgia should not allow those businesses to reopen for nearly two more months, on June 22.
Asked to say more about his disagreement with Gov. Kemp about his move to reopen businesses, Trump changes the topic to talking about how Kemp's victory represented a win in his proxy war against the Obamas pic.twitter.com/w1DEJzkSVk— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 22, 2020
From the AP: The green light from Pence and Trump came in separate private conversations with the Republican governor both before Kemp announced his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions and after it was unveiled on Monday, the officials said. Trump’s sudden shift came only after top health advisers reviewed the plan more closely and persuaded the president that Kemp was risking further spread of the virus by moving too quickly. … The extraordinary reversal — and public criticism of a GOP ally — is only the latest in a series of contradictory and confusing messages from the president on how and when he believes governors should ease stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of the deadly virus. It demonstrates the political risk for governors in following the unpredictable president’s guidance.