Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has granted Donald Trump a pardon, so to speak, after the president declined to wear a mask during a visit to Atlanta on Wednesday, in violation of the city’s coronavirus orders.
On Wednesday night, the same day when Georgia reported its second-highest daily number of new coronavirus cases, Kemp issued an order barring cities from mandating masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Washington Post reports: Kemp’s order voids existing mask mandates in more than a dozen cities or counties, while also extending other coronavirus social-distancing restrictions statewide. The governor had previously tried to ban cities and counties from passing any coronavirus restrictions that went further than Georgia’s guidelines. But many cities, including Atlanta, defied him by passing mask mandates anyway, arguing it was essential to flatten the curve. Kemp’s new order “strongly encourages” masks. Local officials who had issued mask mandates as hospitals filled up were outraged Wednesday night as Kemp overrode their judgment.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was among those who slammed the governor’s move.
“It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can. In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Kemp’s order comes as other Republican governors in the South, including Texas’ Greg Abbott and Alabama’s Kay Ivey, have issued statewide mask mandates. It also came shortly after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms accused Trump of breaking the law during Wednesday’s visit, when Kemp could be seen with a face covering dangling from his ear as he greeted a mask-less president on the tarmac.
CNN reports: Trump was spotted not wearing a mask during his visit to Atlanta on Wednesday, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that Trump broke the law. Hartsfield-Jackson airport is owned and operated by the city of Atlanta and thus included in her executive order requiring masks, Bottoms said. … Bottoms holds that since the airport is owned and operated by the city, it’s within her jurisdiction to enforce, and not wearing a mask can be punishable by a citation, fine and even up to six months in jail. … Asked if she was going to give Trump a citation, Bottoms said, “Just a citation that sends him back to Washington, DC.
Watch CNN’s report below.