In a blunt-talking column from the editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump was taken to the woodshed for turning on Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp for opening up his state to economic activity just days after the president encouraged all the states to abandon the COVID-19 lockdown.
Kemp, who won a controversial election to become governor in 2018, has been the target of health officials for speeding up the re-opening process at the same time that his state is being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
While WSJ noted that the criticism might be fair, the editorial board also called up the president for turning his back on Kemp when the heat got too hot.
"Consistency has never been Donald Trump’s strong suit, but during a national calamity it would be terrific if the President would decide what he wants without shifting from day to day. We suspect Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp would agree," the editorial began.
Adding, "Mr. Kemp made a good case. Georgia has not seen a devastating outbreak of Covid-19. As of Friday the state has had 22,147 known cases, with 892 deaths related to the virus—a per capita rate far below that of such hard-hit areas as Louisiana, Michigan and New York. Georgia’s hospital system has not been overwhelmed. The number of documented cases appears to be diminishing, with the number of tests concomitantly increasing," the editorial turned to Trump's public abandonment of a member of his own party who they feel was set-up.
"On Tuesday night Gov. Kemp spoke in separate calls to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and those calls went smoothly," the editorial explained. "Yet the following day, when asked during a briefing about the Georgia Governor’s decision to lift some restrictions, the President remarked, 'I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he’s doing . . . I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in phase one—we’re going to have phase two very soon—is just too soon. I think it’s too soon.'"
"Our reporting indicates that the President was 'happy' with the Georgia Governor on Tuesday night, but that Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, expressed skepticism about the Georgia policy. That is her right, and it is the President’s right either to heed her advice or reject it. If only he had done one or the other. He might have called the Governor and urged him to alter his order in some way, or he might have heeded his own counsel and let the Governor find the best policy for Georgians. Instead he blathered about how he 'wasn’t happy' with Brian Kemp—as if presidential happiness is the relevant policy criterion," the piece continued before stating, "Gov. Kemp is now, thanks to his ally in the White House, getting it from both political directions."
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