Friday on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) defended his decision to challenge mask ordinances imposed by local governments in his state, arguing they conflicted with the public health state of emergency he executed.
Kemp suggested that those local officials could be motivated by politics, in that they hoped for a return to “shelter-in-place.”
“Let me tell you what’s really going on in Georgia,” he said. “I’m working very hard every day, and have been for a long time now, to protect lives as well as the livelihoods of my fellow citizens. However, we have people — local mayors that are playing politics. They want to go back to shelter-in-place. They want to stop in-person dining with no notice — just pulling the rug out from under people. I’m just not going to allow that to happen. We’re fighting two battles here now, one to protect lives, but also to protect livelihoods. And so I filed a lawsuit to stop them because those orders are in conflict with the statewide order that I have executed for the public health state of emergency.”
Kemp argued the government should defer to personal responsibility, and accused local officials of not enforcing current laws on the books.
“[I] don’t feel like a mandate is needed for Georgians to do the right thing,” Kemp added. “We have existing orders on the books, Laura. And this is what’s so frustrating about a lot of the locals that are playing politics with this is we have orders on the books that have worked in the past. It helped us flatten a curve. It helped us stop the spread. They have the ability, through my order, to use their law enforcement to enforce those orders. And they’re not doing that. And that’s what I’ve been telling them.”
The Georgia governor said it did seem as if local officials were trying to “undermine” the economic recovery, which he labeled “pandemic politics.”
“I wouldn’t be able to speak to their politics,” he said. “It certainly seems like they’re trying to undermine our economic recovery. I’m as concerned about the virus as anybody. We’re working with our local school leaders and our school superintendents to get schools open. You know, I got just accosted when I started opening businesses early on by the left because they were making fun of us opening barbershops and hair salons and now they’re saying that the guidance that we had, you know, having people wear a mask and use PPE and having these rules in place have kept the spread down in our salons and barbershops. It’s got to be pandemic politics.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor