ATLANTA — President Donald Trump said he told Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp that he "disagreed strongly" with the decision to begin reopening the state's economy on Friday.
During the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing on Wednesday, he told reporters that he did not agree, but told Kemp to do what he thinks is right.
These comments come one day after Trump said Kemp was a "very capable man." He said the businesses Kemp plans to open are in violation of the phase one guidelines.
Trump went on to praise the "incredible people" of Georgia.
"They've been strong, resolute, but, at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he's doing. But I want to let the governors do..."
Kemp said on Monday that gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians and their schools, and massage therapists can reopen on Friday, April 24.
"I think spas, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors and barbershops in Phase One, we’ll have Phase Two very soon. It’s just too soon. I think it’s just too soon," Trump said. "And I love the people, I love those people that use all of those things the spas and the beauty parlors and barbershops and tattoo parlors, I love them. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit, not much."
Kemp responded to the remarks by a series of Tweets on Wednesday evening.
"Earlier today, I discussed Georgia's plan to reopen shuttered businesses for limited operations with @POTUS. I appreciate his bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward," he said.
He went on to say that they will continue to review the data.
"Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians," he said. "Just like the thousands of businesses currently operating throughout Georgia, I am confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to Minimum Basic Operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers."
Less than an hour before Trump's comments, Kemp told 11Alive he spoke to the president. However, he didn't mention the disagreement.
"Yeah I had a conversation with President Trump ... also talked to the Vice President yesterday, as well. He was out in Wisconsin, and we got to talking about ventilators."
Kemp went on to say: "We’ve had conversations with the White House about our data, what we’re doing, they’re doing the same with a lot of governors around the country."
Last week, Trump unveiled a three-phase plan called "Opening Up America Again" where he outlines the steps states should take. In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.
On Monday, Kemp said the state was on track for the beginning stage.
"For weeks now, our state has taken targeted action to prevent, detect, and address the spread of coronavirus by leveraging data and advice from health officials in the public and private sectors," Kemp said. "Thanks to this methodical approach and the millions of Georgians who have worked diligently to slow the spread of coronavirus, we are on track to meet the gating criteria for Phase One."
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