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President Trump when asked about Kemp's decision to reopen Georgia: He's a very capable man

'He knows what he’s doing. He’s done a very good job as governor in Georgia.'

WASHINGTON — Many people are criticizing Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's move toward reopening the state's economy, including on the national level. 

The topic came up during the White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing Tuesday, where President Donald Trump said he know's Gov. Brian Kemp is a "very capable man" and he would be speaking with him soon.

"He's a very capable man. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done a very good job as governor in Georgia," Trump said.

When a reporter at the briefing brought up that U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham- who represents residents in South Carolina - was concerned about Kemp's decision, the president said the governors of both states are "very capable people."

"And in fact, I am scheduled to speak to the governor of Georgia in a little while," Trump said. 

Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force also talked about Georgia when another reporter brought up the state's plan to reopen places like hair salons and other businesses.

“What I’ve been trying to communicate is over the last several days is that it’s really important that governors and mayors communicate critical information to their communities," Birx said. "And show very clearly the data, remember we wanted this data and evidence, they based the data that they utilize to make decisions."

She explained that some places might need to make decisions based on what is happening in their communities.

"There are different communities in different places, even in Georgia, and so I believe people in Atlanta would understand that if their cases are not going down that they need to continue to do everything that we said, social distancing, washing your hands, wearing a mask in public."

RELATED: 'I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m nervous': Georgia nurse joins coronavirus fight in New York

However, Birx did say that if there is a way that people can social distance and do certain tasks then they can do those things.

“I don’t know how but people are very creative so I’m not going to prejudge but we have told people very clearly and the president’s guidelines made it very clear about the expectations of Phase One," Birx explained. 

RELATED: Health officials worry Gov. Kemp reopening Georgia too soon

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."

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.


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