ATLANTA — In the ongoing dispute over mask mandates putting Georgia's politics in the national spotlight, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms indicated Friday she had no intention of backing down from a state lawsuit against her city ordinance requiring masks.
Gov. Brian Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr launched the suit against Mayor Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council on Thursday to block the mask mandate, which Atlanta instituted last week.
Mayor Bottoms appeared on the TODAY Show on Friday morning, and, asked about the lawsuit said she felt the governor "has simply overstepped his bounds and his authority."
"We'll see him in court," she added.
"The entire filing of this lawsuit is simply bizarre quite frankly," the mayor said. "Savannah and Mayor Johnson instituted their mask order the first of July, the governor’s hometown of Athens, Georgia, instituted a mask order on the eighth of July and then when Atlanta instituted a mask order, and I did it via executive order, he filed a lawsuit. And in addition to filing this suit based on the mask mandate, he takes exception with some advisory business reopening recommendations that remain by the city. He is suing us, personally myself and the city council, because of those advisory recommendations.
"And I don’t think it's happenstance that this lawsuit came the day after Donald Trump visited Atlanta and I pointed out hat he was violating city law by not having on a mask in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport," she added. "And so there's several mayors across this state who join me in being perplexed by the governor’s actions and we will continue to do what we need to do on behalf of the people we've been elected to represent."
Later, at a press conference in which he gave an update on the state's COVID-19 response, the governor framed it as an issue of cities not enforcing the existing regulations he's set forth, such as those requiring distancing for large gatherings and capacity restrictions at bars and restaurants.
Bottoms said she believes Kemp is "putting politics over people." She criticized his approach to the science, saying he hasn't consulted thoroughly with respected institutions in the state such as Emory University and the CDC.
She called the suit a "waste of taxpayer money" and said she feels her order will hold up in court.
"I absolutely think that I will prevail and the people of Atlanta by and large support wearing masks," Bottoms said.