Donald Trump has drawn significant criticism from the left for pushing the US towards reopening sooner rather than later.
However, after Georgia governor Brian Kemp (R) announced that the state will allow some “non-essential” businesses to begin reopening on Friday, Trump appeared to reverse course somewhat, saying that he “strongly disagrees” with the decision.
Trump pushes back
Trump expressed approval of Kemp’s leadership in working to get the state back to normal earlier this week, saying that Kemp is “a capable man who knows what he’s doing.”
On Monday, Kemp announced plans to selectively reopen some sectors of the state’s economy
“Due to favorable data & more testing, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians, their respective schools & massage therapists can reopen Friday, April 24 with Minimum Basic Operations,” Kemp tweeted.
Trump said during his Wednesday press briefing that “I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities 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.”
“I think spas, beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops … it’s just too soon. I love those people who use all those things, but they can wait a little bit longer,” He said. “Safety has to predominate.”
Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is leaving the management of each state’s timeline up to the governor’s discretion and that the federal government will back whatever decision is made. As such, though he said he thinks Kemp is moving too fast, he will only take action if he sees “something totally egregious, totally out of line.”
Kemp charges forward
Georgia Senator Lindsey Graham backed Trump’s call for caution, saying on Wednesday that “I have great respect for Governor Kemp and believe that future re-openings can occur rather quickly but we must get Phase I right.”
Kemp responded to the criticism by saying he has consulted extensively with health officials within the state and that he feels that moving forward with scaled reopening plans is the right thing to do.
“Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials,” Kemp tweeted on Wednesday. “We will continue with this approach to protect the lives – and livelihoods – of all Georgians.”
“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.”