Josh Marshall writes how Republican Georgia governor Brian Kemp was rebuked by Donald Trump for licking his boots too vigorously, something I would not have thought possible. Trump has been saying that the country should start re-opening soon and no doubt Kemp thought that he could curry favor with trump by being the first to do so. But it backfired.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has been outstripping the sizable competition in the race to become President Donald Trump’s biggest, and most thoroughly rejected, flunky.
On Monday he mounted his flashiest maneuver yet, announcing that he would fling wide the doors of the state’s gyms, nail salons, barbershops, bowling alleys — bowling alleys — by the end of the week, about three laps ahead of even the cadre of his fellow Trumpy governors.
But Kemp was left alone on the front porch, clutching his boutonniere, as Trump slammed the front door in his face.
“Would I do that? No. I’d keep them a little longer,” the President said of the social distancing guidelines at his Wednesday press briefing. “I want to protect people’s lives.”
“I’m going to let him make his decision,” he added, of Kemp. “But I told him I totally disagree.”
Apparently Trump’s task force members had told him that they would not support Kemp’s move.
In a meeting also reported by CNN, they decided that they would not publicly support the reopening.
Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, whose mannerisms Trump finds “elegant,” was dispatched to change the President’s mind. Trump, never one to agonize much over changing his loyalties, agreed to denounce Kemp at the presser.
And now, Kemp is an island, a man alone, as the moment on Friday approaches when massive swaths of the Georgia economy get the greenlight to open — plus another wave of restaurants and movie theaters Monday.
If Georgians do in fact choose to go back to work — they might not — health experts warn that transmission will likely spike, and Georgians could die or fall sick at a far faster rate.
But Kemp can rest easy in the knowledge that it was all in the name of winning the President’s favor, as he brushes the bus tire tracks off his back.
Kemp’s choices for what should be opened are puzzling. Bowling alleys, although not essential, presumably at least do not require any contact with one another though people may be touching the same surfaces. I have never been to a bowling alley in my life and have no idea how much contact is involved.
Nail salons, barbers, and tattoo parlors are hardly essential services either and all of them require people to be in very close proximity and even in contact with each other. I myself am way overdue for a haircut but even if its length reaches the stage where some might feel the need to adopt the aging hipster look of wearing a pony tail, that hardly constitutes sufficient reason to risk contracting the virus.
Kemp went ahead with his move to start opening things yesterday, despite warnings not to from health experts and some of the city mayors. But not all the owners of the business that were allowed to open did so, with many fearing that it was too soon to risk the lives of themselves, their employees, and their customers.