Trump Was For Reopening Georgia Before He Was Against It, Sources Say
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, told the governor in separate private conversations that his decision to abruptly end a number of social distancing “stay-at-home” measures in his state was a good idea, before publicly acknowledging later on that it was a move that was too fast.
Trump struck an unusual critical tone against Kemp’s decision earlier this week, suggesting that his moves were premature amid the continued spread of coronavirus across the country.
“I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he’s doing,” Trump said to reporters at the White House.
Yet Trump had endorsed the plan while speaking to Kemp before he made those comments, and before the governor himself announced his intention to roll back the social distancing measures, two sources from inside the White House told the Associated Press.
Trump only decided to do an about-face after speaking to White House health advisers about Kemp’s decision. Those advisers warned Trump, after they looked at the details of Kemp’s plan, that it was risky.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 23, 2020
The president’s decision to change his viewpoints is but the latest in a series of movements and statements he’s made in recent days that are somewhat confusing to the American public — and to states’ governors who are looking to him for guidance on how to adequately address dueling concerns of “reopening” their economies and ensuring their constituents are safe from coronavirus.
Trump has said for weeks, for example, that he wanted the economy reopened soon, first by Easter then delaying that idea until May 1. He then unveiled a three-phase plan which suggested he wanted states to follow a more nuanced approach — but a day later, called on states to “LIBERATE” themselves from stay-at-home measures, suggesting support for protesters across the country who are calling for an immediate reopening.
His comments about Kemp’s decision only complicates understanding where he stands on the issue even further.