After he initially supported Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plan to reopen the state's economy, President Donald Trump has changed tune. Speaking during Wednesday's daily press briefing, the president spoke out against Kemp’s Monday announcement, stating that he has told the governor he "strongly" disagrees.
"I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia," Trump told reporters, going on to praise Georgians as "incredible" and "resolute" people before encouraging adherence to his own guidelines. "I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he’s doing… But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in phase one — we’re going to have phase two very soon — is just too soon. I think it's too soon."
"And I love the people. I love — I love those people that use all of those things: the spas and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors. I love them," Trump continued. "But they can wait a little bit longer. Just a little bit. Not — not much. Because safety has to predominate. We have to have that. So I told the governor, very simply, that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right."
On Monday, Kemp announced that he would allow certain businesses – such as hair and nail salons, barbershops, gyms, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys – to open beginning Friday, which would be followed on Monday by both restaurants and movie theaters reopening with social distancing measures. The announcement came despite a continued growing number of new cases and deaths.
Just a day later, and just a day before the president’s latest comments, the president had stated his support of the plan. Speaking during the Tuesday briefing, the president praised Kemp as "a very capable man." He added that the governor "knows what he's doing” and that “he’s done a very good job as governor in Georgia."
Kemp's plans have been met with a wave of backlash and caution from both the mayors and citizens in his state as well as health officials, who have warned that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to a surge of cases. Speaking Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci also cautioned against the plan, stating that he would "tell him that he should be careful" and "would advise him not to just turn the switch on and go, because there is a danger of a rebound."