President Donald Trump said he disagreed "strongly" with Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to open up parts of Georgia's economy while the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the state.
"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 said during his coronavirus task force briefing this afternoon. "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, but I want to let the governors do — now, if I see something totally egregious, totally out of line, I'll do [something]. But I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barber shops in phase one, we're going to have phase two very soon. It's just too soon. I think it's too soon."
Kemp, a Republican and staunch ally of Trump, on Monday announced Georgia would allow nail salons, massage therapists, bowling alleys and gyms to open Friday.
In-person church services can resume. And restaurants and movie theaters can open Monday. His order also bars cities from imposing their own restrictions on businesses.
It's the most aggressive move yet to reopen a state's economy as Trump optimistically pushes for a May 1 end to some statewide lockdowns. It also came as a surprise to mayors and some members of Kemp's own coronavirus task force.
After Trump's remarks, Kemp responded with the following statement on Twitter:
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"Earlier today, I discussed Georgia's plan to reopen shuttered businesses for limited operations with @POTUS. I appreciate his bold leadership and insight during these difficult times and the framework provided by the White House to safely move states forward.
"Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians.
"Just like the thousands of businesses currently operating throughout Georgia, 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."