Last week, President Donald Trump vocally and publicly criticized Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen his state’s businesses, but — behind the scenes — it was reportedly a different story.
As AP News reports, both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence apparently told Kemp they approved of his plan to reopen Georgia’s economy, which would allow businesses like nail salons and barbershops to open their doors so long as they practice social distancing.
On several occasions, the president has reportedly spoken to Kemp and praised his plan to reopen, according to two anonymous administration officials.
Critics have called Kemp’s decision too aggressive and warned it could result in a resurgence of the virus in the state. Others questioned how people could maintain social distancing while getting a haircut.
At one point, Trump said that he trusted the Georgia governor to do what was best for his state and wouldn’t urge him to listen to federal guidelines on combating the novel coronavirus.
“He knows what’s he’s doing,” the president remarked.
Days later, Trump said he disagreed with Kemp’s plan during a White House coronavirus press conference.
“I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities,” the president stated.
The next day, he doubled down.
“I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp, I wasn’t at all happy,” he continued.
AP News pointed out that Trump’s about-face has contributed to the contradictory messaging being put forth about the pandemic from the White House.
“It demonstrates the political risk for governors in following the unpredictable president’s guidance,” they wrote.
Publicly, Trump has said for weeks that he wants to see the economy back up and running sooner rather than later. He has suggested that some states could begin to reopen their businesses and allow those who are less susceptible to getting the virus to go back to work.
After protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against stay-at-home orders put in place by state leaders, Trump tweeted apparent support of the movements, telling certain states’ citizens to “LIBERATE!” themselves.
Shortly after, Kemp became the first governor to declare he would allow the stay-at-home order in his state to expire and would urge businesses to start serving people once again, as The Inquisitr previously reported. When asked about the move recently, the president said he supported the governor.
“He’s a very capable man. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done a very good job as governor.”