Trump Calls For Former Ally Kemp To Resign. Kemp Calls It A ‘Distraction’

Gov. Brian Kemp says President Donald Trump’s call for Kemp to resign over the November election is a “distraction.”

Emma Hurt / WABE

President Donald Trump called for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to resign on Wednesday, calling him an “obstructionist.” The two Republicans were once close allies, but since the election, Kemp and other Georgia Republicans have drawn the president’s ire for refusing to overturn the state’s election, which three tallies confirmed President-elect Joe Biden won by nearly 12,000 votes. That ire has created a rift among Republican voters, as the state is days away from two Senate runoffs that will determine control of the chamber.

Kemp has repeatedly insisted he has no constitutional authority to intervene in the state’s election.

In response to a question about the calls to resign, Kemp said he was focused on the state’s coronavirus fight. “I think [that] is what the people of Georgia want me to be focused on,” he said. “Making sure if they need a hospital bed, they’re going to get one. We’re seeing our hospitalizations increase at an alarming rate right now.”

About the election, Kemp reiterated that he’s “done the things that I can do under the power that I have by our laws and constitution in the state. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Kemp said the political drama is a “distraction” from his political priority: the Senate runoffs.

“No one, whether you’re mad at me, whether you like me, should get distracted by anything other than getting out to vote,” he said. “That is where my focus is. I don’t want to wake up on January the 6th and wonder what else I should have done.”

Trump’s continued undermining of Georgia’s elections and the rift he has created in Georgia’s Republican party has prompted speculation about whether it will discourage his supporters from voting in that same system again.

Kemp, who has been a prominent fixture on every past Trump visit to Georgia, said he hasn’t been invited to the Monday rally Trump is headlining for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

“We’ll see when we get a little bit closer to that event, but I was with David and Kelly two nights ago,” he said. “Anytime they’ve needed me somewhere, I’ve been there.”

An audit of signatures on absentee ballots, which Kemp and Trump pushed for, came back with a 99.99% accuracy rate in Cobb County this week. It was run by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Secretary of State.

In a state Senate committee meeting Wednesday, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani called that audit a “joke.”

Kemp responded forcefully.

“Well, that’s a joke. He doesn’t know the GBI very well. He doesn’t know how hard they have gone after street gangs and human traffickers,” Kemp said. “He should do a little more due diligence on the fine men and women we have at the GBI.”

More than 2.5 million Georgians have already voted ahead of Tuesday’s runoffs.