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A ‘distraction’ vs. a ‘disaster’: Have Trump and Kemp gone from allies to enemies?

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 2:08 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 8:04 AM EST
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ATLANTA - Just ahead of a Peach State runoff that will determine control of the Senate, the relationship between Brian Kemp and Donald Trump took another sour twist this week, with the Georgia governor labeling a tweet storm by the president a “distraction” after Trump called for Kemp’s resignation.

Kemp said at a news conference Wednesday that he was focused on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and upcoming runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats and not jabs at state leaders via social media.

Trump had said earlier in the day that fellow Republican Kemp was an “obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia, BIG!”

In a series of tweets targeting Georgia, Trump called for Kemp’s resignation.

Trump — who’s fired similar salvos at Kemp and other fellow Republicans in the state after losing the presidential election here — called the governor an obstructionist.

Despite the certified election results and judges who refuse to intervene, Trump claims he won Georgia as well as other swing states.

Kemp and Trump were once close allies, but Trump called the leadership in Georgia a “disaster.”

Kemp didn’t seem to appreciate the jabs from the president.

“I’ve supported the president. I’ve said it many times: I worked as hard as anybody in the state on his re-election up to Nov. 3. I’ve supported the legal process that him or any other campaign can go through. At the end of the day, I also have to follow the laws of the Constitution,” Kemp said.

He said he needs “to stay focused on the issues of the day in Georgia, not on what anybody is tweeting.”

“I’ve been focusing on the most important question we’ve seen in our state and our country in a long time, and that is sending David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back to the United States Senate,” Kemp said.

“That’s what everyone else should be doing. All this other stuff is simply a distraction.”

Trump will be visiting the Peach State on Monday to campaign for incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are locked in runoff battles against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. All four were on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, but none gained a sufficient majority of votes to claim a seat. The outcome of the election will determine which party controls the Senate.

Kemp said nothing should distract Georgians from voting in Tuesday’s runoffs and that he will continue to support Loeffler and Perdue.

In this Nov. 4, 2018, file photo, then-Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp,...
In this Nov. 4, 2018, file photo, then-Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, left, walks with President Donald Trump as Trump arrives for a rally in Macon , Ga. President Trump said Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 he was “ashamed” for endorsing the Republican governor of Georgia after he lost in the state to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump said on Fox News that Gov. Brian Kemp has “done absolutely nothing” to question the state’s results.(Source: AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The president’s tweets came after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he’d debunked claims of election fraud for the third time in the 2020 presidential election after investigators audited absentee ballot signatures in Cobb County.

In the string of tweets, Trump says quote “Just allow us to find the crime and turn the state Republican.”

The president also raises concerns over someone he assumes is Raffensperger’s brother working for a company based in China.

WTOC has not been able to find a relationship between the men, only that the two share a last name.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT, WTOC and The Associated Press