NORCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence on Friday praised Georgia’s decision to quickly reopen businesses during the coronavirus outbreak during a visit to the state that included lunch with the governor at an Atlanta café that had resumed dine-in service.
“We just went out to lunch and had a great meal, and we were able to do that because of what the people of Georgia have done,” Pence said at a discussion later in the day with restaurant owners and Gov. Brian Kemp.
He said Georgia was “leading the way” in reopening and called Kemp’s leadership “clear and courageous and principled.”
The words were a marked departure from the criticism Kemp faced from President Donald Trump after Kemp announced in April he planned to allow salons, restaurants, gyms and other businesses to reopen later that month. Georgia was one of the first states to allow businesses to start up again during the pandemic.
Trump initially told Kemp he supported the move, but then said publicly he strongly disagreed with it and wasn’t happy with Kemp.
The Republican governor has insisted the move was guided by data and state public health officials, but it ran counter to the advice of many experts, who warned that resuming business too soon risked a fresh spike in infections.
Kemp returned Pence’s praise Friday, thanking him and Trump for the “level of communication” they’ve had with governors about the virus. Kemp walked into the meeting with restaurant owners without a mask, and many people in the crowd were not wearing them. The meeting was held at the headquarters of Waffle House, a popular Southern eatery.Waffle House CEO Walt […]