Apr 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Stacey Abrams says Trump "incited" Georgia governor into reopening state

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that President Trump "incited" Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) into reopening nonessential businesses through his calls to "liberate" states.

Driving the news: Trump surprised many when he criticized Kemp's plans to reopen indoor facilities including gyms, bowling alleys and salons, accusing the Republican governor of violating White House guidelines for lifting coronavirus restrictions.

What she's saying:

"I give Donald Trump zero credit for backing away from this because he incited it, with his 'liberation of the states' narrative. I think Brian Kemp was responding to that call and decided to wrongheadedly move forward. And, unfortunately, as a result, he found himself crossways with the president, with Mike Pence nodding pathetically at the same time about ingesting Clorox as the president gave more false information to the public. But I think all three of these men have misserved Georgia and misserved the country."

The big picture: Abrams said that if she was running the federal government, she would ramp up production not only of tests, but also of components like swabs and vials in order to increase capacity.

  • "Part of testing is making sure people trust that they can go to be tested," she said. "And right now there's inadequate equipment and inadequate strategy."
  • Abrams also said she would be encouraging Southern and Midwestern states that have refused to expand Medicaid to "do so immediately."

Worth noting: Abrams, who has been openly lobbying to be selected as Joe Biden's running mate, dismissed criticism that she lacks experience to be vice president, pointing to her work with her voting rights organization Fair Fight 2020 over the past year and a half.

  • "I was raised to tell the truth," Abrams said. "And so when I am asked a question, I answer it as directly and honestly as I can. And as a young black girl growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if I didn’t speak up for myself, no one else would."

Go deeper: 3 Southern states will begin to ease coronavirus lockdowns

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018. Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

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The big picture: The late-night tweet came after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) told convention organizers earlier Tuesday that Republicans should plan for a "scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings" given the impact of the pandemic.

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Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Even with early curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Some protesters in D.C. said they were galvanized by President Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Church on Monday and threat to deploy U.S. troops in the rest of country if violence isn't quelled, NBC News reports.

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Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.