Savannah - Gov. Brian Kemp blamed an “out of control” Democratic party for a stalled Hurricane Michael relief bill Saturday and mocked efforts to boycott the state by “C-list celebrities” angry about Georgia’s new anti-abortion law.
Speaking at the Georgia Republican convention, Kemp nodded to the growing fallout from Hollywood celebrities and some production firms who have called for boycotts of Georgia after he signed the “heartbeat” law that seeks to ban most abortions.
“I understand that some folks don’t like this new law. I’m fine with that,” he said. “We’re elected to do what’s right – and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do.”
Kemp added: “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”
(Among those who signed the letter to boycott Georgia: Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, Mia Farrow, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Zoe Kravitz, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Bradley Whitford, Tracee Ellis Ross, Uzo Aduba and Don Cheadle.)
He also hearkened back to his controversial TV spots featuring him pointing a shotgun toward his daughter’s suitor, and another showing him threatening to “round up illegals” in his pickup truck if Congress didn’t take action.
Kemp said his administration will ensure “our guns are not up for grabs here” and said he would press Congress to provide aid for farmers devastated by the October hurricane “even if I have to get in my pickup truck and drive to D.C. and get it myself – and yes, I just said that.”
Deep partisan mistrust has stalled the long-promised natural disaster relief bill, even with no stated opposition to delivering federal aid to storm victims. An increasingly bitter fight over funding for Puerto Rico could keep a bipartisan deal out of reach.
Without mentioning her name, the Republican also alluded to his rival Stacey Abrams, who ended her campaign for governor 10 days after the election without conceding the race.
“We fought every liberal activist in the country – and we won,” said Kemp. “And I’ll say it again for the folks in the back of the room: we won. But make no mistake, we cannot rest on our laurels. We have to double down and do it again.”
Abrams’ top aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo, took aim at Kemp’s remarks about the film industry, saying it shows he “literally does not care if the film industry leaves Georgia.”
“The only way to stop these men is to permanently take away their power,” she said.
Kemp, meanwhile, also railed against an “agenda-driven media” that criticize his policies and the“talking heads and the Twitter trolls” who want to obstruct his initiatives.
“I still believe our best days are ahead in this great state,” he said. “Folks, this is a battleground state in 2020. And it’s time to hunker down and fight. The left is angry, they’re radical and they’re ridiculous.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.