Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Gov. Brian Kemp at the Star Cafe on Marietta Boulevard NW in Atlanta on Friday, May 22, 2020. Pence praised Kemp's efforts to reopen Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM)
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC

Pence to return to Atlanta for second time in a week

Vice President Mike Pence will return to Atlanta on Friday to highlight the state’s aggressive strategy to ease coronavirus restrictions, marking his second visit to Georgia in a week.

He plans to attend a memorial service honoring Ravi Zacharias, the Christian evangelist. And he will also take part in a conversation with small business owners on the state of the economy before returning to Washington. 

Pence praised Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia restaurant owners during his visit last Friday, saying the state has set “an example to the nation” by being one of the first to lift economic limits imposed during the pandemic. 

“In a very real sense, I think history will record that Georgia helped lead the way back to a prosperous American economy,” Pence told reporters after a barbecue lunch with the governor and first lady Marty Kemp.

Pence’s comments made clear the White House supported Kemp’s approach, weeks after President Donald Trump strongly criticized the governor for allowing barber shops, tattoo parlors and other businesses to reopen if they follow safety guidelines. 

He also made an unscheduled stop during the tail end of his visit to Zacharias’ ministry near Alpharetta with U.S. Rep. Doug Collins. The two paid their respects for about 30 minutes before taking photos with supporters on the street outside.

Since his last visit, Pence has floated Georgia as a potential site of the Republican National Convention after Trump threatened to move the August gathering from Charlotte unless the state’s governor can guarantee full attendance. 

>>More: Georgia Republicans aim to 'safely host' RNC; Atlanta mayor.

>>More: How Pence’s visit highlighted Georgia’s tense GOP Senate race

>>More: Pence touts Georgia's economic reopening

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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