On Monday, citing a mass vandal attack on Georgia State Patrol headquarters, a spate of 30 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend, the death of an eight-year-old girl, and failure "to quell ongoing violence with armed individuals threatening citizens" around the site of a police shooting, Governor Kemp declared a state of emergency in the city of Atlanta.
He promised to send in as many as 1,000 members of the National Guard to calm things down. Some were deployed by sundown Monday -- just as Mayor Bottoms announced that she and her husband had tested positive for COVID-19. She described her own condition as asymptomatic.
The Guard was on the streets of Atlanta just last month, when protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police turned violent.
That time, Bottoms asked for the help. This time she did not.
On ABC's “Good Morning, America,” the mayor was asked today to diagnose what was happening in her city. Said Bottoms:
"I think it's just this perfect storm of distress in America. I think that people are obviously anxious and even angry about COVID-19. Loved ones are dying, people are losing their jobs.
"I think there's a lot of frustration, a lot of angst, and I think that the rhetoric that comes out of the White House doesn't help it at all. It doesn't give people much hope, and I think that it's all converging together and we're seeing it happen and spill out onto the streets in Atlanta."
Asked if she agreed with Governor Kemp's decision to send in troops, Bottoms replied:
"No. An irony of that is that I asked Governor Kemp to allow us to mandate masks in Atlanta and he said no. But he has called in the National Guard without asking if we needed the National Guard.
"So, I understand if he wants to protect state buildings. We have been coordinating with the Georgia State Patrol -- which we do on any number of occasions. Law enforcement agencies coordinate, and we provide assistance to them, they provide assistance to us.
"But at no time was it mentioned that anyone felt that there was the need for the National Guard to come in."
Cody Hall, a spokesman for the governor, said there was communication between the chiefs of staff for the governor and the mayor before the emergency declaration was issued. Hall said that the primary mission of the guard would be “to relieve state troopers who are stationed at various state properties around the city, so that troopers could increase patrols.”
But as with an April emergency declaration in response to the pandemic, when the governor blocked Georgia's major cities from issuing stronger remedies, there seems to have been an absence of communication and/or coordination between State Capitol and City Hall, which are separated by a mere 300 paces.
The city of Savannah recently moved to thwart Kemp's limitations and has declared mask-wearing mandatory in indoor spaces. Atlanta has not.
Separately, in the same ABC interview, the mayor said the coronavirus spike in Georgia should keep in-person learning off-limits.
“With the way our numbers are going up, I don’t know how it can possibly be safe to send kids back into school for the sake of our teachers. The kids may be OK, but our teachers certainly will be at risk,” she said.
When a governor assumes the role of public safety director in a capital city, political repercussions follow. Georgia Republicans largely silenced by a weekend of disturbing messaging from President Donald Trump quickly lined up behind Kemp -- some in rather fiery fashion.
From U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler:
When local leaders have done nothing but appease violent criminals & allow mob rule, @GovKemp Is stepping in & taking decisive action to save lives. He is leading and Georgia is safer because of it. The violence must end. Under Gov. Kemp's bold leadership, it will.
U.S. Rep Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, who is attempting to oust Loeffler in November, was on Fox News this morning, pushing the governor and other state leaders to call for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s removal from a probe into the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, whose death set off the current round of street violence.
And from former congresswoman Karen Handel, who is running against U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta:
"With law enforcement under siege amid calls to defund the police, gun violence is spiking in Atlanta. This weekend, an innocent 8-year-old girl was senselessly and tragically murdered, and 60 vandals ransacked the Georgia State Patrol headquarters. Liberals like Lucy McBath remain silent about these predictable results of lawlessness, anarchy and chaos…
"Mayor Bottoms now says 'Enough is enough.' No, enough was enough weeks ago, and now we're paying a terrible price for giving criminals a seat at the negotiating table."
The chief justice of the state Supreme Court warned Monday that judges who continue to ignore public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 could face discipline, according to The Daily Report:
Chief Justice Harold Melton said that, while judges across the state are largely managing courthouse functions in line with state public health and CDC guidelines, he has been made aware of multiple incidents where practices “have been less than what is necessary to protect the safety of all.”
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, is among the members of Congress who have benefited in some way from the sweeping small-business loan program he helped create. Sort of.
Records show the company he helped start, R.W. Allen Construction, accepted between $350,000 and $1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program.
His spokeswoman, Andrea Porwoll, said Alllen relinquished a majority stake in the firm years before he was sworn into office and that he and his wife no longer have “decision-making authority.” She added:
"While I cannot speak on behalf of R.W. Allen, I can confirm our office has consulted with the U.S. House of Representatives Office of General Counsel and is confident the company, like businesses around the country impacted by COVID-19, is eligible to receive a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program after doing their due diligence and applying in good faith."
The federal government quietly issued a "blanket approval" that allowed Congress, officials and their families to receive PPP funds without a required conflict of interest review, The Washington Post reported.
The firm received one of the roughly 152,000 loans that went to Georgia companies through the $600 billion program. Our colleague Andy Peters has more here.
One more among them: The Duluth-based Faith & Freedom Coalition, founded by Ralph Reed, received a loan of up to $350,000. Reed has been an unstinting supporter of President Trump.
The buzz among some GOP lawmakers holds that national Republican groups will spend close to $1 million to defeat House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, who represents a rural Georgia district that President Donald Trump carried.
The jury is still out, but we have the latest evidence that Trammell is in the red-hot crosshairs.
The Republican State Leadership Committee released a digital and TV ad Tuesday attacking Trammell, among other issues, for voting against a cut in part-time pay. We're told the group is putting $100,000 behind the ad.
Republicans who pushed the 10% pay cut said trimming their salaries helped reduce the need to furlough General Assembly staff. Trammell and other Democrats warned it could prevent more Georgians from running for office.
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jon Ossoff released a digital ad Tuesday drawing a line between U.S. Sen. David Perdue and President Donald Trump. Expect it to be a focus of his November argument - and another sign that Democrats aren't hesitating to cast Trump as an albatross weighing down the GOP ticket.
In endorsement news:
-- The Brady PAC, the powerful national gun control group, said Tuesday it was endorsing Rev. Raphael Warnock's bid for U.S. Senate and planned to financially support his campaign as well. "As a United States Senator, we know Rev. Warnock will champion gun violence prevention and motivate his Senate Colleagues to join him in passing meaningful legislation that will save countless lives," said Brian Lemek, Brady PAC's executive director.