Fulton County Chairman John Eaves wants the president-elect to come see the area he disparaged as "falling apart" in tweets Saturday morning.
Eaves said he plans to send a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, inviting him to come see the parts of Atlanta he said were "in horrible shape" and "crime infested." Trump tweeted the insults referencing the district represented by Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, after Lewis said he would skip Trump's inauguration.
"We're not in horrible shape," Eaves said. "We're a prideful community that has some challenges. I'm optimistic with collaboration, we can solve these challenges. That's why I want to invite him down. I think he needs to see first-hand, up close and personal, how our community really is instead of making a judgment from afar."
Eaves said he will write the letter by Sunday, though he’s not sure how he’ll ensure Trump sees it.
“I’m not sure if we’ll tweet it,” he said. “We all know President Trump is quick with tweeting.”
Though Trump’s Twitter ire has found many targets in the past, this is the first time it’s been “directed at home,” Eaves said. He said it was a great opportunity to reach out to Trump about the assets Atlanta has, including corporate headquarters, educational institutions and a diverse population.
He also hopes the president-elect will follow through on a campaign promise he made to help fix the cities. Eaves said he is particularly interested in eradicating poverty.
“Atlanta’s it,” Eaves said. “If you can fix it here, you can fix it almost anywhere. …I feel I am going to be one of the first people to extend the invitation. My hope is he will respond.”
His response to Trump, Eaves said, is consistent with “what (Martin Luther) King weekend is about.”
Regarding the comments about Lewis, who represents Georgia's fifth district, Eaves said they were uncalled for. He called Lewis a mentor.
“I think that Congressman Lewis, he’s an American hero,” Eaves said. “He does not deserve to be criticized in the way he’s been criticized.”
Arielle Kass covers Gwinnett County for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She started at the paper in 2010, and has covered business and local government beats around metro Atlanta. Arielle is a graduate of Emory University.