PG A.M.: Kemp renews support for Trump, GOP ticket ‘from the bottom up’

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Gov. Brian Kemp reiterated his support for former President Donald Trump's 2024 bid for the White House in a "Politically Georgia" event appearance Thursday in Athens.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Gov. Brian Kemp reiterated his support for former President Donald Trump's 2024 bid for the White House in a "Politically Georgia" event appearance Thursday in Athens.

Weeks after Gov. Brian Kemp cast his ballot in the presidential primary, the Republican still won’t say who he supported. But he knows who he is backing in November, despite his personal misgivings.

The governor renewed his pledge to support former President Donald Trump during a live taping of the “Politically Georgia” podcast Thursday in Athens, saying he is “definitely going to support the ticket.”

“I have a vested interest in us keeping our team together, holding our majorities in the Legislature,” Kemp said, adding: “And that means supporting the ticket from the bottom up.”

But he once again offered pointed advice that Trump and his allies focus more on conservative policies they would promote if he wins rather than obsess over election fraud lies stemming from his 2020 defeat to President Joe Biden.

Greg Bluestein listens as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a discussion with "Politically Georgia," a broadcast by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the University of Georgia campus in Athens on April 18, 2024. (Nell Carroll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nell Carroll for the AJC

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Credit: Nell Carroll for the AJC

“There’s a certain segment of voters that want to know what you’re for. And I just think it’s an opportunity for the Trump campaign to start doing that. They haven’t been listening to me too much here, up to this point, but there’s still plenty of time left,” Kemp said.

Pressed on whether he cast a ballot for Trump or former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in March, Kemp steered clear.

“Who’d you vote for?” he asked one of your Insiders, who said he sat the election out. “I might sit out, too. Look, I did like a lot of other people. I went and voted in a Republican primary that didn’t matter.”

Other tidbits from Kemp’s remarks:

On his political future:

“I will tell you what I’ve told everybody else. I’m focused on helping our ticket in 2024, and specifically, holding our legislative majorities. And after November, you can ask me that question again.”

On whether he’d be too frustrated to serve in the U.S. Senate:

“I may just want to get on my tractor that’s around seven miles from here and not fool with this. But look, it’s important. … To me, there should be some bipartisanship on fixing some of those problems. And hopefully after the election there will be.”

On whether he’d back laws preserving IVF treatment after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are legally considered children:

“A lot of people try to drive the Alabama ruling to be part of Georgia, even though it had no effect on IVF here. But everybody wanted it to have that effect, especially from the other side, because they’re trying to gin up their folks and get them motivated to get on the Biden team and win a swing state like Georgia. The truth of the matter is, that is really them trying to distract from the real issues that the Biden campaign has.”

On whether he would order state regulators to deny permits to an Alabama firm aiming to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp:

“We’re handling this permit like we would for any private sector landowner in our state. I think it’s improper for a governor — any governor — to weigh in and say yes or no when we have laws on the books. When you start doing these things, when you do it once, you’ll get asked to do it again, and you’ll get asked to do it in the next process.”


UNBORN DEPENDENTS. More than 36,000 Georgians used a new “unborn dependents” tax deduction in 2022, lowering their taxable income by about $109 million, the AJC’s Maya T. Prabhu reports.

The new deduction is the result of Georgia’s 2019 abortion law, which allows expectant parents to claim an embryo or fetus as a dependent on their taxes. Georgia is the only state known to have that kind of deduction.

The exemption for 2022 was worth $3,000 per embryo or fetus, the same for other minor dependents, which results in about a $170 tax benefit. Only Georgia taxpayers who were pregnant by or after July 20, 2022, when Georgia’s law took effect, were eligible for the tax break.

The General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that would increase the per-child deduction to $4,000.


‘ULTIMATE BETRAYAL’? U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, isn’t letting up on her scorched-earth attacks against U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

On Thursday, Greene went on the “War Room” podcast with former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon and left no doubt where she stands on the speaker.

“He’s turned into a mini-tyrant,” said Greene, denouncing the speaker’s plan to have the House vote this weekend on aid to Israel and Ukraine. “He is the Democrat speaker of the House,” the Georgia Republican added, calling the foreign aid plans the “ultimate betrayal” of GOP voters.

As our Capitol Hill pal Jamie Dupree pointed out in his Washington Insider column, these are not normal times in Congress. Republicans seem to fight with each other on an almost hourly basis, with Greene this week calling on Johnson to resign as speaker.

“We haven’t given our voters anything to vote for,” Greene complained. “We have weak leadership here in Washington.”

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz has a novel response to a scathing “dear colleague” letter by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries that pitted this as a “Churchill or Chamberlain” moment for U.S. leaders.

The Florida lawmaker proposed renaming Greene’s Capitol Hill office after Chamberlain, the British leader maligned for an appeasement policy in the 1930s that avoided standing up to Hitler.


FAIR TAX. It has become an annual event for U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter to introduce legislation calling for the federal government to move from income-based taxation to a flat sales tax, a proposal often referred to as the “fair tax.”

Carter, R-St. Simons Island, timed his bill introduction this year to coincide with the annual deadline for Americans to file their federal tax forms. Fellow Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Athens joined him in sponsoring the proposal this time.

“This is something we’re about in Washington D.C. We’re supposed to be about big ideas,” Carter said.

Don’t expect the 30% flat sales tax proposal to gain much traction, especially in an election year. That tax would be on top of local and state sales tax, such as the 4% Georgia adds to the cost of most purchases and local sales taxes, which range from 2% to 5% in most parts of the state.


U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., used a Senate hearing to blast Republicans for their refusal to act on U.S.-Mexico border security policy reforms.

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

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Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

OSSOFF BORDER BLAST. A day after Senate Democrats voted to dismiss two impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., used a Senate hearing with Mayorkas to blast Republicans for their refusal to act on U.S.-Mexico border security policy reforms.

“No one — and I mean, no one — is interested in, or takes seriously, lectures on border security from Senate Republicans,” Ossoff said, accusing the GOP of “hypocrisy” and “political cowardice” for opposing a bipartisan Senate plan on the border.

But Ossoff also had a blunt message on immigration for Mayorkas and the White House, calling for the Biden administration to use existing executive powers to tighten the border.

“You are going to have to rely on your authorities and it is past time to do so,” Ossoff warned.

“Only you have the power to address this crisis,” Ossoff said to Mayorkas. “And I urge you, I urge you to act with utter urgency to do so.”


WARNOCK CANVASSER. A Savannah teen shot while canvassing for U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock during his 2022 election bid testified in Chatham County Superior Court this week.

The then-15-year-old high school student — Javontae Vann — recounted how he was attempting to leave campaign literature in the door of Jimmy Paiz’s home when a rifle shot came through the door and struck him in the leg.

Judge Penny Freesemann reviewed home security video footage of the incident during the hearing on a motion to dismiss the case based on a Stand Your Ground claim. She told lawyers she found it “horrifying” that the actions of the teen outside Paiz’s home “could ever be considered as justification, frankly, for shooting another human being through the door.”

Jake Shore, a reporter with The Current, an online news publication covering the Georgia coast, has more on Vann and the case against Paiz.


CRUSH COMING. A newly signed state nuisance law written specifically to curb a spring break-like beach party near Savannah, known as Orange Crush, could soon be put to use.

The unofficial gathering of historically Black college and university students organized via social media is to begin today, with large crowds expected Saturday.

Our Savannah-based Insider Adam Van Brimmer has written extensively this week about the preparations.

As for the state law, Senate Bill 433, Tybee Mayor Brian West said local leaders are prepared to sue promoters who have advertised for events related to the beach party should the city incur damages this weekend. Last year, Orange Crush was marked by standstill traffic, violent altercations and property damage, prompting an outcry from island residents.


LISTEN UP. You’ve read some highlights from last night’s “Politically Georgia” live show in Athens with Gov. Brian Kemp. Now listen to the whole discussion during this morning’s broadcast.

The show airs at 10 a.m. on 90.1 FM, at and at

In case you missed it, Thursday’s show focused on reproductive health care and abortion and featured discussions with state Rep. Michelle Au, a Johns Creek Democrat, as well as Cole Muzio, the president of the conservative group Frontline Policy Action.

Listen at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.



  • President Joe Biden delivers remarks to members of the IBEW union during their conference in Washington for construction and maintenance workers.
  • The House could take a procedural vote to advance the legislative package that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. There will also be a vote on a Republican-backed border security bill that requires two-thirds support to pass because it was fast-tracked to the floor.
  • The Senate continues debate on legislation reauthorizing foreign surveillance laws that are set to expire tonight.


U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., is headed to Rome to meet with Pope Francis.

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will meet with Pope Francis on Saturday at the Vatican.

The Democratic senator, who continues to pull double duty as pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he is honored to meet with a religious leader he has long admired as a barrier breaker. Francis is the first Jesuit to be chosen as pontiff and the Argentinian is the first from the Americas.

“He comes out of a kind of theological bent that tends to center the poor,” Warnock said. “And we see this in his ministry: the humble ways in which he prostrates himself before the poor, even prisoners, washing their feet. This is the love ethic of Jesus, and I have been inspired by him.”


SAD NEWS. We’re sending out condolences to the many friends and family of Woody Woodside, the longtime president of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce who died Thursday.

As the Brunswick News reported, Woodside led the chamber for an impressive 34 years. Before that, he served on the staff of U.S. Rep. Bo Ginn for 11 years, U.S. Rep. Lindsay Thomas’s staff for three years, and in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard for 23 years.


DOG OF THE DAY. The pooch patrol is taking a three-day weekend, but we’re always on the lookout for future DODs. Send us your dogs of any political persuasion, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to, or DM us at @MurphyAJC. Horizontal photos are especially welcome.


AS ALWAYS, Politically Georgia readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to,, and