Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s call for the Republican governor to resign after he refused to intervene in the state’s presidential election.
Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that Kemp should step down and called the first-term governor he once endorsed an “an obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia, BIG!” His call for the governor’s resignation comes as investigations and recounts continue to find no widespread fraud in Georgia’s election.
Kemp called Trump’s tweets a distraction and said he was more concerned about the upcoming U.S. Senate runoffs and the state’s COVID-19 response. The governor recently announced that the Georgia World Congress Center would once again serve as overflow hospital space for COVID-19 patients as hospitalizations rise.
“Let me tell you what I’ve been focused on today, and I think it is what the people of Georgia want me focused on, and that is making sure if they need a hospital bed, they’re going to get one,” Kemp told reporters Wednesday afternoon when asked about the president’s call for his resignation.
“And I’ve been focusing politically on the most more important question that I believe we’ve seen in our state and the country in a long time and that is sending David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back to the United States Senate to save this country from socialism and handing the keys to Pelosi, Schumer, AOC and Bernie Sanders,” he added. “And that is what everyone else should be doing. All of this other stuff is simply a distraction.”
Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat by Kemp, and Perdue are locked in tight races with Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Early voting will wrap up this week for the Jan. 5 runoffs that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Trump’s continued criticism of the state’s election process comes as a signature audit of absentee ballots in Cobb County did not find any fraudulent ballots among over 15,000 mail-in paper ballots reviewed there, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The review, which involved the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, found just 10 absentee ballots where signatures did not match or the signature was missing. Investigators were able to verify the legitimacy of each of the ballots with mismatched signatures.
The signature audit also followed two recounts of the 5 million ballots cast that confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s narrow win in a state that Trump won by five percentage points just four years ago. Biden is also the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in three decades. The former vice president won Georgia by about 12,000 votes.
Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, called the signature audit a joke during a state Senate hearing held Wednesday.
“I’ve got to stay focused on the issues of the day in Georgia, not what somebody’s tweeting or doing at some committee meeting in the Georgia State Capitol,” Kemp said.