WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Vice President Mike Pence touched down in the Peach State on Friday, bringing with him one main message.
“Georgia is leading the way,” Pence said.
At a lunch stop with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and First Lady Marty Kemp, Pence praised the governor for his leadership.
“The president and I are truly grateful to Governor Kemp. And truly inspired to see the way the people of Georgia, as the governor said, are demonstrating that we can reopen this country,” Pence said.
“It’s been working, and we want to keep it going in the right direction,” Kemp added.
Georgia was one of the first states to reopen businesses like barber shops and tattoo parlors. Something that, at the time, President Trump strongly criticized.
“I disagree strongly,” President Trump said on April 22.
Pence shrugged that off on Friday.
“You always know where you stand with President Donald Trump,” he said.
At a round table discussion with restaurants from across the state, business leaders like the Waffle House CEO thanked Gov. Kemp for his early action. He said it put 2,000 Georgians back at work.
“You not only led our state but you led our country because all the other governors have followed your lead,” CEO Walt Ehmer said.
Pence also thanked Georgia’s congressional leadership, adding that they “were there every step of the way.”
Republican Representatives Rick Allen and Doug Collins, along with Senator Kelly Loeffler joined in the discussion.
Restaurant owners said they credit the CARES Act with giving them the resources they needed to survive this crisis.
“It inspires me to make sure we’re in Washington addressing the needs that we have here on the ground,” Loeffler said.
Pence promised them, “we are getting through it.”
Pence is currently negotiating the next phase of relief with Republican leaders in Congress.
Loeffler told Nexstar DC in a statement regarding the VP visit:
“I was honored to accompany Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Eugene Scalia as they visited Georgia today. It’s no secret Georgia is the best state for business in the country, and we are leading the way as we shift our focus to safely reopening our economy. The Trump Administration has had an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to this pandemic since day one, and I’m excited they had the opportunity to see the great progress happening right here in the Peach State thanks to Governor Kemp’s leadership.”
Collins said in a statement to Nexstar DC:
“I want to thank Vice President Pence for traveling to Georgia today to hear directly from our hardworking restaurant owners. For eight consecutive years, Georgia has been named the top state for doing business. While the pandemic may have caused in a bump in the road, Georgians are resilient, and I know we will come out of this crisis stronger than before. I look forward to continue working with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Trump Administration to get our economy back to historic levels while protecting the health and safety of every Georgian.”