- Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia said he’d support Donald Trump as a 2024 presidential candidate.
- “I think the president deserves a lot of credit,” Kemp said. “And he’s not going away.”
- Trump relentlessly attacked Kemp when the governor refused to subvert the 2020 election result.
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Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who was relentlessly attacked by President Donald Trump for refusing to help overturn the 2020 US election, said he’d “absolutely” back Trump should Trump become the GOP presidential nominee in 2024.
Kemp was responding to a hypothetical question from the Fox News host Neil Cavuto during an interview Wednesday night.
“Absolutely, I’m going to support the nominee,” Kemp replied.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 3, 2021
“As I said, again, I worked very hard for the president,” he continued, adding that he thought Trump’s ideas would “be part of our party for a long time in the future.”
“And Republicans, we need to have a big tent,” he said. “I mean, there’s a lot of great ideas out there. We’re not always going to get along, but I think the president deserves a lot of credit. And he’s not going away.”
Kemp was endorsed by Trump in his close-run winning gubernatorial campaign in 2018, but their relationship soured in the wake of Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Kemp refused Trump’s demand for support in subverting the election result in the state, where Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win since 1992.
In response, Trump repeatedly attacked Kemp, calling for him to resign, saying he regretted endorsing him, and even sharing a tweet in December calling Kemp to be jailed.
Auditors who checked the state’s 15,000 mail-in ballots found no evidence of the mass fraud that Trump’s campaign claimed had taken place in the state.
Trump’s attacks on GOP election officials in Georgia are believed by Republican strategists to have played a key role in the party’s loss in the state’s two US Senate runoff elections on January 3. The victory of the Democratic candidates meant the party was able to gain control of the Senate.
Since leaving office under a cloud of disgrace following the January 6 Capitol riot by supporters seeking to halt Biden’s certification as president, Trump has refused to take a low profile and in a speech at the final day of the CPAC gathering on Sunday teased that he was considering a run for the presidency in 2024.
Some Republicans lawmakers have publicly blamed Trump for the January 6 Capitol riot, but the majority of the party’s grassroots supporters, lawmakers, and state parties have remained loyal to the former president.
Kemp’s statement of support is similar to one given by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week.
McConnell said he’d “absolutely” support Trump as the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee even after heavily criticizing Trump’s behavior ahead of the riot at the US Capitol – and after Trump later called McConnell “a dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack.”