April 23, 2020

Well, that was fast. Between Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening, Donald Trump went from celebrating that “Our Country is starting to OPEN FOR BUSINESS again” to criticizing Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen businesses, including hair salons and gyms, starting Friday. Making Trump’s about-face even more interesting is that in a Tuesday evening phone call, he reportedly told Kemp he supported the move.

The timeline is this: Kemp announced his decision on Tuesday, with resistance from local officials and business owners building on Wednesday. A source tells CNN that on the Tuesday evening phone call, both Trump and Mike Pence praised Kemp. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted “States are safely coming back. Our Country is starting to OPEN FOR BUSINESS again. Special care is, and always will be, given to our beloved seniors (except me!). Their lives will be better than ever...WE LOVE YOU ALL!” Then, at Wednesday evening’s press briefing, Trump said, “I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing. I think it’s too soon.” Hmm. What do you think Trump was told between Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening?

For the record, Trump claims that “I told the governor of Georgia Brian Kemp that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.” CNN’s “source familiar with the call” says that’s not what happened, and the answer to the question “who do you believe, Donald Trump or an anonymous source” must almost always be the anonymous source. Especially when you consider the sum total of what Trump had been saying about states lifting shutdown orders right up until that Wednesday evening press briefing.

”States are safely coming back,” he tweeted Wednesday morning, with not a mention of “except Georgia, whose governor I told I strongly disagreed with his reopening decision.” So, yeah, his about-face came during the day on Wednesday.

Kemp responded with a series of tweets claiming, laughably, that “Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials.” He did not indicate any second thoughts on the decision, saying he’s “confident that business owners who decide to reopen will adhere to Minimum Basic Operations, which prioritize the health and well-being of employees and customers,” though inquiring minds still want to know how you can get a haircut or massage from someone standing six feet away.

Donald Trump is lying, again, which is no surprise. But it’s about the most consequential thing happening in the nation today, and we have to remember every time he speaks that he will never change, which means he will always lie. And again, it sure is interesting—and a little scary—to consider what he might have been told during the day on Wednesday to so dramatically change his tune.

Crossposted with permission from Daily Kos.

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