Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, said that he is focusing on reelecting Georgia's two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the state's upcoming runoff elections on Jan. 5th. Kemp, who has been a target for constant criticism from President Trump over the state's handling of the 2020 presidential election vote count, brushed aside the President's criticism during an appearance on Fox News Radio's "Guy Benson Show."
Kemp wouldn't comment on the President's harsh criticism but instead said that he remains steadfast in helping Republicans win in January, saying,
"What I'm focused on right now is reelecting David Perdue to the United States Senate and Sen. Kelly Loeffler back up there to continue the great work that she has done along with David."
Georgia's runoff elections have gained national attention in recent weeks as Senate control remains up for grabs. Kemp said that Georgia is "Literally the redwall to stop socialism." He also added that the runoff elections will have far-reaching implications, saying that "This just isn't about Georgia's two senators. This is about the future of our country and what direction that we're going to go."
Many Georgia Republicans remain disappointed with the state's 2020 Presidential results, and some residents now question the electoral process and whether or not they should vote. Kemp reassured Georgia voters that the voting process is secure and cleared up misinformation surrounding the presidential vote count, saying,
"I think, you know, the thing that we've got to make sure is, is that everybody has confidence in the process that we're going to have on January the 5th. So I've been working very hard where I can within the laws and the powers that I have. And there's certainly a lot of misunderstanding on that. But I have called for the signature audit multiple times. Thankfully, the secretary of state has finally said that he's going to do that in Cobb County, where at least we can see if there's any kind of issues going on there from the November election."
With COVID-19 cases rising all across the country, Kemp detailed his state's pandemic response, saying, "We've been focused on two things, protecting lives and livelihoods. And it's been a battle we've been through, you know, different surges." Kemp also defended his relaxing the state's business and lockdown measures, saying, "Basically our, my executive orders have been in place for a long time now. Very few changes. We got the same thing now that we had, you know, several months ago when we had a very low case rate. Right now, we're seeing the after Thanksgiving bump, our numbers have been going up. Thankfully, it's not quite as bad as some of the rest of the country. And I hope it doesn't get that way." Kemp urged residents to follow COVID-19 guidance by wearing masks and following social distancing regulations.
Listen To The Full Interview Below:
Full Transcript Below:
GUY BENSON, FOX RADIO HOST: It's our final hour here on The Guy Benson Show, the Happy Hour as we call it at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Glad that you are here. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, I'm Guy Benson your host. Our website is guybensonshow.com where the podcast is free every single day to all of you, no charge, guybensonshow.com; this hour sponsored in part by the Finnish Long Drink, absolutely delicious beverage, for adults only, 21-plus. You can go to thelongdrink.com to find out where it's sold near you or to order online. One of the states where it has been selling like hotcakes is Georgia, where we did the show from last week Thursday and Friday covering the crucial senate runoff races down there and my next guest is kind of a big deal in the Peach State. It is Brian Kemp, the governor of the great state of Georgia, he joins me now. Governor, great to have you here Merry Christmas to you.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Merry Christmas, Guy, thanks for having me on.
BENSON: So I just want to ask you, if we can just take a step back, it's got to be a little bit surreal for you because just a few years ago you were Secretary of State, you're running for governor, very contested race, lots of money, pretty close race, you win somewhat comfortably, 50, 55,000 votes. Your Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams claims that it's not legitimate and you rigged the system as Secretary of State and then all these accusations; she's never really or officially conceded the race. You become Public Enemy Number One on the Left, not a really governor, it should be Stacey Abrams, the Democrats make her a superstar and now here we are in 2020 and you've got the Republican President of the United States Donald Trump and a lot of his supporters saying, oh, it's a rigged election and you're responsible and you know you're not a real Republican. Maybe you should even go to jail. It's got to be kind of wild, it's a whiplash here. You've managed to rig two elections in a row. I mean it's nuts.
KEMP: Yeah, 2020 as a whole has definitely been surreal forever on top, a global pandemic and everything else that we've been dealing with down here and across the country. Look I just been telling people you know we had been following the laws and the Constitution, as least I have and you know we have our whole slate of officers in the state of Georgia, are Constitutional officers, they're elected by the people, they have certain duties that they are responsible for and know that full well as a Former Secretary of State, I know when I was there we worked hard to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat, to make sure we had secure, successful, fair elections. I had to sue the Obama Justice Department to implement our citizenship chat before you register to vote here. You know I got chastised multiple times for keeping our voter roles secure and making sure that they were up-to-date. We put in new procedures to more quickly update deceased voters so that they would come off the roles. You know just tons and tons of stuff that we've done and so my record's very clear on that but at the end of the day I also have to follow the laws and the Constitution of the state and that's what I've been doing every since November the 3rd, while also you know working hard to get this president reelected up to November the 3rd and respecting and supporting the legal processes that he or any candidate would have post-election.
BENSON: So -- because it's interesting, he of course, is the president of the United States, he's a Republican, you're a Republican, most Conservative Republican lawmakers all across the country, governors have supported President Trump. You endorsed him, you're a big supporter of Trump's and yet somewhat regularly he's out there on Twitter either amplifying people or directly calling you out by name for not doing enough; you're not tough enough, you're sort of out to lunch. How does that affect you? Do you talk to him? Do you try to walk him through what you're doing and not doing? And are you concerned at all, I know that we're two years out from this, but I know if you want to seek reelection with the president drumming up anger I would say in many cases misplaced anger against you, are you worried about your base in your state because of some of these allegations that are made with some regularity?
KEMP: Well, let me be clear. What I'm focused on right now is reelecting David Perdue to the United States Senate and sending Kelly Loeffler back up there to continue the great work that she has done along with David. We are literally the Red Wall to stop Socialism here in Georgia. You know we're going to be the ones that are going to stop the key handing, if you will, handing the keys over to Schumer, Pelosi, AOC, Bernie Sanders and --
KEMP: -- and the likes and that is priority number one. It should be for every Conservative, whether you're mad at me or not, you know, I've been very honest with people, some people don't like that but you know I would tell you and I've given this analogy to a lot of people; I've been one of those people, when I appoint judges I want them to follow the law, not make it. I know Conservatives that I've been in the trenches with for years in the state, almost going on 15, 20 years now; we all want judges and justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals that are going to follow the law and not make it and that's what I'm doing now and some people are mad at me for that but at the end of the day that's what built our country. And if we give up those principles we've given up America.
BENSON: You won a pretty tight and highly watched and competitive race two years ago to become governor and the presidential race this year, extremely close, you know 11,000 vote margin, even closer of a margin for Senator Perdue and it's a weird sort of jungle primary for Loeffler but based on what you're seeing and hearing, I mean it looks like yet another nail-biter for January 5th, for these two runoff elections in the Senate. What are you hearing? I know that you're very close to both of those Senate campaigns; you understand the state extremely well. You've made a political career down there and so you know, it's been part of your job as a candidate to know the electorate of Georgia. How are you feeling about these really important races? Because I totally agree with you; the reason we did the show from Atlanta last Thursday and Friday was we want to just keep the spotlight on the runoffs because it is the difference between divided government and one-party Democratic rule, which you know the stakes there are I think self-evident. What are you hearing? How are you feeling about those two contests?
KEMP: Well I think two things; number one I was on the trail yesterday with Senator Purdue, our Former Governor Sonny Perdue and a lot of other great people down in Camilla, Georgia which is in the southeastern part of our state, doing a big rally down there. I'll tell you had a great, enthusiastic crowd; it was cold, it was raining, but it didn't matter. They were there anyway and the message is very clear and people are you know they have a full understanding of what we're trying to stop here. This isn't about Georgia's two senators; this is about the future of our country and what direction that we're going to go and I think people realize that; Senator Loeffler was up in North Georgia yesterday, so her and David are divide and conquering, but we've been on the trail for both of them and we're going to continue to do that; our whole family is all in. We have got to win these races to save our country. But I will tell you I think you know the thing that we've got to make sure is, is that everybody has confidence in the process that we're going to have on January the 5th. So I've been working very hard where I can within the laws and the powers that I have and there's certainly a lot of misunderstanding on that but I have called for the Signature Audit multiple times. Thankfully the Secretary of State has finally said that he's going to do that in Cobb County where at least we can see if there's any kind of issues going on there from the November election. We have offered and he has accepted -- well he actually asked if first of us to bring the GBI into help with the investigations from the November 3rd Election. But he also is going to be using the Georgia Bureau of Investigation which I'm wholeheartedly supporting and allowing to be part of the Signature Audit so that we have you know kind of a third-party person in there on this validation and that'll start Monday and then hopefully Wednesday, if everything goes well, and we'll see what we got to deal with. But hopefully that'll give a lot of confidence to the voters of this state that are skeptical and make sure; we just cannot afford to have people staying home because they don't think their vote's going to count or what have you --
KEMP: -- and that's exactly what you know that's exactly what the president said at his rally and I'm grateful for him coming to Georgia and supporting David and Kelly and telling people you know, don't let this nonsense stop you from voting in the January 5th runoff and early voting is open now. People -- I tell Conservatives, vote early, get your name off the list, it's one less person that we got to track down and try to get to the polls and that's exactly what we're doing here.
BENSON: And we had the Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger on this program last week and I asked him a similar question, just about turnout and concerns among some Republicans because as far as I can tell, the only way the Democrats can win these races and therefore take over control of the whole federal government is if Republicans and Conservatives split, or a decent chunk of them decide not to participate for one reason or another. If everyone is on the ball and gets on the same page for this urgent priority, I think the Republicans, both of them, will win these races and you basically answered the question already. But I just want to put a finer point on it -- are you absolutely confident, as the Governor of Georgia, that Centrists, Center-Right people, Conservatives, big Trump supporters, that whole spectrum, when people are thinking about voting, either early or on January 5th, are you confident that their votes will be counted, that all the legal votes will be counted and that there are safeguards in place against any shenanigans or illegal voting?
KEMP: Well, you know I have said that post-election that we need to make sure every legal vote's counted and every vote is counted is legal and that is you know obviously the Constitutional authority on that process lies with the Secretary of State and individual counties in Georgia. But I know there's a lot of people that have their eyes on that now. We are lending any support that we can to help with those efforts when requested from the Secretary of State's Office and obviously I'll let him speak to the rest of that. But people have got to turn out and I think that you know people have really in some ways you know lots of disappointment including myself with the numbers on November 3rd in regards to the presidential race here in Georgia but we had some bright spots in the state, too. If you add up every Republican State Senate candidate across the state, they got 53.7 percent of the vote. The State House candidates I think got a little over 51 percent. We had a Republican that ran statewide for a Public Service Commission seat that won without a runoff and he had a Libertarian in the race. So the Democrats were never really close to 50 percent, Ossoff or obviously runoff with a 20-person race there in the Special.
KEMP: But I don't think Ossoff even broke you know 48 percent in that race so the votes are out there. We've got to turn the Republican base back out. I would encourage all my Libertarian friends that don't want to have a Socialist -
KEMP: -- federal government and do away with your individual liberties, that they should get out and vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue as well.
BENSON: Well and that's the other thing, Governor, if you're a Libertarian or maybe someone who leans Right but who is skeptical of the president or someone who's a full you know moderate or Centrist, the argument of having a check and balance in Washington against full Democratic rule, that shouldn't be a tough sell to make necessarily. I know there's a lot of noise in those races but and there's a lot of passion but I think the imperative here ought to be very clear. I'm still trying to figure out what Jon Ossoff has ever accomplished in his life. I mean it's -- I keep looking, I'm not --
KEMP: Well, not nothing but it's --
BENSON: Not finding much.
KEMP: -- and it's not, yeah and it's not even about the two Democratic candidates; it's about the agenda of AOC, you know, New Green Deal, it's about defunding the police, it's about you know all these other things that you know this great economy that we got, you know tax cuts, it's all of these things that would be just done away with overnight. And I think even Centrist Democrats are scared about defunding the police and the New Green Deal and you know they certainly don't want their hard-earned money going to the federal government more than they have now and they don't want to ruin the economy and so those kind of folks I would encourage to you know vote for that check and balance and vote for David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on or before January the 5th.
BENSON: Governor Kemp, last question and it has to do with a separate subject, you've already touched on it very briefly earlier and it's the pandemic, Coronavirus. You were one of the leaders in the country if not the leader who should have stuck his neck out first when it came to reopening certain businesses and you came under criticism right and left for doing that. We've seen a big surge around the country and there's some scary numbers of hospitalizations, you know, tough death tolls. It seems like you guys down in Georgia and I was just down there, you've been not fully open but more or less pretty open now for months on end. How is your approach to this working when it comes to you know fighting Coronavirus while also trying not to completely crush the Georgia economy? How's that balance going for you guys?
KEMP: Well we've been focused on two things, protecting lives and livelihoods and it's been a battle. We've been through you know different surges but the, basically my Executive Orders have been in place for a long time now, very few changes so we've got the same thing now that we had you know several months ago when we had a very low case rate. Now we're seeing the after-Thanksgiving bump; our numbers have been going up. Thankfully it's not quite as bad as some of the rest of the country and I hope it doesn't get that way, but we are working on additional staff augmentation right now for our hospitals who are feeling the strain. But I will say they're also doing a lot of elective surgeries and other things before the year-end that is causing a lot of their swelling in the ranks of the hospital, so we're going to keep working with them to fight through this. You know we have to keep our economy going; the tax revenues that come off of that fund, our public health departments, our community health agencies and all these different services that we're using, our National Guard, get stuff from the food banks and many other things we've got to do a lot of work for vaccine deployment. So we have multiple things that we have to do and I know you know, I keep continue to ask our folks to follow the guidance, wear a mask, social distance, follow the rules and regulations that we have. Wash your hands and all those things and continue to try to work on flattening the curve. You know as much as you ask people, I think people let their guard down during the holidays and we're going to have to deal with that and we are right now but you know all in all we've been very fortunate in Georgia but we can't take our foot off the gas.
BENSON: Brian Kemp is the 83rd Governor of the State of Georgia, my guest here on The Guy Benson Show and based on just the last 15 minutes of conversation, Governor -
BENSON: -- it's been a very intense season in your life, in your leadership down there in Georgia. We appreciate you taking some time to talk to us and hopefully you can relax a little bit or have a nice Christmas with your family while juggling all of these very important issues, so we really do appreciate it, thank you.
KEMP: Yes, sir. Merry Christmas, God Bless, thanks for having me on.
BENSON: Governor Brian Kemp on The Guy Benson Show, which continues next.