Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Slams Georgia Governor For Suing Her Over Mandating Face Masks
Bottoms referred to the lawsuit as bizarre and said the governor was putting "politics over people."
July 17, 2020 at 8:56 pm
During an interview Friday morning on Today, Bottoms shared her thoughts about Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp filing a lawsuit against her and the Atlanta City Council for mandating face coverings in public places and limiting the number of people allowed to gather in the city.
"This filing of a lawsuit is simply bizarre," she said, adding that the governor is "putting politics over people."
Bottoms said her decision to enforce the mandate was due to a rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.
"At the end of the day, this is about saving lives. ... I take this very seriously and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the people of Atlanta," Bottoms said. "The notion that we are somehow interfering with businesses or people's right to work is simply baseless and a waste of taxpayer money."
Bottoms also commented on the timing of the lawsuit, which came just one day after President Donald Trump visited the city.
"I don't think it's happenstance that this lawsuit happened the day after Donald Trump visited Atlanta, and I pointed out he was violating city law by not having on a mask in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport," she said.
At the beginning of the month, the mayor shared that she and members of her household had tested positive for COVID-19, CNN reported.
"3104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by @GovKemp for a mask mandate. A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing. #ATLStrong," she tweeted on Thursday.
3104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by @GovKemp for a mask mandate. A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing. #ATLStrong pic.twitter.com/z4hpTrCS1B— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) July 16, 2020
Bottoms also said that despite the lawsuit, the "policies are enforceable and they stand," according to NPR.
She highlighted leading medical advice that encourages the wearing of face coverings in public.
"Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this sometimes deadly virus," she said. "It's a simple thing to do."
Kemp filed the lawsuit against Bottoms on Thursday and asserted that only he has the authority to dictate the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit states he has the power "to suspend municipal orders that are contradictory to any state law or to his executive orders."
"As the Mayor of the City of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms does not have the legal authority to modify, change or ignore Governor Kemp's executive orders," the document states.
Kemp took to Twitter to defend his decision to file the lawsuit against the Atlanta mayor, saying enforcing face coverings is impacting businesses' income.
"These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth," Kemp wrote.
This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times. (1/4) https://t.co/vxiOmteHaH— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 16, 2020
The city of Savannah also passed a similar mandate for its residents. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson criticized Kemp's lawsuit, saying he does not "give a damn about us."
"It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can," Johnson tweeted.