Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp draws anger and mockery after attending White House Christmas party amid Trump attacks
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp faced a slew of social media criticism after he attended a White House Christmas party with his daughter on Friday, despite being repeatedly insulted by President Donald Trump in the weeks since the Nov. 3 election.
“Lucy and I had a great time at the @WhiteHouse Christmas Party today. Merry Christmas, everyone!" the Republican governor said in a tweet along with photos of the and his daughter at the event.
Kemp's decision to go to the party was met with surprise and mockery on social media, given that Trump has assailed the first-term governor for not doing more to help his effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Georgia. Since the election, Trump has called Kemp "hapless," a "fool," a "clown," a "RINO" (Republican in name only), one of the nation's worst governors, celebrated polls showing Kemp losing voters' support and declared him "finished as governor."
The morning of the Christmas party, Trump tweeted that Kemp should call a special session of the Georgia Legislature to challenge the election result. "So easy to do, why is he not doing it? It will give us the State. MUST ACT NOW!" the president said.
Trump also called him a "so-called 'Republican'" in another tweet that morning.
Kemp's tweet about the party drew strong reactions.
"Governor Brian Kemp attended the White House Christmas party despite being repeatedly attacked by Donald Trump," tweeted political podcast host Edward Hardy. "He is beyond spineless."
Trump has been criticized for holding holiday parties at the White House at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has reached record levels of daily infections and deaths. And Kemp was slammed for attending the event despite the rapidly rising COVID-19 death count.
Tia Mitchell, a Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, tweeted, "Skirting CDC COVID guidance to celebrate with the guy who called you a clown and basically says he wants you to lose your job. Make it make sense."
Chenue Her, a reporter for WXIA in Atlanta, said some accused Kemp of hypocrisy because he had recommended Georgians "hunker down" for the holidays to avoid spreading the virus.
Kemp spokesman Cody Hall responded to that criticism, saying the governor and his daughter "were both masked the entire time other than to take a few socially distant pictures," that seating at the party "was spaced out" and that "staggered times allowed for smaller groups."
But the most irate reactions to Kemp's attendance came from Trump's supporters who agree with the president that the Georgia governor should do more to try to flip the election outcome in his state.
"Why didn’t someone arrest Brian Kemp at the White House Christmas Party?" asked Matt Couch, founder of the right-wing news aggregator The DC Patriot, despite the fact Kemp is not charged with any crimes.
"Brian Kemp attending the White House Christmas party is a blatant slap in the face to every activist who is fighting for this country," tweeted Daniel Bostic, a Trump supporter who believes, without evidence, that the election was stolen. "Absolutely inexcusable."
Jenna Ellis, an attorney for Trump who has been a public face of the effort to overturn the election, was more succinct in her reaction to Kemp's attending the party.
"Seriously?" she tweeted.