Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday night recalled a “very good conversation” she had with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) earlier in the day when they discussed a possible settlement of his lawsuit challenging the city’s mask mandate.
Kemp filed a lawsuit last week attempting to curb the city’s policy of requiring all residents to wear a face covering while in public. Kemp’s lawsuit came a day after he signed a statewide order explicitly banning cities and counties from adopting rules requiring masks or other face coverings. Kemp’s administration argued that Bottoms’ mask requirement mandate is “merely guidance,” which they believe defies the governor’s statewide order blocking local governments from issuing stricter coronavirus-related rules.
Bottoms — who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month — tore into Kemp the morning after the lawsuit was filed, describing the move as “simply bizarre, quite frankly” given other other cities in Georgia have issued similar mask orders.
The Atlanta mayor signaled during an appearance on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night that tensions between her and Kemp seem to have simmered down since the lawsuit was filed last week.
Bottoms said they both discussed their disagreement and said the two mutually hope that they can “figure out a way to agree to disagree” without having to go to court.
“At the end of the day, we want the same thing,” Bottoms said. “We want people to be safe. We want to stop the spread of COVID-19. And it certainly doesn’t help when we’re having to fight one another.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp’s office on Thursday echoed Bottoms’ sentiments — that the conversation was “productive” and that the mayor kicked off the discussions.
Bottoms’ latest remarks came hours after Kemp dismissed a remark Bottoms made on Sunday regarding the lawsuit in an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal. Bottoms told CBS on Sunday that the Georgia governor sued her and not mayors of other cities “perhaps because they were led by men, or perhaps because of the demographics in the city of Atlanta.”
Kemp responded to Bottoms’ assertion by telling MDJ that it’s “probably one of the most ridiculous statements that I’ve ever heard since I’ve been governor of Georgia.”
According to MDJ, Kemp said that he filed the mask mandate lawsuit against Bottoms and the city of Atlanta “because she started to start closing down our economy.”
Since the virus first hit the U.S., Kemp has been more aggressive than most other Republican governors in his attempts to do President Trump’s bidding, by reopening the economy earlier than advisable and issuing the anti-mask executive order. Even Trump was forced to break with Kemp back in April over his overly-zealous economic reopening.
Watch Bottoms’ interview below: