Vice President Pence headlined a roundtable discussion at Unity National Bank, a minority-owned bank in downtown Atlanta.
Pence started by praising Gov. Brian Kemp, who was sitting next to him, for his aggressive approach to reopen Georgia’s economy.
“Georgia’s leading the way in reopening American,” he said. “We want to commend you for the safe and responsible and measured way that you continue to restore not only the economic life but the cultural life of this community.”
Today’s words echoed Pence’s remarks last week when he made clear the White House supported Kemp’s approach. That turnabout came weeks after President Donald Trump strongly criticized the governor for allowing barber shops, tattoo parlors, and other businesses to reopen if they follow safety guidelines.
Just Thursday, Kemp signed an executive order that continued to ease restrictions by allowing bars, nightclubs and amusement parks to reopen in Georgia if they abide by a new set of regulations.
Throughout the roundtable, Pence offered an optimistic view of the nation’s coronavirus response, saying the “trend lines are encouraging.”
Several local business owners offered praise for the PPP program and advice. Among them was Cynthia Johnson, the owner of a local salon who asked for help in reviving her business.
“Where else can I turn, because I don’t know?” she said. “I know I have a long road ahead.”
The vice president said another round of stimulus is in the works and asked Kemp to remind him whether Georgia had let her business reopen. (He signed that order in late April, the governor said, as Pence nodded.)
“Help is on the way a couple of different ways,” Pence said.
The VP departed Dobbins at around 2:40 p.m. On his way out, he was greeted by Georgia GOP chair David Shafer and Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, who was condemned by his party after he endorsed Trump in April.