Gaetz Warns Georgia Governor Over Trump’s Senate Pick, Kemp Dismisses Warning

November 30, 2019 Updated: November 30, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) warned Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp about a potential primary challenge if he doesn’t pick President Donald Trump’s preferred candidate to replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Gaetz said that Kemp should choose Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.).

After reports that Kemp was resisting Trump’s preferences, Kemp issued a statement saying: “I stand with hardworking Georgians and @POTUS. The idea that I would appoint someone to the U.S. Senate that is NOT pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-freedom, and 100% supportive of our President (and his plan to Keep America Great) is ridiculous.”

Gaetz responded by accusing Kemp of “ignoring” Trump’s request for Collins, adding: “You THINK you know better than POTUS.”

“If you substitute your judgement for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump,” Gaetz said.

In another missive, Gaetz said that Kemp would be “hurting Trump,” not “the establishment,” with his “donor-induced stubbornness.”

Kemp advisor Ryan Mahoney hit back at Gaetz, writing on Twitter: “Inquiring minds want to know if you prefer flat front jorts, pleated jorts, or cargo jorts with room to put all of your Legos, Pokémon cards, and jellybeans.”

“Oh…and mind your own business. We don’t know you and we don’t care what you think,” he added.

The back-and-forth came after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing anonymous sources, that Kemp will announce financial executive Kelly Loeffler as Isakson’s replacement next week. Kemp has declined questions about who he will pick. Trump reportedly expressed concerns about Loeffler, saying he believed Collins would be a stronger choice.

Isakson is stepping down at the end of the year because of ill health. His replacement will finish out his term, which runs until 2022.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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