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Kemp dismisses Trump's call to resign as 'a distraction'

Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Democrats must prepare now for a contested 2024 election Raid the Republican Party to save the party MORE (R) waved off President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE's call for his resignation Wednesday, dismissing that demand and other complaints surrounding the presidential election in Georgia as distractions from more pressing issues. 

Speaking to reporters at the state capitol, Kemp said that his top priorities remained responding to the coronavirus pandemic and reelecting GOP Georgia Sens. David PerdueDavid PerdueGeorgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks Please, President Trump: Drop your quest for revenge and help the GOP MORE and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks Kelly Loeffler's WNBA team sold after players' criticism MORE, who are facing competitive runoff elections on Tuesday. 

“All these other things — there is a constitutional and legal process that is playing out, and I am very comfortable letting that process play out. But that horse has left the barn in Georgia and it’s headed to D.C. right now,” he said of the presidential election. 

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“The next vote is going to be there, not here,” he continued. “So people need to be focused on the vote that is happening here, and that is right now in early voting and it will be on Tuesday.”

Kemp’s remarks came hours after Trump abruptly called for the Georgia governor to step down. In a Wednesday morning tweet, the president called Kemp an “obstructionist” and attacked him for refusing to acknowledge that he won the presidential race in Georgia, despite President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenThe West needs a more collaborative approach to Taiwan Abbott's medical advisers were not all consulted before he lifted Texas mask mandate House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act MORE’s roughly 12,000-vote lead in the state.

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The tweet was Trump’s latest attack on Kemp, a longtime ally who received the president’s endorsement during his 2018 bid for the governor’s mansion. 

Despite his past support, Trump has repeatedly accused Kemp of mismanaging the 2020 presidential election and has demanded that he call a special session of the state legislature to overturn Biden’s win in Georgia.

Congress is set to meet in a joint session on Jan. 6 to certify the Electoral College vote and formalize Biden’s status as president-elect. A number of House Republicans and one senator — Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? House plans for immigration bills add uncertainty on Biden proposal MORE (R-Mo.) — have vowed to challenge the certification when Congress meets next week.

Still, even with the election now in the hands of members of Congress, Trump has continued to train his ire on Kemp. The governor noted on Wednesday that he has not been invited to the president’s rally for Perdue and Loeffler next Monday, the day before the Jan. 5 runoff elections.

“I haven’t been invited to the rally yet,” Kemp told reporters. “I don’t really have a whole lot of details on that. I haven’t been focused on that. Obviously I have a lot of priorities on my plate right now.”

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Trump’s ongoing attacks on the Georgia governor have also put Loeffler and Perdue in a difficult position. Both senators have hitched their political fortunes closely to Trump, even as the president has turned on Kemp, banking on the support of Trump’s conservative base to propel them to victory in their runoffs.

Neither senator has said whether they agree with Trump’s call for Kemp to resign, and spokespeople for their campaigns did not respond to requests for comment on the matter. 

The fate of the GOP Senate majority is currently riding on Loeffler and Perdue. If both lose their respective runoff elections next Wednesday, it would effectively hand control of the upper chamber to the Democrats.